With kind permission from the "EXIST Potentials Project Report, March 2022"
Although the University of Stuttgart (about 24,000 students) and the Media University (about 5,000 students) did not apply for a collaborative project, it was clear from the beginning that they wanted to work together. In this way, the
individual strengths can be expanded and the commonalities and interfaces can be developed in a targeted manner to strengthen the campus as a whole. The result is the startup campus 0711, where those interested in founding a company at the HdM and the University of Stuttgart benefit equally from the many years of experience of both universities in supporting startups. In addition, they benefit from the numerous activities set up in the EXIST Potentials projects Exi+ at the University of Stuttgart and "EINS" at the HDM Stuttgart.
EXIST Potentials: Focus on "Regional Networking"
Helping science-based startups succeed and thus increasing their number and quality - that is the goal of startup campus 0711. Among other things, the expertise of the entire regional ecosystem is to be included in order to enable seamless support for startup projects. This includes, in particular, partnerships with the Technologie Transfer Initiative (TTI) of the University of Stuttgart, the Generator Startup Center of the HdM, the German Aerospace Center and the Fraunhofer Institutes, as well as incubators and accelerators of the regional ecosystem.
Highlight: Establishing a support structure for startup teams
What does the ideal individual start-up path look like? What are the milestones? Who is available to provide advice? Start-up teams from HDM and the University of Stuttgart will receive answers to these and other questions when they attend the regular "Round Table". Requirement: They receive funding from EXIST or one of the state programs. "At the Round Table, the teams pitch in front of startup coaches as well as startup advisors from the HdM and the University of Stuttgart," explains Johanna Kutter, responsible for consulting and entrepreneurship education at the HdM Generator Startup Center. If the projects are eligible for EXIST funding, the next step is an EXIST check-in meeting with one of the startup coaches at the respective university. This initial consultation is standardized by a specially designed guideline and thus offers a uniform start. If the EXIST application is approved, the teams also receive standardized information documents, such as a guide for selecting the appropriate coaching.
It is noteworthy that the teams have equal access to the offers and contact persons from both universities. "Both institutions can take the best of what they have gathered in terms of expertise and pass it on to the teams," delights Laura Rehberg, a research associate at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research at the University of Stuttgart. "For example, if one of our teams wants to develop a digital product and needs expert input, we simply refer them to our colleagues at the HdM. In practical terms, this means that the founders only need to walk across campus. There, at the HdM, is the digital expert who can help them in the best possible way. This physical proximity is an unbeatable advantage, even if many of the discussions take place online." Johanna Kutter agrees. She likes to send her teams to contacts at the University of Stuttgart when it comes to technical and regulatory issues, for example. "Take the example of patents or dealing with IP. That's a topic that's still in its beginnings here at the HdM. The situation is different at the University of Stuttgart. There, there is a consulting office that is explicitly responsible for IP strategies, IP protection, FTO analysis, etc. and is now also available to founders of the HdM. In general, we can refer our teams to professors at the University of Stuttgart at any time if necessary. This direct and simple exchange was not possible in the past." It's no wonder that the close cooperation is beginning to bear fruit: Founders from the HdM and the University of Stuttgart have already joined forces to found a start-up together.
In addition, the cooperation also offers financial advantages. The implementation of joint events is known to save the budget. The direct line between the startup players at the two Stuttgart universities and the trusting cooperation ensure quick and unbureaucratic solutions.
"The more players and the more people work together, the more efficient and the bigger you can think. In this respect, it was a great experience for us to see how quickly you can grow when you pull together," Johanna Kutter sums up. She was particularly pleased about the great interest shown by the city of Stuttgart and other players in cooperation - be it joint events, an Internet presence, mutual reporting, and so on.
The video project that the initiators of startup campus 0711 have set up together with the University of Hohenheim and the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences also fits in with this. This year, for example, students will be able to prepare themselves comprehensively for applying for an EXIST startup grant with the help of a video tutorial.