Innovators Connect - Tandem

Innovators Connect – Tandem is a two-week immersion programme hosted at incubators in India, for young researchers interested in start-up founding and early-stage start-up founders from India and Germany. Jointly developed with leading incubators from both the countries, this flagship programme includes workshops, information sessions, mentoring, networking, visits, and intercultural training. Participants will work in teams (Tandems) for problem-solving, develop new ideas and get exposure to start-up and innovation ecosystems of India and Germany.


  • Entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups have knowledge on the research and innovation ecosystems, local markets, technology cooperation to drive international cooperation further
  • Entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups expand their mindset and have an understanding of the needs of global markets
  • A partner network of incubators is established to foster international support for their start-ups
  • A successful format for Indo-German start-up connection is established via incubators

A glimpse from first edition of Innovators Connect – Tandem (2022)

The following elements are planned for the programme:

a) Team-work: a team of two, one participant from India and one from Germany (a tandem) will work together to develop innovative solutions to pressing problems of the world. The team may come from similar or different fields in research and bring in different perspectives and skills for the problem. The teams will be identified and digitally connected before the onsite programme to kick-off working on their ideas.

b) Mentoring: all the teams will receive continuous customized mentoring for their ideas from start-up advisors and in- house mentors at the host incubators as well as incubators from Germany. Innovation managers as well as start-up mentors from industry will be invited for mentoring as well.

c) Information sessions: The sessions will offer an overview on the start-up ecosystems of India and Germany as well as give insights into the basic and advances of start-up founding, for e.g: value proposition design, business model plan, intellectual property, market access so on. In addition, participants will be informed of government initiatives and support, funding mechanisms for international start-ups.

d) Pitching session: At the end of the programme, all tandems present the ideas they have worked on, to a jury comprising of start-up founders, industry experts and researchers. Investors and start-up community is invited to for the pitching sessions as well. Winning team(s) win a visit to Germany to participate in a start-up workshop and receive further support from the participating incubators to bring their ideas to market.

e) Networking: The programme gives a platform to access local as well as international networks of start-up founders, advisors and investors through onsite and online sessions. The participants get to know peers at the participating incubators and get to meet local start-up community during networking sessions and visits. Winners of the pitching competition get a visit to Germany and can expand their international network further.

Call for Applications

Innovators Connect - Tandem 2023

Call for Applications for the 2023 edition of Innovators Connect - Tandem Programme is currently open. Deadline: 28 May 2023


Past Edition

Innovators Connect - Tandem 2022

Check out the first edition of the Innovators Connect - Tandem here!



The German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi is aiming to connect the Indian and German innovation and start-up ecosystems with a focus on science-based start-ups. It is building and supporting an international network of incubators at universities and research institutions to foster cross-boundary innovation cooperation. Together with the network, formats and programs are developed to ultimately support entrepreneurs and start-ups at an early stage to go international. The focus of the network is on developing and advancing business ideas, models, pilot projects and technology transfer as well as adaptation. For international market entry and expansion, the DWIH New Delhi connects the network with other stakeholders e.g., the German Accelerator and the German Chamber of Commerce abroad (AHK), as well as industry that focuses on these activities.

The DWIH New Delhi has been connecting researchers and science bases start-ups from India and Germany over the last few years and understood what they are looking for in international collaboration and markets. It identified a gap in exchange of early-stage science entrepreneurs from India and Germany. At the same time the DWIH decided to work with incubators at research and higher education institutions that are key players in innovation ecosystems and support them with their internationalisation.

Based on these two interests, Innovators Connect: Tandem was developed to support early-stage science-based start-ups to go international via a network of incubators. The format was successfully piloted in 2022 with 5 Incubators and 11 participants from India and Germany.

The programme continues in 2023 and will operate with a wider network of 8 incubators to mentor up to 12 tandems (24 participants). Participants from Germany will travel to India and be hosted at the 3 partner incubators in India. Participants from India and Germany will work in a pair to work on problem solving and will pitch their ideas at the end of the programme. The programme is conceptualized together with all the partner incubators and aims to build a cooperation with the incubators as well.