Who would have thought, when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 that just 25 years later we would be looking at a city where:
- Internet startups were founded since 2008, 500 of them in 2011 alone, reports the Berlin Chamber of Commerce.
- Porsche, the Deutsche Bank, and the Deutsche Telekom all now have innovation labs in Berlin.
- Visionary Ekkehard Streletzki created a hotel in 1994 in a forsaken industrial area of Berlin and guided & developed it to become Europe’s largest hotel, convention, and entertainment complex. The Estrel Berlin is located in, what is now, one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods.
- Co-working spaces abound with a record number being established in lofts and warehouses in literally every district of the city.
- European e-commerce company Zalando, founded in 2008 has grown from a literal basement operation to become one of Berlin’s largest employers, soon to employ over 5,000. The new Zalando Campus is pitched for completion by 2019.
What accounts for this astounding source of creativity and growth?
While the excellent affordability of Berlin surely plays a role, Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, offers a more precise clarification. In his book, The Rise of the Creative Class, he puts forward the notion of the “3 Ts” as the essential criteria supporting innovation and growth. He states:
The driving force behind any effective economic strategy is talented people. We live a more mobile age than ever before. People, especially top creative talent, move around a lot. A community’s ability to attract and retain top talent is the defining issue of the creative age.
Technology and innovation are critical components of a community or organisation’s ability to drive economic growth. To be successful, communities and organisations must have the avenues for transferring research, ideas, and innovation into marketable and sustainable products.
Economic prosperity relies on cultural, entrepreneurial, civic, scientific, and artistic creativity. Creative workers with these talents need communities, organisations, and peers that are open to new ideas and different people
Berlin today, as a tremendously livable, green, and affordable city, with a world class spectrum of sport and culture, is drawing talent from around the world. The solid foundation of research and academic institutions create the optimal support for innovation in virtually any sector. Most inspiring of all, the memory of the closed society's limitations has resulted in a widespread welcoming attitude of acceptance and tolerance.
This exciting transformation has had a positive influence throughout the city. Whether art, fashion, film, or cuisine, the positive vibe of the innovative energy is contagious, the Meetings and Events sector is a perfect example. With both global associations and corporations keen to tap into the creative vibe and intellectual capital that Berlin has to offer, Berlin topped the ICCA list in 2015 as the most preferred destination globally for association meetings.
The Estrel Berlin, the city’s premier hotel, convention and entertainment facility doubled its function space capacity in 2015 to meet this growing demand. Now offering 270,000 square feet of state-of-the-art function space including two tandem conventional halls, the Estrel Berlin has become the “Go To” event venue for clients planning events in these innovative sectors. Irrespective of industry, clients are reporting increased attendance as a result of holding their event at the Estrel Berlin.
Just this past September, the EPTDA Annual Convention reported an increase of 7 % as compared to EPTDA 2015 and set a new record of 895 face-to-face meetings and direct communications between distributors and manufacturers, all together on one common platform, one location and at one given time, made possible by the turnkey event solution of the Estrel and the draw of Berlin.
Two and half decades after the Fall of the Wall, and Berlin is a city transformed through tolerance, technology, and talent.