1. Please briefly introduce yourself and your current job.
My name is Anja Schröder and I have been responsible for strategic communication in the EXIST Potenziale project at the University of Stuttgart since July 2022. The aim of the project is to shape innovative ideas and technologies from within the university into sustainable start-ups. This is supported at the university by three players at once, the Institute for Entrepreneurship (ENI), the Transfer Centre (TRACES) and the Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI). And since this excellent support for students, researchers and employees who want to start a business is still far too unknown within the university, internal communication is one of my tasks. At Startup Campus 0711, a joint project with the Hochschule der Medien (HdM), I also oversee external communication together with colleagues from the HdM.
2. Wie bist du zum Thema „Entrepreneurship“ gekommen?
I studied the precursor of "environmental science" 30 years ago and added journalism and corporate communications during my professional life. For a few years I offered (preferably impact-oriented) communications consulting as a solopreneur. Later I worked on Germany's first event for green start-ups. At some point it clicked. Did the carriage manufacturers invent the automobile? No! They were entrepreneurs with disruptive innovations. And in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), I believe that it will be the start-ups that have the greatest disruptive potential to put us on a sustainable path. These creative, alert minds are developed at universities. And I would like to accompany them for a while. Sustainability literacy is one of the topics close to my heart - only those who can grasp sustainability in its many facets also see themselves as a positively acting part of the large overall system and may, under certain circumstances, commit to the transformation in an entrepreneurial way. That is why I advise our start-ups on aspects of impact entrepreneurship and sustainability communication, for example.
3. Welchen Tipp würdest du gründungsbegeisterten Studierenden mitgeben, die sich im Moment überlegen zu gründen oder bereits erste Schritte in Richtung Selbstständigkeit unternommen haben?
Don't be afraid of mistakes: Try early, allow for mistakes as helpful feedback and corrective. Every mistake made is out of the way and increases the chance of success in the next step. Don't be afraid if the first (second, third, fourth ...) start-up idea doesn't take off properly. What you learn on these journeys will not be lost. It's like a jack-in-the-box: with the next idea you start from a higher level. Fail cheerfully and then move on.
Anja Schröder was a guest on Zackes Brustik's Sustainability Podcast "Gewinne Zukunft". Her episode is about greenwashing and why the EU wants to build trust for voluntary environmental claims by companies with the Green Claims Directive, a topic that naturally also affects start-ups.