In October, academic life at the KIT began for the 2015/2016 winter semester. The KIT Founders Forge, too, picked up speed again and welcomed founders and those interested in founding to the KIT Entrepreneurship Event on 10/22/2015 in cooperation with the Technologiefabrik Karlsruhe.
The event opened with a keynote speech from Prof. Götz W. Werner, founder and supervisory board member of dm-drogerie markt, at the KIT Entrepreneurship Talk. Götz Werner, born in Heidelberg with both father and grandfather having managed a drug store, is a trained pharmacist. In 1973, he opened his first branch in Karlsruhe. For 35 years, Werner was active as the managing director. Today, he is a member of the supervisory board of the company. Throughout his career, Werner also became a part of the KIT (at the time the University of Karlsruhe TH). From 2003 to 2010, he managed the Interfaculty Institute for Entrepreneurship, meaning he was the Chair of Entrepreneurship. In 2014, he received the Deutscher Gründerpreis (German Startup Award) for his lifetime achievements. This impressive résumé attracted many listeners to the Technologiefabrik. Not only the lecture room but also the room carrying the live video broadcast was filled to capacity.
Right away, Werner addressed the audience and gave the prospective founders advice, “If you want to open your own business, do something you can do!” He himself abided by this principle and, thus, created the basis for his success. For the development of a startup, Werner swears by the following formula for success: question existing and grown aspects – rethink – create new things and, finally, integrate new things into existing ones. This way, a startup idea can develop that truly contributes to problem solving and the fulfillment of customer needs. Werner also gave a tip for applying this formula, “Never settle for the first answer.” These ‘lateral thoughts’ are valuable in the development process. Moreover, in entrepreneurship, the employees, customers, and suppliers are important. Without valuing all three groups, a business cannot be successful. During his 90-minute talk, Prof. Werner entertained his audience with vivid anecdotes, wit, and educational information.
Following the event, the Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE) invited founders and those interested in founding to the 68th Founders’ BBQ hosted by Qymatix Solutions and the Technologiefabrik Karlsruhe. The young company offers a SaaS solution for sales analysis of the new generation and managed the evening’s BBQ for the guests of the talk and other potential founders. People gathered in the courtyard of the Technologiefabrik in a relaxed atmosphere. As usual, the mantra was: “Get to know five new people at each Founders’ BBQ.” Some young teams presented their ideas during the short pitch. The evening was a total success and brought together entrepreneurs and founders from the region.