E.Actually, it wasn’t my goal to start a company, ”says Julia Roth. After completing her studies, the business economist worked for the Siemens Group for several years, taking care of supply chains and production planning. But climate change worried Roth so much that she finally took the plunge into self-employment. In autumn of last year she founded the start-up Carbon Instead in Berlin together with a scientist. Put simply, they are developing a material from waste such as that generated in the food industry that stores CO2 and could at least partially replace cement or sand as a building material. The fact that the founders pursue their project so persistently is not only due to the support from the Free University of Berlin and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, but also to the 2,000 euros each month for private living expenses as part of the Berlin start-up grant receives. “That makes the whole thing a lot easier,” says Roth.
Experienced, ambitious and active in climate protection: if it were up to the federal government, there would be more founder stories in Germany like that of Carbon Instead. However, the numbers point in the other direction. In 2002 there were around 1.5 million start-ups, last year only 537,000, according to the recently published start-up monitor of the KfW banking group. Thomas Jarzombek (CDU), the start-up commissioner of the federal government, is concerned about this development. “We have to make massive progress, especially with the tech start-ups, otherwise it won’t go well for Germany as a business location in the long term,” he warns. “Germany is great in research. We have to make more of it. “