Job offers are rare and internships are also increasingly being cut. The current economic situation and the effects on the job market make it difficult for students and graduates to find the right internship or to successfully cope with the entry into professional life. In order to make a virtue out of necessity, the “PLAN G - Startup in eight weeks” format was implemented at the Stuttgart University of Technology.
Last Friday, students, employees, professors and interested parties were able to see the results of the format for themselves. Starting from scratch eight weeks ago, the eleven teams presented their business ideas and initial successes to an expert jury at the virtual final event. From an app for automated prediction of the expansion of the local e-infrastructure, to a digital supporter for mental risk assessment in companies, to a mobile 3D scanning system for CAD construction, promising business models were represented.
I am very impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm that the teams have shown and am pleased that some have even been able to win pilot partners in such a short time. This courage and creative will of the founders can serve as an inspiration for the university and our society.
To ensure that the teams solve relevant problems with their ideas, cooperation with partners from business and the public sector took place from the very beginning. The companies and municipalities formulated challenges from their practice, which were then taken up by the teams and served as the starting point for their business idea. One of the companies involved is DEKRA DIGITAL. DEKRA's innovation division focuses, among other things, on digital services relating to safety and has contributed two challenges from the field of hydrogen and e-charging infrastructure to the 8-week programme. For the company, this has several advantages, as Moritz Gräter, Head of Innovation & Digitalization at DEKRA DIGITAL, explains: "For us, this is a great opportunity to work with young talent and get new approaches to solving problems for our work. In the best case, the teams turn into real startups that we can cooperate with as a company."
By collaborating with companies or municipalities, the teams also gain access to experts and affected customer groups. This creates a win-win situation for all involved. "Each team receives a fixed mentor who is available for feedback and coaching at every stage. It is particularly gratifying that we have been able to integrate successful founders from the region into the program at each weekly session. The short impulses serve as additional motivation and inspiration for the teams and give an authentic taste of real startup everyday life," explains startup coach Matthias Schöttler, who was instrumental in getting the program off the ground.
The 8-week program is an initiative of PLAN G, the new project for startup support at HFT Stuttgart. It is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) through the funding line "EXIST-Potential". The ambitious project aims to produce many successful founders from the university over the next few years. The thematic focus of the start-up projects will be primarily on the area of "City of the Future". The topic of "City of the Future" is already prominently represented in the research projects and courses of study at the HFT Stuttgart. As a former construction university in the heart of the state capital Stuttgart, courses such as architecture, civil engineering and building physics are traditionally anchored and are complemented by areas of study such as computer science, mathematics, economics and surveying.
Our goal is to leverage entrepreneurial potential by creating interdisciplinary offerings and thus bringing together students from different fields of study and with different skills in teams. In this way, we want to enable start-ups that make cities worth living in.
On Friday, December 18, after eight labor-intensive weeks, the start-up pitches at HFT Stuttgart took place in digital form. The teams each had three minutes to present their project. Afterwards they had to answer the questions of a top-class jury. The following teams were awarded prizes and were the winners of the start-up pitches.
The lawable project aims to make it easier for people with a migration background and language barriers to enter the world of entrepreneurship. This is to be realized with the help of a multilingual, interactive platform by providing industry-specific information in different presentations.
The team that received the audience award consists of Luca Stanzl and Ahmet Deniz. They are studying infrastructure management and teaching.
For the greatest progress within the short time of only eight weeks, the mentors awarded the project True You . The founder, Miriam Glassner, from the Business Administration course, wants to help athletes to make their sporting career more successful for themselves personally by knowing who they really are, what makes them unique and how they can communicate this to the outside world.
Next year, the teams and the project should continue successfully. Around the 8-week program, further offers for people interested in founding a company will be created. At the same time, the cooperation with companies and municipalities will be further expanded in order to emerge from the crisis strengthened and with new innovative power.