In particular, the digitalisation of the ‘German Mittelstand’ could receive a boost through collabo-ration with digital start-ups. This could lead to an increase in the demographically induced declin-ing growth potential of the German economy. In order to exploit the full potential of cooperation, cultural differences between the two types of company must be overcome and in case of different regional focal points, the initiation of contacts must be facilitated. Based on expert interviews in start-ups, SMEs and associations, this policy paper identifies opportunities to strengthen coopera-tive relationships between established SMEs and the growing start-up scene. The paper concludes with ten policy recommendations.