|Born||June 11, 1990|
|Known for||Startupboat Sessions at the borders of Europe|
Paula Schwarz (born June 11th, 1990) is a German tech-entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and activist. She is the founder of the World Datanomic Forum and The Cloud Nation. She is widely recognized as a skilled educator, researcher, and activist specializing in solving the current migration crisis in Greece.
Throughout her career, Schwarz has supported oppressed groups and established multiple initiatives, such as Refugee First Response Centers and the Pythagoras Academy, a technology-focused college funded by Cisco and Google for Entrepreneurs. She has also worked closely with multiple UN institutions to work towards a common goal.
Schwarz is a multi-award-winning activist who is on the board of Kulturkreis des BDI and Xprize.
Early life and education
Schwarz was born on June 11th, 1990, in Munich. Her father was an investor for startups. Throughout her youth, Paula was not allowed to work or travel freely with people of different backgrounds due to an oppressive family structure. She was furthermore facing a lack of access to her personal identification documents as she had unknowingly transferred her right to accept financial payments, to own tangible objects or property, as well as her right to participate in public gatherings and to own companies to her father and third parties. These experiences strongly impacted her longing to enable social and political refugees to think, live and create freely in the best interest of society and themselves while learning to be in change of their own life.
After completing her graduation in Political Science from the Free University of Berlin, Schwarz went to Stanford University in 2015, where she became a trainee in Investment Management. A year later, Schwarz enrolled at the University of Western Australia to pursue a master’s degree. Later, she also became a certified financial advisor for application processes related to EU-grants at the EU-Fundraising Association.
Schwarz started her career in 2008 when she joined Eyb & Wolowitz Capital Assets. After working for almost a year at this firm she went to Human Rights Watch as a communications & outreach trainee. She worked with Human Rights Watch in the Empire-State Building in New York to prepare the supervision of the Olympic Games by Human Rights Watch and later moved to Karnataka, India with the organisation to roll-out a youth-empowerment project that coordinated advocacy-exercises among young daughters of alcoholic parents in slums.
In 2010, Schwarz began to work for the Berlinische Galerie Museum for modern art in Berlin, where she was in charge of forming and coordinating the organisation’s youth-support groups and their events. Schwarz later said that this work was impacted by her exposure to, but lack of allowance to work directly with the arts and artists throughout her youth. Consequently, the youth group of the Berlinische Galerie Museum grew to become the largest youth-support group for a museum in Germany until Schwarz left the organisation in 2012.
In 2012, Schwarz started her own tech-based startup which was to depict fact-based media-contributions by verified journalists on a world map. The attempt failed but Schwarz later said that it taught her a lot.
In 2014, Schwarz joined the AMPION Venture Bus in East-Africa. She drove through Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Congo with an international group of tech-entrepreneurs and ultimately won the competition together with her team and their solution, which they had created on the ride.
In 2015, Schwarz founded mobile think tanks Startup Boats, an initiative dedicated to help and examine the issues of migrants. In this venture by Schwarz, innovators of different fields present prototype tech-based solutions for local challenges. Soon, she was able to grow severa; different solutions in the areas of healthcare, fin-tech, shelter innovation, connectivity, crisis management and mobility that were used by a total of 9 million people.
Schwarz was able to secure funding from a group of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and executives from Facebook, Lufthansa Innovation Hub, McKinsey, and other companies in a short amount of time. The company's solution, First-Contact.org, a pan-European website that provides essential information on where refugees may get food, shelter, medical treatment, and transportation, has earned recognition. It also served as a platform for migrants to communicate with other refugees in need of assistance. Later, Schwarz established Migration Hub, a co-working facility in Berlin and Athens where anyone working on crisis-related issues can work for free for the next six months. Startupboat Scouts also handle developments around tools in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, Startupboat set up an online incubation program to monitor the development of tools.
This experience for Schwarz was traumatizing but with her crew she managed to digitize refugee camps in Greece with partners like Facebook, Google and the United Nations Refugee Agency. Together with Cisco, local governments in Greece and Turkey, Schwarz co-founded the Refugee First Response Center and the Pythagoras Academy, allowing refugees to maintain their dignity and enhance their skill sets. The Pythagoras Academy is the first private university in Greece.
A year later she became the vice president of Schwarz Foundation. In 2018, she founded the World Datanomic Forum, a social organization headquartered in Berlin that aims at providing expert advice in politics, data security, the private economy, and social sciences fields. WDF and Paula Schwarz collaborate closely with all UN institutions who aim to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations' Global Goals, which were agreed upon in 2015.
In 2019, Schwarz founded The Cloud Nation. The mission of the Cloud Nation is to bring about "radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity" through incentivized competition and grassroots-innovation. It fosters high-profile competitions to motivate individuals, companies and organizations across all disciplines to work together beyond borders, and to develop innovative, tech-based solutions that can scale to help solve the world's grand collective challenges.
Awards and Recognition
Schwarz was awarded the Impact Award of Ashoka in Greece and was named among the 30 best social entrepreneurs under 30 in Europe. She has also been awarded twice by 2019 Capital under the “40 under 40” list.
In the media
- "Paula Schwarz". Medium. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "Paula Schwarz - Founder @ Startupboat - Crunchbase Person Profile". Crunchbase. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "Paula Schwarz – Grid". bonniergrid.com. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "Darum kämpft Multi-Millionärin Paula Schwarz gegen ungerechte Vermögensverteilung". stern TV (in Deutsch). 25 April 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "Paula Schwarz". ChangemakerXchange. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "The new Founders have to be Superheroes! When social good & making money go hand in hand | Startup Grind". www.startupgrind.com. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- "Collecting data for a better world". deutschland.de. 19 October 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- Newenham, Pamela. "Tech entrepreneur takes smart approach to EU migrant crisis". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
- Curda, Pavel (14 September 2016). "What the tech community could do to help refugees who are coming to Europe - an interview with Paula Schwarz". EU-Startups. Retrieved 22 July 2021.