Danube Tech Summit 2023


12th December 2023 | Vienna | Upon invitation

The Danube Tech Summit, the new annual catalyzing event for the strategic Danube Region innovation  sphere, starting in December 2023, will enhance knowledge circulation and network building between  businesses, policymakers, education institutes and civil society organizations. 

The collaboration between GLOBSEC and the  Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy of  Austria strives to establish a dynamic platform that will gather over 150 representatives from the entire region and beyond. This includes visionary founders, CEOs of tech companies, executives from fast-growing start-ups and unicorn companies, chief innovation officers, ministers responsible for innovation, economy, and finance within the region, as well as EU delegates, policymakers, and public representatives. The primary objective is to propose impactful solutions for strengthening the progress and innovation potential of the Danube region hub.

The inaugural edition will center around pressing priorities in the region that are substantially backed by the European Union. These priorities encompass the current energy security landscape and the imperative of advancing the green agenda. The Summit presents an immense opportunity for the region, providing a historical momentum to fundamentally reshape its growth paradigm in order to foster enhanced prosperity, sustainability, and productivity. This opportunity is one that should be maximized and effectively facilitated by the Summit.

In a single day, keynote speeches, 2 panels, 6 hands-on workshops, and networking sessions will bring together key stakeholders from the Danube Valley, focusing on cutting-edge solutions and emerging disruptive technologies that address global and European challenges. These challenges include the ongoing energy transition, digitalization, green tech, and smart cities, which serve as unifying themes for a multitude of critical topics mentioned earlier. The energy and climate crisis, along with the war and the future reconstruction of Ukraine, are already shaping the revitalization of the European core business and should be approached in a synergistic manner.

To demonstrate our unwavering support for Ukraine and foster informal networking opportunities, we will be hosting a culturally immersive event in the evening organized in partnership with Orchester Wiener Akademia. This event aims to create an engaging platform where attendees can come together to express solidarity with Ukraine while also building meaningful connections in an informal setting.

Contact: [email protected]



Haus der Industrie, located in Vienna, Schwarzenbergplatz 4, 1031 Wien

9:00 – 9:10         OFFICIAL OPENING OF PART A:

                                    Opening remarks by:
                              Vazil Hudák, Vice Chairman of GLOBSEC Board of Directors
                                    Venue: Grosser Festsaal ( Main Hall, 1st floor)


                             Katarína Cséfalvayová, Executive Lead of the Danube Tech Valley Initiative, GLOBSEC
                                   Radoslav Mizera, Co-Founder, Solved
                                     Venue: Grosser Festsaal ( Main Hall, 1st Floor)

9:25 – 9:45        KEYNOTE 

Security of supply of green hydrogen for the European industry
Hamead Ahrary, Head of Hydrogen, VERBUND
Venue: Grosser Festsaal ( Main Hall, 1st Floor)


09:45 – 11:15     WORKSHOP 1 Part 1

                            Digital energy: volatility & flexibility as drivers of emerging technology markets in the era of twin transition
Powered by: TTTech & Pioneers - upon separate invitation only
Venue: Urbansaal ( 1st floor)

Key resources, businesses, and consumers are facing massive shifts in energy generation as renewable production grows along with the need for increased digital intelligence. However, digitalization in the energy ecosystem is lagging. For industries to secure a competitive upper hand, applying digitalization to the energy transition will be a key advantage. This session will explore ways in which companies can capitalise on this trend, by exploring questions such as: What digitalization processes and technologies should be deployed in the energy sector?  What is the potential of Decentralised Energy Systems?  What new business models are most fit for the digitalisation of energy?  What should digital energy technology companies invest in? 

                                   Sven Kaiser, Deputy Head of Electricity Department
                                   Florian Pink, Head of Corporate Development at APG
ed by:
Georg Kopetz, Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and member of the executive board, TTTech
Thomas Gabriel, Managing Partner, Pioneers



Unlocking the power of ecosystems: catalyzing spin-offs in the Danube region for a greener future

Powered by Verbund - upon separate invitation only
Venue: Neuer Saal ( 3rd Floor)

Research institutions play a significant role in advancing new technologies, materials, and methods that can accelerate the green transition. Nevertheless, there exists a challenge in effectively translating this research for the benefit of society. A vital component in this translation process is the emergence of academic spin-offs, which serve as a pivotal force for transformation and a fundamental element in the global pursuit of innovation. This session is dedicated to accelerating the establishment of spin-off ventures from research institutions and aims to bridge the gap between academic research and business, ultimately facilitating the transition to a greener future.

Werner Wutscher, Founder and CEO, New Venture Scouting
Irina Obushtarova, CEO and Co-Founder, The Recursive
Irene Fialka, CEO,  INiTS
Kaloyan Ratchev, Co-Founder, Spin-Off Bulgaria

Led by: Franz Zöchbauer, Head of Corporate Innovation & New Business, VERBUND


                             enhancing access to finance and nurturing innovation across the Danube Region

                            Powered by: RBI       
                                    Venue: Kleiner Festsaal ( 1st floor)

The European entrepreneurial sector holds immense potential, but its growth is hindered by the absence of a robust capital market for scaling up projects, including the emergence of unicorns. To address this challenge, it's crucial to acknowledge the funding gap caused by underdeveloped capital markets within the EU. Mere increases in public funding are insufficient; a comprehensive approach is needed to rejuvenate the capital market. Additionally, public funds, particularly those from the EU, are directed toward enhancing the entrepreneurial competitiveness of the Union through an ambitious innovation agenda. However, despite a thorough evaluation of the region's strengths and weaknesses, efforts and resources dedicated to improving Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE) competitiveness have yet to meet expectations. Why do these resources remain out of reach for CEE countries, and what potential solutions can various stakeholders offer to overcome these limitations? What is the nature of the existing gap in funding distribution between Western and Eastern Europe, and who is actively working to bridge this divide? How can public and private funding work together to complement each other in the effort to close this gap?

Hubert Cottogni,  Head of EIB Group Office in Austria, European Investment Bank
Marián Gazdik, Founding Partner, G-Force
Oliver Holle, Founder, CEO & Managing Partner, Speedinvest
Tamara Perko, President, Croatian Banking Association
Thomas Wieser, Former President of Eurogroup Working Group

Led by: Vazil Hudák, Vice Chairman of GLOBSEC Board of Directors

11:15 – 11:40       COFFEE & NETWORKING

11:40 – 13:00     WORKSHOP 1  Part 2

                            Digital energy: volatility & flexibility as drivers of emerging technology markets in the era of twin transition

                            Powered by: TTTech & Pioneers - upon separate invitation only
Venue: Urbansaal ( 1st floor)


                            DIALOGUE SESSION

Unite to innovate – building the Danube Tech Valley

Venue: Kleiner Festsaal ( 1st floor)

The Danube Valley countries represent a unique combination of traditional industries and new tech start-ups. The latest European innovation scoreboard reveals a persistent innovation gap in the EU, primarily favouring Northern and Western Europe. Between 2015 and 2023, the EU improved its global standing, narrowing the gap with Australia, Canada, South Korea, and the United States, but still lagging behind China. Exploring the untapped innovation potential in Central and Eastern Europe and the Danube region could elevate the EU's global competitiveness and attract more capital. How can this potential be effectively harnessed? How to increase cooperation and interconnectedness of startup ecosystems in the region? What should be the role of local governments in developing business and innovation opportunities? How can cities become interconnected innovation hubs and pave the way for a new, sustainable way of life?

Report presentation: The State of Innovation in the Danube Valley
Yoram Wijngaarde, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Dealroom

Martin Selmayr, Head of European Commission Representation in Austria
Herald Stranzl, Ambassador, National Coordinator of EU-Danube and EU-Alpine Strategy
Eva Czernohorszky, Head of Department Technology Services, Vienna Business Agency
Pavol Šajgalík, President, Slovak Academy of Science
Endre Ascsillán, Vice President,  GE Central and Eastern Europe

Led by: Katarína Cséfalvayová, Executive Lead of the Danube Tech Valley Initiative, GLOBSEC


13:00 – 14:00     LUNCH



Venue: Grosser Festsaal ( Main Hall, 1st floor)


14:00 – 14:15     OFFICIAL OPENING OF PART B

                            Opening remarks by:  Wilhelm Molterer, Chairman of GLOBSEC Board of Directors


14:15 – 14:20    VIDEO MESSAGE 
                                  Valeriya Ionan, 
Minister of Eurointegration, Ministry of Digital Transformation, Ukraine

14:20 – 14:30    KEYNOTE ADDRESS 
                                  Martin Kocher,
Federal Minister of Labour and Economy of the Republic of Austria Deputy 


14:30 – 15:50     PANEL DISCUSSION 1:

                            Transforming the Danube Region into the new European innovation hot spot: a turning point for the cee

In the past decade, the Danube Region has undergone remarkable development, with certain countries emerging as noteworthy innovation hubs on European and global stages. However, several challenges persist, particularly in the realms of business, environmental sustainability, attractiveness, and education policies. The region can effectively address these obstacles by implementing a comprehensive strategy and fostering collaboration among stakeholders. Ultimately, the overarching objective should be the creation of an environment conducive to innovation, digital transformation, and economic prosperity, not only for the technology industry but for the entire region.

As we aspire to bridge the divide between the East and the West, the key lies in identifying government strategies and shaping policies at both national and regional levels to stimulate entrepreneurial endeavours in CEE and the broader Danube region. How can we foster mutual inspiration and collaboration, shifting away from a competitive mindset, to authentically establish the Danube Innovation Valley?                                   

                                  Martin Kocher, Minister of Labour and Economy, Federal Republic of Austria
Vladimír Šimoňák, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic
Georg Kopetz, Chief Executive Officer, TTTech
Andreas Treichl,  President of the European Alpbach Forum

                            Led by: Alena Kudzko, GLOBSEC Vice President for Policy and Programming

15:50 – 16:15      COFFEE & NETWORKING

16:15 – 17:30      PANEL DISCUSSION 2:

                            Danube Dynamics: Navigating the Innovation Currents for a Thriving Ecosystem

                            In pursuit of fostering a thriving innovation ecosystem in the Danube Valley, we envision a landscape brimming with creativity and untapped potential. The strategy hinges on forming strong collaborative partnerships with both emerging startups and unicorns that have successfully exited and are now committed to giving back to the community. These entrepreneurs can serve as mentors, sharing their invaluable experience and resources to nurture the next generation of innovators. However, we acknowledge that there is a missing piece to this puzzle – the investment angel. To truly harness the innovation potential of the region, we must address the capital gap by attracting more investors willing to support early-stage ventures. By closing this investment gap and fostering a culture of cooperation, the aim to keep the Danube Valley at the forefront of innovation and economic growth can be reached.  What are the characteristics of the current ecosystem, and what are the prevailing trends in the Danube Valley region? Who are the key stakeholders in shaping the regional innovation ecosystem, and what roles do they play in its development and sustainability? What are the crucial missing elements that need to be addressed to create a thriving ecosystem in the Danube Valley? What barriers hinder the effective transfer of technology, which is a fundamental building block in the progression of innovation within the region?

Selma Prodanovic, Vice-President European Business Angel Network
Michael Strugl, Chairman of the Board of VERBUND AG
Yoram Wijngaarde, Chief Executive Officer & Founder,
Martin Gikov, Deputy Minister of Innovation and Growth of Bulgaria
                 Enkelejd Zotaj, Chief Information Officer, Raiffeisen Bank Ukraine
                 Led by:  Théophane Hartmann, Tech Reporter, Euractiv


17:30 – 17:35     CLOSING REMARKS




17:35 – 19:00     COCKTAIL RECEPTION

                            DTS Summit premises: Haus der Industrie, located in Vienna, Schwarzenbergplatz 4, 1031 Wien.




19:30 – 22:00    CULTURAL EVENT

                            Venue: Musikverein Wien, Brahms Saal, located in Musikvereinsplatz 1, 1010 Wien

                            Energizing Ukraine

                                 Orchestra Wiener Akademie with Ukrainian musicians Orchestra (director Martin Haselböck)

As a result of the war in Ukraine, along with many other people, numerous outstanding musicians have lost their homes and with them their work and performance opportunities. With the project "Energizing Ukraine", the Orchestra Wiener Akademie and its artistic director Martin Haselböck would like to provide opportunities for these persecuted artists to pursue their careers. Ticket proceeds from the Baroque-Gala will be used to fund scholarships and master classes for Ukrainian musicians.

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