March 9, 2021

Entrepreneurship anchored in teaching

Setting the course for a vibrant start-up culture in the region

The goal of the University of Stuttgart and the Vector Foundation (Stuttgart) is to make students aware of entrepreneurship at an early stage, to get them excited about entrepreneurial activity and to show them that founding startups is an attractive career path. Since the project was launched three years ago with the Let US start! project, over 1,000 students have been reached in numerous formats. Now it will be sustainably integrated into the teaching of the newly founded Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science (ENI) at the University of Stuttgart and continued across all faculties. 

Start-ups drive innovation and secure the future viability of the location. Three years ago, the University of Stuttgart launched Let US start!, a forward-looking project to familiarize students with the methods and mindsets for entrepreneurial action at an early stage. This project, funded by the Vector Foundation, shows founding as an attractive career option. Using a variety of teaching and event formats, Let US start! teaches key entrepreneurial skills. In a six-week intensive course, for example, student teams are professionally accompanied from the startup idea through prototyping to the pitch. At the end, the teams present their ideas to a jury of experts at the Demo Night. During the three-year pilot phase, Let US start! was flanked by the Tech Talents program of UnternehmerTUM, Center for Innovation and Startup at the Technical University of Munich, which was also funded by the Vector Foundation. The Tech Talents program supported the development of the startup community in the Stuttgart region with its years of experience in education in STEM subjects and support for startups. The establishment of the offerings in Stuttgart was additionally professionally accompanied by the Startup Hub Pioniergeist.

Leading cutting-edge research to spin-offs

"We are thrilled with the response from students and the importance that the topic of entrepreneurship now has among them. Let US start! is a central building block in the start-up ecosystem in the Stuttgart region, which specifically addresses students who have not yet considered starting a business. They learn about founding as a career option in the Let US start! formats," says Dr. Helmut Schelling, founder of Vector Informatik GmbH, benefactor and member of the Vector Foundation Board.

"Together with the Vector Foundation and other partners, the University of Stuttgart wants to ensure that top research also leads to more outstanding spin-offs in Baden-Württemberg," says Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rector of the University of Stuttgart. Let US start! stands for a new start-up culture at the University of Stuttgart, which is reflected in new co-working and makerspace opportunities, the expansion of start-up support and new supra-regional collaborations such as the Gründermotor Initiative. "We are glad to have given new momentum to the topic at the University of Stuttgart with this project. We see entrepreneurship as an important pillar for opening up further opportunities for our talents, along with their ideas and research, to put their knowledge into practice," Ressel said. 

Permanently anchored in teaching

After three years of successful piloting, all of the offerings and activities initiated by Let US start! will be continued by the University of Stuttgart by being fully incorporated into the teaching of the newly founded Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science headed by Prof. Alexander Brem and thus anchored in a structurally and organizationally sustainable way. "Even though the project can already point to great successes, the true added value will become even more visible in the coming years. Overall, a new culture has been fostered and integrated, and a strategic course has been set for scaling and growth of the program," said project leader Dr. Eric Heintze from the University of Stuttgart.

The Vector Foundation

The Vector Foundation was established in 2011 as a company-affiliated foundation. The foundation owns 60 percent of the shares in Vector Informatik GmbH and finances its activities from the dividends it receives from this shareholding. The Vector Foundation supports 150 projects with an average of around 8 million euros annually. Since 2011, it has used more than 50 million euros for its charitable work. The Vector Foundation is active in the fields of research, education and social commitment in Baden-Württemberg. Its funding focus is on engineering research projects, STEM education and combating housing and youth unemployment. Contact: www.vector-stiftung.de 

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M. A.

Melanie Minderjahn

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