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Entrepreneurship for Researchers – Satisfied participants of the Summer School 2014

 Scientists discover the world of entrepreneurship and convince at the final pitch

Under the title “Entrepreneurship for Researchers”, the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Technology Management and Innovation organized the summer school of the KIT Founders Forge from September 22nd to 26th, 2014. The school took place again in cooperation with the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management.

A total of 16 participants from technical or scientific areas faced the entrepreneurial challenge and worked on specific business ideas based on technical inventions of the KIT in the five day school.


From the colorful mixture of participants, five teams assembled to develop a specific business idea based on a technology within the five days. In various expert lectures, the participants were led to the topic of entrepreneurship and finally core topics, for example product strategy, lean startup, market analysis and business models were looked at in more depth. In active workshops, the participants themselves became active and implemented what they had learnt in their projects.

Christoph Heger, doctoral candidate at the KIT in the field of informatics, took part with his own topic. The school and his team helped him put his idea in more concrete terms and check it for startup potential: “I used the intensive workshops to evaluate my idea and find out whether I could develop a startup out of it or not.” Heger recommends the school to all interested parties who want to get an overview and want to critically examine their idea.

Philipp Dietrich also brought his own idea, on which he had been working for some time, to the school. He liked the systematic approach to developing a business idea most. “I wanted to bring my idea up to a founding ready level,” said Dietrich. The school served to analyze which mistakes he had made in the past and what he can optimize. As a KIT doctoral candidate, Dietrich sees a special focus on IP management. Peter Bittner of European Patent Attorneys passed important knowledge on this topic on to the participants, while Dagmar Vössing of the KIT Innovation presented the possibilities of protecting innovations at the KIT.

Apart from all the expertise, Dr. Gary Davidson’s key note, founder of Incella GmbH, was especially informative for the participants. Michael Prokle of the University of Massachusetts stresses: “This was especially interesting for me, since one heard about real experience in the reality of starting up. Every founder has his own story, so you can learn a lot.” Overall, Prokle liked the focus on practical application as well as the timeliness of the topics at the school.

After an intensive working phase, the participants presented their business ideas and models to a competent jury: Prof Dr. Orestis Terzidis, Prof. Christian Bornhardt B., Dr. Gerda Farnak, and Dr. Jakob Karszt. Thanks to the professional presentation coaching of Kailey Peng from explain GmbH, the summer school ended with promising pitches. All teams received positive feedback from the jury and managed to receive an “investment”.

Angela Poschlad, from Steinbuch Center for Computing, has a positive overall impression of the school and would recommend it not only to those interested in founding their own company: “I did not have any concrete founding plans, but the school whets your appetite for more. To be able to place oneself within the idea, it was important to take the school serious from the start. It was fun to think that this could one day be real. “

If you are also interested in the topic of company founding in science and you would like to get a first impression of the role of an entrepreneur, then take note of the next school right now. Preparations for the next cycle will start shortly – the spring school 2015 takes place in March. Anja Wahl is available for questions and further information.

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