Paula Shwarz

Born on the 11th of June, 1990.



Paula Schwarz is a half-Greek, half-German entrepreneur with a background in political sciences who runs mobile think tanks called ‘Startupboats’, during which innovators of different fields prototype tech-based solutions for local challenges.

Paula was traumatized during her experiences while building tech in the face of the refugee crisis in Europe.

She and her crew became known because were they were among the first to digitize refugee camps in Greece with partners like Facebook, Google and the United Nations Refugee Agency.

On Startupboats, innovators of different fields would come together at border regions of Europe where high numbers of refugees arrive to build very basic tech-tools.

Out of the mobile think-tank have grown 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.

Since the beginning of the refugee crisis, Startupboat set up an online incubation program to monitor the development of tools.

Startupboat Scouts handle developments around tools in West Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

So far, NGOs have thought and acted in resolutions, politicians in laws and startups in tools. Startupboat brings decision makers on boats to shake them up a bit and to provide a safe space where they can brainstorm without having to worry about the usual barriers they face in their fields.

Besides her work with Startupboat, Paula co-ran the Refugee Taskforce of the World Economic Forum and served as Vice Chair of the Global Shapers Hub of the World Economic Forum in Berlin until she dropped out of the World Economic Forum to create the World Datanomic Forum and Datanomics for the Cloud Nation.

She is a Fellow of the Creative Council in Germany, she is part of the Economic Council of Germany and she advises different governmental partners and friends on migration laws & policies, as well as on systemic change mechanisms to push for social justice and equality. Paula was named among the ‘100 Real Leaders of Tomorrow’ by Forbes Magazine for connecting tech-giants with grassroots initiatives that deal with the refugee crisis in Europe, she was listed among the 30 social entrepreneurs under 30 by Forbes. She was chosen twice among the 40 top entrepreneurs under 40 & among the 6 female founders to watch out for in Germany by Capital Magazine.


My vision for the future is to see people work towards and a common goal rather than towards satisfying the ego. We should collectively try to eradicate mental barriers that hinder cooperation to achieve a better world for all.

Favorite quote:

Think win-win and begin with the end in mind.