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Spring School – Scientists get a taste of startup

For the third time, from March 23rd to 27th, 2015, the spring school for soon-to-be founders and scientists interested in founding took place. As previously, the HECTOR School of Engineering & Management was a cooperational partner of the spring school.


As usual, the participants came from a wide array of areas: from toxicology through to genetics and ranging to robotics and interactive real-time systems. We were pleased that the spring school attracted some more female participants this time – nearly half of the 14 participants were female.

Two of these participants were Eva Zittel and Vanessa Kappings. Both are currently doctoral candidates at the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (ITG) and are simultaneously working on an emerging spin-off. This was also the motivation for the two scientists to participate in the spring school and gain background knowledge about founding. “We especially liked the practical and interactive work as well as brainstorming and working with posters,” Zittel recounts.

Their colleagues Andreas Bihlmaier and Julien Mintenbeck came to the spring school with their own idea. For both doctoral candidates, the focus was especially on financing, market analysis, and business plans. Dr. Gerda Frank provided the participants with important knowledge about investment and financing. The topics were expanded through the “Financial Planning” workshop, led by Florian Kirchner of evers & jung GmbH, where participants learned about important financial aspects. Bihlmaier and Mintenbeck give a positive verdict of the one-week spring school, as they were able to pick up a lot of information such as preparation for the pitch as well as the creation of a business plan based on their own ideas.

After a week of informative, intense work in workshops and lectures, the five teams presented their results at the final elevator pitch on Friday, March 27, 2015. The teams were evaluated by a qualified jury: Professor Orestis Terzidis, Dr. Gerda Frank, and business angel Christopher Münchhoff. The teams were rewarded with positive and constructive feedback. Christopher Münchhoff encouraged participants to apply for funding programs for startup projects such as EXIST.

All participants will be able to use the valuable feedback from the jury for their potential “startup future.” “The school gave me a complete overview of all areas around the topic of founding. I can definitely recommend this program,” Miro Taphanel, doctoral candidate at the Vision and Fusion Laboratory, states.

Are you also thinking about developing your research results into a business idea? Or do you simply want to learn more about startups in science? Then use this opportunity and mark your calendar for the next school in August 2015 . For questions and additional information, please contact organizer Anja Wahl.

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