Thousands of people move to Berlin each year, attracted to its history, culture and opportunity in Germany’s growing tech scene. Berlin is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the European Union, with an increasing number coming to Berlin seeking refuge from humanitarian disasters in their home countries and a new start.
Typical for the Berlin startup scene, a number of initiatives have been partnering with the State to ease the integration process for these groups with social and economic support programs.
Earlier this week in Ada’s Berlin Kreuzberg office, we had the opportunity to host one of those programs through the Digital Career Institute, called Devugees. Devugees is run by a team of entrepreneurs, employees and freelancers in the Berlin startup scene, and provides mentorship, coding training and professional networking to refugees trying to establish a new start in Berlin.
As part of the program, the students visit technology companies around the city to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a startup, see firsthand how their training can be applied and build new connections in the Berlin tech scene.
Ada was one of the last companies that this Devugees class visited on their tour. We spent an engaging two hours, where one of our software engineers and product managers, Valentin and David, shared ideas on coding techniques, product and team management, while the Devugees students brought new perspectives and ideas to the table about how Ada could help more people around the world.
Programs like Devugees are an important reminder of technology’s power to change lives at both a global and an individual level. As Devugees notes in their mission statement, “We know the tech-scene and we know how to plan, structure and implement projects,” and sometimes a concrete helping hand can be just as valuable as developing the next innovation.