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Organisation

SILICON ALPS Cluster

SILICON ALPS is an Austrian technology and innovation cluster for electronic based systems.

The SILICON ALPS cluster champions the interests of both its partners and the public, focusing on location development rooted in facts and opportunities. Our services are fine-tuned for SMEs, business founders, and cooperative project endeavors.

The SILICON ALPS cluster directly supports the »Silicon Austria« initiative by the bmk – the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology – and the technology platform ESBS-Austria. At the European level, the SILICON ALPS cluster, in alliance with »Silicon Europe«, replaces the former me2c – [micro] electronic cluster association.

The SILICON ALPS Cluster Mission

Driven by a commitment to excellence, the SILICON ALPS cluster is dedicated to amplifying the competitiveness and innovative prowess of its members. We aim to elevate regional value in both Carinthia and Styria, while also bolstering our location’s international visibility. At the heart of our mission is the desire to make our region an irresistible hub for start-ups and businesses, ensuring they thrive and prosper in a dynamic environment.

Boost competitiveness and innovative performance of its members

Increase added value in Carinthia and Styria

Promote the location’s international visibility

Enhance the region’s attractiveness for start-ups and business establishment

Roles of the SILICON ALPS Cluster

To fulfill its mission, the SILICON ALPS Cluster assumes the following roles:

Networkers and
Bridge Builder

We bridge the gap between business and science, uniting individuals who might otherwise never connect. Our mission transcends industry lines and national borders, fostering collaborations that drive innovation and progress.

Impulse generator and
Innovation Driver

We provide the driving force for projects such as research, product development, and qualification by merging regional competencies and initiating innovations.

Trendscout and Infobroker

We actively scan for global trends and pinpoint opportunities tailored for our region. Through industry-specific news, we ensure our partners are consistently informed and ahead of the curve.

Financing

The Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (bmk), the federal provinces Carinthia and Styria are providing start-up financing in the amount of 750,000 euros each (250,000 euros per year in the first three years). The participating industrial enterprises each contribute 25,000 euros per year. This secures financing for three years with approx. 1 million euros a year.

Organisation

The Villach-based SILICON ALPS cluster was designed as a shareholder structure, with shares held by both of its public partners, Kärntner Wirschaftsfond (KWF) and Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft (SFG), as well as the Carinthian and Styrian industrial associations. The companies are selected across the entire value chain and cover the field of microelectronics and beyond, comprising the electronics manufacturing, assembling, system integration, process measurement and control technology industries and providers of services specialising in microelectronics. After it has become established, the industrial associations will withdraw from the cluster.

You want to be part of the
SILICON ALPS team?

Our team

SILICON ALPS Team

SILICON ALPS Team

As a team, we strive for excellence, valuing each member’s contribution to our collective success. Embracing challenges, we foster innovation and continuous improvement. United, we aim to exceed expectations, making a positive impact in our work and communities.

DI Dr. Robert Gfrerer, MPH

Managing Director and CEO

I have extensive experience as a Managing Director, most recently at the build! Startup Center in Klagenfurt. Before that, I served as the Managing Director of Ortner Reinraumtechnik GmbH and spent a decade in a managerial role for a cluster, specifically the Human.technology Styria GmbH. With my background in telematics and a doctorate in electrical engineering, I bring both academic knowledge and practical experience from the business and industrial sectors. Out of 40 applicants, I was chosen as the ideal candidate for the roles at the SILICON ALPS Cluster. My main focus is on initiating cooperative projects and fostering a culture of collaboration in the region. I firmly believe that networks and clusters are pivotal for innovations, economic success, and regional and corporate competitiveness. I’m eager to dive into industry-relevant project developments in the cluster and am particularly excited about collaborating with a strong, cross-state team.

Anna Katholnig, MSc.

Executive Assistance

I did my studies at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz on sustainability oriented management, with operational environmental- , sustainability- and innovation-management as main areas of focus. During the finalization of my master thesis I started as a Trainee at Intel Austria GmbH. In this internationally operating company I worked as an accounting assistant and was responsible for the coordination of purchase orders and invoices. Furthermore I gained general experience in the areas of administrative support, finance and human resources.

Since July 2020 I am part of the SILICON ALPS Cluster team as executive assistant.

Elisabeth Berghold, BEd, MBA

HR Development Manager

My occupational life started within the textile branch, there I learned what it means to be a founder. After developing my own brand further, I moved slowly into the adult education field and pedagogics. Thus brought me lately to the amazing area of human resource management and its exciting operations. I was working for a textile corporation as an operational HR-Manager, where I had to serve a specific sales area within Austria, Slovenia, Swiss and Turkey. As well I worked as an HR-Project-Manager globally and cooperate around organisational developments.

In SILICON ALPS Cluster I am responsible for the HR Development of the region. My aim is to enhance the competitive advantages of the electronic based systems industry through strengthening HR.

DI (FH) Gernot Eder

Site Manager Graz & Business Development

After my studies as a Health Care Engineer – focusing on medical technologies and health informatics – at the University of Applied Sciences Graz, I made my first professional experiences at GS1 in Vienna. In the field of logistics, I have been involved in numerous projects with hospitals, medical technology and pharma companies. After my return to Graz, I was able to shape the field of medical technologies at the Human.technology Cluster as a business developer, pushing important topics such as sensor technologies, microelectronics or production technologies in the life science context on the national and international levels. With the foundation of nubid, I have been able to support numerous companies and start-ups in the field of medical technologies and digitization in expanding their business.

As Business Development and Innovation Manager I can perfectly use my experience and network from science and business to generate added value for our partners at the SILICON ALPS Cluster. Especially in the context of sensor technologies and microelectronics, I will push the topics of start-up ecosystem and project development as well as internationalization.

“one plus one is more than two”

Mag. Michael Zwantschko

Business Development & Innovation Manager

After finishing my master in business administration at the Karl-Franzens-University at Graz I started my professional career at an international operating automotive supplier where I gained a lot of experience in leading international project teams and working in an industrial area. As a Project & Business Development Manager I had the chance to evolve several projects in the renewable energy sector as well as in the engineering industry before I started my career as a Business Consultant for foreign direct investments.

As a Project Manager for Technology & Innovation within the SILICON ALPS Cluster I use my network and my professional know-how about the business locations to develop projects, represent the eco system on an international level and connecting people for success.

Benjamin Rammel, MSc MSc

Business Development & Innovation Manager

With my master’s studies in sustainable management & Industrial Ecology, I was always interested in companies combining ecological and economic development.

After working as a business developer for foreign subsidiaries of Carinthia’s largest energy supplier, my journey went towards self-employment. While co-founding a start-up, dealing with business development and sales, I obtained a trade license for management consulting to be able to provide companies with holistic support.

Since April 2022 I am part of the SILICON ALPS team as a Business Development and Innovation Manager, taking care of the Area of Excellence Power Electronics, start-up topics and the sustainability funding program Peak Performer in Carinthia.

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity. And I think there is no bridge that cannot be build.”

Christina Seifried, MSc

Project Manager SILICON ALPS Peak Performer

During my studies at the university of Graz on Business Education I started to work at a small IT company as assistant to the management. Over the years, I developed towards project management in the areas of funding and HR. In addition I was responsible for project controlling and financial management. In my master’s thesis I dealt with the holistic sustainability approach in the school context.

Since January 2023 I am part of the SILICON ALPS Cluster team, where I am responsible for our funding program SILICON ALPS Peak Performer.

Mag. (FH) Tamara Schmölzer

Marketing & Communication Manager

After my studies of Public Management at the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences I managed the EHS (Environment, Health & Safety) area of GE Healthcare in Upper Austria. When I returned to Carinthia I then switched to the fields of Marketing & Communications at Volksbank Kärnten and HIRSCH Armbänder.

Competitiveness, value creation, visibility, attractiveness and employment – these superior goals to which SILICON ALPS is committed are so simple and at the same time complex. Therefore they fully appeal to me to use my commitment and my strengths for a better future. Since February 2023 I am responsible for Marketing & Communications within the Cluster.

Viktoria Stallinger, BA

Marketing Assistant

During my bachelor’s programme „Journalism & PR“ I learned the main aspects of marketing and public relations, which helped me a lot to focus on communicating towards a target audience. This lead me to my previous job in marketing, where I was mainly responsible for external communication channels.

Since September 2023 I am in my master’s programme „Content Strategy“. The study programme is all about optimizing digital content.

In December 2023, I joined the SILICON ALPS Cluster team as a marketing assistant to support the marketing team with communication on the Website and on LinkedIn.

Timon Theurl, MA

Projectmanager Innovation & Technology

During my internship at the SILICON ALPS Cluster in 2019, I had the opportunity to gain experience in the cluster for the first time.

With an academic background in international management and entrepreneurship and several professional excursions into different industries and the start-up world, my journey led me back to the cluster. In my previous position as a project manager for marketing and project concept development, I was able to gain valuable knowledge.

This experience, combined with the insights from my internship and a comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem, helps me to join the SILICON ALPS team as Project Manager for Innovation and Technology.

Avinash Mahajan, MBA

Projectmanager Innovation & Technology

My professional background lies in business administration with a focus on business development, project management, and finance. I have lived and studied in India, the USA, and the Philippines before moving to, working and settling in Austria. My previous experience ranges from working in international banking firms to project management in the metal industry, and business development/business innovation in the automotive, software and tech sectors.  This has given me a well-rounded, global perspective on what makes businesses and concerns tick, and has allowed me to build a diverse network within Austria as well as internationally.  

 

I believe that new technologies are the doors to a better life for us all, and innovation is the key that will help us to keep unlocking this door. My goal at the SILICON ALPS Cluster is to leverage my experience, my network, and my keen interest in revolutionary technologies/technological innovation to drive new projects, enable new cooperations, add value, expand horizons and elevate the electronic-based systems industry in the South of Austria. 

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