The Greentech Festival took place for the first time at the exhibition center in Berlin in 2024. Compared to last year, the event also has a new look in terms of content. We met founder Marco Voigt for an interview on the first day of the event.

BASIC thinking: Hello Marco, the Greentech Festival 2024 took place for the first time at the exhibition center in Berlin. What impact does the new location have on the event?

The exhibition center is a step towards growth for us. It was the case that after two years in Tegel we realized that we had reached our limits. In other words: the exhibitors no longer fit in the hangar because there were too many.

That's why we had to resort to the tarmac at times. The weather was a problem, especially in the second year. Because in the blazing sun or when it looked like it was raining, many people didn't want to go outside. That's why we looked for a new place in Berlin – although Tegel is basically a beautiful location.

Since the topic of green tech is a global one, Messe Berlin corresponds exactly to our ideas because we have the chance to fill the entire site. But that depends on a few factors: Do the start-ups feel comfortable, do the exhibitors feel comfortable and: How does the area work in general? From a current perspective, it was the right step for us as organizers. We'll see everything else then.

Does that mean the Greentech Festival will also take place at the exhibition center in Berlin in the coming years?

Our vision is to fill the exhibition center – completely – within the next five years. Across all halls and with different topics, many of which are already represented, but in some cases not yet in sufficient numbers.

For example, the topic of water: We currently have four to five exhibitors. But if someone only comes for one topic, that's not enough. We want to change that, for example so that we can fill a whole or at least half a hall with the topic of water.

Has the Greentech Festival gained in appeal?

We are already noticing that we are receiving significantly more inquiries. The fact that we decided two or three years ago to hold our first international events is an advantage. Because it comes back and is a bit like ping pong.

For example, this year at the Green Awards we saw that there were a lot of international guests there. But that wasn't intentional, it was more of a coincidence. But this shows that there is great international interest in the Greentech Festival.

A lot of things in the green tech sector are made in Germany, but we have the problem in Germany that most things are often talked about badly. We're looking for the fly in the ointment. This has become less common, but internationally it is more about which solution works better or faster.

Greentech Festival 2024 for the first time with the Start-up Land

Last year there was criticism that large companies in particular presented themselves in a green light at the Greentech Festival; perhaps even engage in greenwashing. This year the Start-up Land is being launched for the first time. What is the idea behind it?

The big companies do not come with the intention of using the Greentech Festival as a platform for greenwashing, but we invite them. Because we know that by doing so we create an impact. And we also need that for the start-ups.

In my opinion, greenwashing hardly takes place. Of course you can come up with cool marketing slogans, but I didn't even notice that. Because I think most people realize that it's about changing something and networking.

But we take criticism seriously. That's why we gave the start-ups significantly more weight and space this year. We consciously decided that Start-up Land would have the Palais as a hall, which in my opinion is the most beautiful on the entire site.

We could have rented them out to large companies, but we consciously chose the start-ups – and they get it for free. Nevertheless, we have to look at how we finance ourselves and the big companies are paying for this to a certain extent.

When was the Greentech Festival 2024 worth it for you?

When people go home happy with their impressions and perhaps new projects emerge from new contacts. In the best case scenario, we as organizers get something out of it.

A lot of things often go unnoticed or I only notice some things years later. But when people come back and talk about their new projects, that's really something nice. But also if they think positively and go home in good spirits at the end.

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