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Creating a “startup culture”: 6 universities become founders strongholds

The decision as to which universities in North Rhine-Westphalia have received a total of 150 million euros for the massive promotion of the founding culture under the excellence Startup Center.NRW program has fallen. In addition to the universities in Dortmund and Bochum, Cologne, Aachen, Paderborn and Münster are also at the start. Thus, two universities from the Ruhr area are represented among the six funding universities. The University of Duisburg-Essen unfortunately did not make it to the winners.

Betting on young people

In September of last year, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia announced that it would spend 150 million euros as a subsidy on startup young people from universities in NRW. The goal: to emphasize the importance of young startups from the region, to support young founders right from the start and to foster the founding culture. “We support the universities in North Rhine-Westphalia, so that good ideas can become new companies faster,” says Andreas Pinkwart, Economic and Digital Minister.

For Pinkwart, it was already clear at the beginning of the initiative: “North Rhine-Westphalia is a leading science and innovation region in Europe. We want to put this research power even better on the road in the future. In order for excellence in research to find its way into the market more quickly, and exciting ideas to create new companies, universities must offer those interested in start-up a compact support that is closely interlinked with existing networks”.

A great success for innovation

“Right at the beginning of the year, this is a great success for the RUB. The funding brings Bochum to the top in innovation, transfer and start-up “, says Rector Prof. Dr. med. Axel Schölmerich. “I am particularly pleased that this will give our application as a university of excellence an additional boost.” “I am delighted with this tremendous success. We owe it to a continuous development work within our university, “says lawyer Albrecht Ehlers, Chancellor of the TU Dortmund. “Transfer and Entrepreneurship should establish themselves as the third pillar alongside research and teaching. In recent years, we have created the necessary structures and filled them with life”, adds Prof. Ursula Gather, Rector of the TU Dortmund. “This is a great success, which we have achieved together”, says Professor Axel Freimuth, Rector of the University of Cologne. “Now the University of Cologne can take the next big step in founding and innovation”.

The concepts of universities

RWTH Aachen: With the funding recommendation for the RWTH Aachen, the jury recognizes the ambitious plan to become the largest start-up incubator in Europe with an integrated approach. For this purpose, the university plans with its application u.a. to create a start-up center as a physical hotspot and bundle all necessary infrastructure and support services. The RWTH wants to make it so attractive for founders from other regions of Germany that they decide to realize their start-up projects in Aachen.

Ruhr-Universität Bochum: With the funding recommendation for the Ruhr-Universität, the jury recognizes the concept of a “Worldfactory Start-up Center” as the anchor point of a future technology campus. The construction of specific subject incubators u.a. on Smart Systems, Materials and Health was rated as particularly useful. In addition, the proposal is to expand the former Opel administration building into the central location of the start-up center with an event center and a large makerspace. Also crucial for the election is the planned establishment of a new range of entrepreneurship programs at the RUB and the expansion of the existing regional network with regard to spin-offs from the university.

TU Dortmund University: With the funding recommendation for the Technical University of Dortmund, the jury recognizes the concept of significantly increasing the number of high-tech start-ups with four defined transfer clusters and a broad regional network. Also convincing were the considerations to significantly expand the university infrastructure for start-ups. For this purpose, a Maker- and a Dataspace as well as Coworking- and seminar rooms arise. With transfer scouts the existing ideas and technologies within the faculties should be identified even better than before and be opened up for a possible spin-off. Another aspect of the application is the involvement of local SMEs in the activities of the Excellence Start-up Center.

University of Cologne: With the funding recommendation for the University of Cologne, the jury recognizes the very comprehensive concept that has been coordinated with the strategic development of the university. It relies on the creation of new professorships u.a. at the interface between digitization and entrepreneurship. With extensive activities, the approximately 50,000 students are to be made aware of the topic of company formation. The work of the GATEWAY start-up service is to be expanded and a new large innovation and start-up center in Cologne established. Thus, the application holds considerable potential in the opinion of the jury.

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster: With the funding recommendation for the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, the jury recognizes the university’s ambitious concept of raising the field of spin-offs to a level of excellence with a package of measures. The very good regional integration and networking of the university in the city and the Münsterland played a further decisive role for the jury decision.

University of Paderborn: With the funding recommendation for the University of Paderborn, the jury recognizes the outstanding concept of the university with a clearly formulated commitment of the Presidium to the integration of start-up funding into the university’s strategy. In addition to the further expansion of the regional network, it is in the application of the University u.a. to establish a Maker Space and to penetrate all faculties with entrepreneurial spirit.


Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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