How did you come up with the idea of founding Berl-IT GmbH, and what was the motivation behind it?
The idea of self-employment came up during my studies in computer science. Started 11 years ago as a sole proprietorship as a sideline (at that time, I offered IT services for private individuals and small businesses), I founded Berl-IT GmbH at the beginning of 2020, intending to accompany SMEs on their way to digital transformation as a strong partner.
Could you please tell us about your background? What degree did you complete? What excites you about your position?
I found my way into IT through a second-chance education. After graduating from high school, I completed an apprenticeship as an office administrator. In the company at the time, I took over some of the IT administration, although it wasn't my area of responsibility as an office administrator. But since I always had a great enthusiasm for computers and everything that has to do with IT, I decided to realize this professionally. I caught up on my technical high school diploma and started studying technical computer science. During my studies, I had the opportunity to become self-employed.
The IT industry is one of the most important industries in Germany and worldwide, and enjoys a very good reputation - does that mean that business life is easier for the companies from this industry? What are the typical challenges your company faces? What are the most difficult business cases in your company?
The IT industry is indeed promising, with great potential, but also with a great shortage of skilled workers. However, you also have to find your niche in IT and specialize. For us, that means accompanying SMEs on their way to digitization and offering relevant services and know-how. Digital transformation is progressing at full speed. This is also a challenge for us as an IT system house to stay on the ball. The classic IT service business of "time for money" is increasingly becoming obsolete. The future is managed-IT contracts, recurring subscription models and maintenance packages, IT flat rates, servers and applications in the data center, and so on. The fast pace of the industry is the difficult part for us. As we all know, standing still means taking a step backward. In IT, I think it means even more. The slow disappearance in the market.
What challenges do small and medium-sized enterprises face when trying to find financing?
That has to be looked at individually. But basically, there are enormous hurdles in Germany, especially for young companies or start-ups. Negative financial statements in the start-up years, lack of sales thresholds, lack of creditworthiness, and insufficient company age all of these are knock-out criteria for traditional banks to grant loans. And that, in turn, inhibits the growth of a young company and slows it down. I think anyone who can't bridge the gap out of their pocket or secure venture capital doesn't have it easy.
Could you please tell me one or two current goals of Berl-IT for the future?
In the next 10 years, we want to be the leading IT system house regionally at our company headquarters and be the first point of contact for support in the digital transformation, as well as build up and maintain a comprehensive cloud and data center offering for our customers.