Founding workshop "From PhD to Innovator" by YES together with the University of Hohenheim, the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and the University of Konstanz

November 15, 2022

How much startup is there in your doctoral thesis? In the workshop "From PhD to Innovator", part of the Young Entrepreneurs in Science program of the Falling Walls Foundation, PhD students and postdocs at the University of Stuttgart were able to explore this question.

For the second time this year, the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research organized the successful workshop format "From PhD to Innovator". As in April this year, the workshop was held in cooperation with the University of Hohenheim and Young Entrepreneurs in Science. Due to the resounding success, both Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and the University of Konstanz joined in.

Guided by innovation coaches, the researchers learned how to develop a business idea in an interdisciplinary and motivated peer group. This showed them an alternative career path by developing a concrete idea for solving a problem from their doctoral project or an everyday problem. The participants applied design thinking methods to turn this idea into a tangible prototype.

Entrepreneurship after the PhD - what do other founders say?

An essential aspect of startup promotion is the exchange with other founders, who share valuable experiences and give practical tips on how to prepare a startup during the PhD. Guests were Susann Pätschke, who just launched her startup satio in September, funded by EXIST Forschungstransfer. Also a guest was Benedikt Janny, co-founder of the startup mediMESH.

The organizing universities were also present and showed the participants what options there are for them after the two-day workshop, should they decide to continue on the startup path. One way to get support is to consult the startup coaches at ENI. As the first point of contact, they can help assess the maturity of the idea and support the potential founders in developing it further and generating funding. They also know all the important offices and people who are elementary to the start-up process (

All in all, the participants were enthusiastic at the end of the event and took away many ideas and suggestions. In addition, our coaches at ENI have already received one or two emails from the participants, which indicates that the YES workshop was once again a complete success.

University of Stuttgart as YES Campus and as part of the Startup Campus 0711 to support entrepreneurship awareness

The University of Stuttgart is certified as a "Young Entrepreneurs in Science Campus" in Germany. The ENI and GRADUS support the Falling Walls Foundation in raising awareness among PhD students for entrepreneurship as an attractive career path. For support during the early stages of a startup, they are part of the Startup Campus 0711 initiative to support startups at the Science Campus Stuttgart Vaihingen together with TTI GmbH, Hochschule der Medien and Fraunhofer IPA. Those interested in a startup or in individual workshops on the topic can find out about other Young Entrepreneurs in Science programs directly through ENI and GRADUS or their newsletter.


This image shows Andreas Wahl

Andreas Wahl

Dr. rer. pol.

Head of Teaching

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