On April 21 and 22, the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research at the University of Stuttgart welcomed the Falling Walls Foundation to the Arena2036 research campus for their Young Entrepreneurs in Science Workshop. The number of registrations exceeded the capacities this time, which was not only due to our new cooperation partner - the InnoGreenhouse of the University of Hohenheim - but also due to the format and the fact that researchers of both universities were enabled to visit the Innovation Space of Arena2036.
Guided by innovation coaches, the participants 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 from their PhD project or from an everyday problem. The participants used design thinking methods to then turn it into a tangible prototype.
Entrepreneurship after the PhD - what do other founders say?
In addition, the participants learned first-hand from founders what it means to be an entrepreneur and to found a startup. Sandra Ebert (ZBS Food; https://zbs-food.com) and Martin Allmendinger (OMM Solutions; https://omm-solutions.de) talked about the hurdles and difficulties of founding a company - and how the process has developed and matured them and what positive influences this has had on their lives. Both were also enthusiastic about the ideas presented by the participants and were able to give valuable tips and advice. Furthermore, they were able to show insights into the further steps up to the startup foundation.
The organizing ENI as well as the InnoGreenhouse were also present and showed the participants what possibilities there are for them after the two-day workshop, should they decide to continue on the path to a startup. One way of 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 could already find one or the other email from the participants in their inbox, which only indicates that we have once again landed a complete success with the YES workshop.
University of Stuttgart as YES Campus 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 about entrepreneurship as an attractive career path. Those who are interested in starting a business 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.