Starting a business?! Anyone can do that!


Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart (HFT Stuttgart) has a large innovation potential with its research projects, and is currently establishing transfer structures within the university. Both aspects form a good basis for setting up new companies. With "EXIST-Potentiale", the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) has called on universities to submit concepts for further expanding their start-up networks. HFT Stuttgart was successful in this competition of ideas, and will receive funding for 4 years from June 1, 2020. The outcome will be a proactive university-wide support for start-ups, accompanied by a creative start-up milieu.

Research question

  1. How can more students and researchers be motivated to start a business? (Following the motto of the project "Founding? Anyone can actually do it!)
  2. How can the university be anchored in the start-up milieu of the Stuttgart region and our core competence around the city of the future be transformed from the many research projects into real, scalable start-ups?


For students and also for alumni, services for individual start-up support in the start-up laboratory are to be made available. They serve to further develop an idea or a concept for a start-up. In addition, a new certificate as entrepreneur will be developed (comparable to the Ethikum). This certificate is based on a defined competence map, and allows the crediting of existing modules anchored in the curriculum. The certificate programme will be realised in an interplay between the study programmes and the start-up laboratory.

In order to build up the internal start-up environment, a so-called start-up laboratory will be set up at HFT Stuttgart, in which all activities related to start-up at the university will take place. The start-up laboratory at HFT Stuttgart will focus on socially, economically and ecologically relevant start-ups in the area of "City of the Future". This means that the professional expertise on these topics at HFT Stuttgart can and should be included in all foundation phases, e.g. in the form of mental support or discussion groups. The creation of a start-up laboratory that takes up urban topics and in which ideas and concepts that have already been developed can be linked, further developed and brought to marketability, also enables medium-sized industrial partners to be more closely involved. In close cooperation with experts from the surrounding area, a seamless support chain is thus created in the ecosystem of HFT Stuttgart, especially for start-ups focusing on the "City of the Future".

Targeted results

The focus is on teaching entrepreneurial skills in teaching and research, as well as on the development of a start-up cluster and the promotion of the start-up culture at the university. We are pursuing two goals with this project:

  1. to get more students to found their own company, according to the motto "Starting a business? Anyone can!"
  2. development of a start-up cluster and the promotion of the start-up culture at the university, and anchor the university in the start-up milieu of the Stuttgart region,
  3. teaching entrepreneurial skills in teaching and research as well as specialist lectures and publications to further develop entrepreneurship education research.
ManagementProf. Dr. Patrick Planing
FundingFederal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Call for proposalEXIST – Existenzgründungen aus der Wirtschaft, call Potenziale
Duration01.06.2020 – 31.05.2024



Name & Position E-Mail & Telephone
Professor+49 711 8926 2903 L127
Innovationsmanagerin+49 711 8926 2317 5/2.98
Innovationsmanager und Startup Coach 007
Start-up Coaching und Kommunikation+49 711 8926 2317 5/2.98