Scientific research leads to innovations - and it is frequently the case that a company is founded as a result. However, it is far less often female scientists than male scientists who take this step.
The reasons for this imbalance and what the University of Stuttgart can do to encourage more women to start their own businesses were two of the central questions addressed by the participants at the event "Creating the future through innovation - women scientists as founders" as part of the Frauenwirtschaftstage (Women's Business Days).
Greetings from the Gender Equality Officer of the University of Stuttgart, Dr. Grazia Lamanna, from Iris Kronenbitter from the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg and the bga (Bundesweite gründerinnenagentur) and from the Vice Rector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Dr. Peter Middendorf, were followed by a keynote speech by Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science (ENI) of the University of Stuttgart. He gave insights into the female start-up scene: Women are more often involved in social and green entrepreneurship and focused on domestic markets, while for men, financial profits and international growth are often the main focus.
These insights were followed by a panel discussion with four female founders from academia:
Katrin Kreidel (University of Stuttgart), CEO Hydrop Water Systems,
Maike Lambarth (University of Stuttgart), CEO Cyclize,
Prof. Dr. Chiara Manfletti (Technischen Universität München), COO Neuraspace und
Susann Pätschke (Universität Stuttgart), CEO sat:io.
They shared their personal experiences on the way to becoming entrepreneurs with the audience and gave honest accounts of the ups and downs during their business foundations.
For almost all of the panelists, the crucial factors in their decision to start a business were the need to find a solution to an existing problem and the opportunity for self-determination and teamwork. Especially the multifaceted role as a founder - leader, mentor, decision-maker, manager, etc. - was presented as the greatest advantage of a woman entrepreneur.
Finding co-founders, applying for funding and the associated handling processes proved to be particularly challenging. Here, support offers such as "AWAKE - from idea to start-up in six weeks" by ENI or the intensive support by the coaches of ENI and TTI GmbH were extremely valuable.
The founders also shared their most valuable tips with the audience: It is important to set intermediate goals and prioritise tasks in order to stay on the ball and not lose focus. That's exactly why even small successes can be celebrated. And: With all the founding stress, the work-life balance should not be lost sight of. It is important to schedule time for hobbies, family and friends on a regular basis, because this allows you to recharge your batteries again and again.
The panel discussion was moderated by Bettina Banaj, start-up coach at TTI - Technologie-Transfer-Initiative GmbH at the University of Stuttgart. The event was organised by the Gender Equality Office of the Universität Stuttgart in cooperation with TTI GmbH and ENI.
Would you like to become a founder or co-founder yourself? Then contact the start-up-coaches at ENI or TTI GmbH.