12. May 2021, Miscellaneous

EdTech founders develop their ideas at Startup Salzburg Weekend

Now in its sixth year, the Startup Salzburg Weekend is a fixed star in Salzburg’s startup scene. Last year, the 48-hour programme was held online for the first time due to the pandemic. In 2021, the best of both worlds was combined and ideas and projects were honed in a hybrid format from 7 to 9 May.

Another innovation this year: For the first time, we as EdTech Austria were able to co-organise the Startup Salzburg Weekend and thus offer our own EdTech track with dedicated mentors and experts from our network.

A total of 29 project ideas were submitted, 22 of these ideas were worked on in teams during the weekend and 19 projects were finally pitched at the closing event on Sunday. The EdTech Track brought young founders from all over Austria to Salzburg. Four exciting projects were able to take their next step on the way to a successful start-up during the weekend.

Demand-oriented training for skilled workers

The first project, which was presented to the other participants, experts and mentors on Sunday, was “Educate Reality” by Thomas Eichinger. Many companies are desperately looking for new skilled workers. Often, the profile of an applicant fits the advertised position very well, but the necessary skills are lacking in one or two areas. This is where Thomas wants to start with “Educate Reality”. Companies should be offered a simple possibility to evaluate the competences of new employees and then equip them with the missing know-how in specific trainings. There is also already a focus on content: the project will start with programming languages.

Witches and wizards in the periodic table

But it is not only various programming languages that are in short supply on the labour market. In general, there is a great need for people from MINT (Mathematics – Informatics – Natural Sciences – Technology) fields. “Unfortunately, the related subjects are often seen as complicated annoying or boring at school. This is especially true for chemistry lessons,” says Florian Wundsam. He is a trained chemistry teacher and wants to remedy this with his computer game “Molecular Witch”. In an interactive game experience, learning about materials, elements and atoms, the building blocks of our world, is made possible in a new way. The crafting system (making objects) from Minecraft is to be combined with the opportunities for discovery from games like Legend of Zelda as well as classic quest systems (orders or tasks to be fulfilled), for example known from World of Warcraft, and thus turn all children into “periodic table magicians”.

At the Startup Salzburg Weekend, people worked on EdTech ideas on- and offline (Photos: Claudia Rößlhuber Fotografie):

Maker Spaces for the youngest

Another exciting project is also dedicated to the STEM skills of our children. “Zukunft aktiv: Makerspace für junge Digitale” (Active future: Makerspace for young digital people) was brought to the Startup Weekend by Ben Dietrich and Marlene Dietrich-Gsenger. The two, themselves parents of a 3-year-old daughter, want to give children and young people the skills they need to shape their future. To this end, they want to create an educational venue outside of school where children as young as six can take part in workshops and projects in the fields of STEM and entrepreneurship education.

Digital language learning with social impact

Last but not least, we also had a social business from the EdTech sector on board during the 48 hours of concentrated start-up power: Lingonnect – Language Lessons for more Empowerment.

Lingonnect was founded by Lukas Clara and is a new kind of platform for language courses. The teachers are people from developing countries who can not only teach interested people a new language, but also give them an insight into other cultures via the platform. This cultural exchange is intended to create a new experience that is not possible in this way in most other language courses, especially in the digital space. In addition, the booking of language courses directly supports social and environmental projects in the global south. A first pilot project already exists with teachers from Uganda.

“It was impressive to see the enormous progress all participants made during the weekend,” says EdTech Austria project manager Hannes Aichmayr. “We are also convinced that very promising ideas have emerged. We will of course continue to follow and accompany the projects.”

In the communications team of ITG – Innovation Service for Salzburg, Maria brings innovative, digital companies and business models on stage. She is convinced that EdTech makes our education system better and is happy to help integrate EdTech into our educational landscape.

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