At the beginning of a startup there is an idea and a motivated team. But for it to become a startup, professional support is needed. The Passau certificate program "Honours Degree in Entrepreneurship" is now doing this for the fifth cohort of students and doctoral candidates who are enthusiastic about founding a company. The group around innovation researcher Prof. Dr. Carolin Häussler has selected ten new teams, which will now be accompanied in the concrete implementation of their business idea in the 2022 summer semester.
"It was important to us to open the program to our Ukrainian partner university KNEU in Kyiv," says Prof. Dr. Häussler, who, together with several other members of the University of Passau, works with Ukrainian students and researchers. "We wanted to offer students the opportunity to continue to advance their start-up idea on site, even in times of war." Among the new teams are two Ukrainian teams from the partner university National Wadym Hetman University of Economics in Kyiv (KNEU). One of them came up with the idea of making the Ukrainian stew borscht as an instant packet soup. It is currently supporting helpers in Ukraine. The team has already distributed more than 8,000 bags. The task now is to secure financing and explore business models in markets outside of Ukraine.
Other ideas are also in an advanced phase: For example, the WeBackpack team, which wants to develop an app that makes it safer and easier to find travel buddies digitally. Or a team around a prospective teacher who is working on an EduTech idea and wants to develop an app that enables teachers to easily plan lessons digitally.
While the Digital Technology Entrepreneurship Program (DTE) was supported with funds from the Free State of Bavaria in the first few years, the current and next year will be financially supported by the Bavarian employers' associations of the metal and electrical industry vbm and bayme. Bayme vbm Managing Director Bertram Brossardt explains that the associations are committed to the program “because it inspires students from all faculties about digital technologies and motivates them to take entrepreneurial action alongside their studies. Last but not least, by awakening the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit early on, we also contribute to securing skilled workers and strengthening Lower Bavaria as a business location.”
To this end, the program will be expanded as part of the PATEC project (Passau - the Entrepreneurial Campus) to include “Sustainability” and “Interculturality” as new focal points. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection supports this expansion with the "EXIST-Potentiale" funding program until August 2024. Those interested in founding a company are supported along the entire founding journey - from the first business idea to the actual founding of a company. In the coming months, “the honors degree is about educating, empowering and connecting future entrepreneurs. We accompany the student teams on their start-up journey in workshops and intensive individual coaching,” reports Laura Körner, who works at the chair of Prof. Dr. Häussler. The Passau certificate program not only values diverse ideas, but also diversity and the advancement of women. A total of 36 students were accepted, including 19 women. The program itself is interdisciplinary; chairs from all four faculties are involved.