Bits & Pretzels #13 A conversation with Bavaria's Nerd-in-Chief Judith Gerlach

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The young politician about what needs to be done to support founders & the upsetting digital dead zones in rural Bavaria

Judith Gerlach, Bavaria's first State Minister for Digital Affairs, talks about what needs to be done politically to push for more entrepreneurship and innovation in Germany, including whether we need to establish a Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs.

Gerlach also shares her experience of building a ministry from the ground up and the pains and pleasures of life in politics, including her fight against digital dead zones in rural Bavaria.

Because of these special circumstances, we’re having our conversation in German. Our non-German speaking listeners will find a detailed English summary in our show notes … and please join us again next week!

Host:

Britta Weddeling, Editor-in-Chief of Bits & Pretzels

Featuring:

Judith Gerlach, Bavarian State Minister for Digital Affairs (https://www.stmd.bayern.de/)

More to explore: Visit our website: https://www.bitsandpretzels.com/podcast

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If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review. You can also send us feedback directly at podcast@bitsandpretzels.com.

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English core statements from the podcast interview with small edits for clarity

Judith Gerlach about her first year as State Minister of Digital Affairs:

Actually, we're like a start-up. A year ago there was not even a carpet and no computers, no people. I had to build it all up from scratch. I realized that it takes a huge amount of motivation to get something like this up and running. And not only from me, but also from the people who work here.

About her life as a young female State Minister:

I have to deal with prejudices and often not too little. But this gives me the advantage that I am initially underestimated and then I can prove the opposite. Sometimes it's okay, but sometimes it's annoying because you have the feeling that you have to prove yourself very often. From time to time I am also called State Secretary because many think: Young woman, she can only be a secretary and not a minister. ** About how to hire talent to Munich:**

Google is a competitor in the employee sector and Google can pay better salaries. But we have the status of civil servants and some come here for their idealism. They love doing something for the society and making politics.

About her project "Bavarian Women in Digital Jobs" (BayFit):

It is a female talent program. It is about assisting and supporting women on their way. But it's also about promoting it in social media. I want to advertise this sector."

What needs to be done to support founders in Germany:

It is about creating a network for start-ups to established companies and to politics. After the foundation and initial financing, start-ups are sometimes not carried on and are then bought up by foreign companies. We want the companies to stay here and develop. That's why we want them to stay and grow here in Bavaria. We train great people here and then they leave with their idea, which is of course dramatic for us.

What she wishes for the future:

Confidence. We need confidence in many areas such as digitalization. I believe that we could approach some things more courageously as Germans. We have everything and we just have to go bravely into the future, and for that we need a bit of confidence.

53 episodes