KIT Venture Fest 2016 – a day of innovation at KIT

KIT Venture Fest 2016

Inspire genius, encounter new concepts and deepen your own ideas – the third KIT Venture Fest is a platform for everyone with an enthusiasm for innovation. At KIT Audimax, students, academics, entrepreneurs, investors and creative minds get together under the banner of “Innovation for Business and Society” to exchange views, ideas and inspiration.

Visitors can look forward to a versatile programme. In addition to a programme based on the topic of start-ups and entrepreneurship, this year’s edition of Venture Fest also includes highlights pertaining to the field of technology transfer. The event will be officially opened by Professor Thomas Hirth, who assumed the position of Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs at KIT on 1 January 2016. The morning of Venture Fest will be dedicated to the acquisition of knowledge: a diverse mixture of workshops and seminars, during which representatives of the various target groups share their own experiences. Topics include the protection of intellectual property, the development of business ideas and coping with failure.

Students and academics will have the opportunity to showcase their successful, innovative projects to a wide audience. Afternoon highlights include a pitch for the KIT Innovation and Founders’ Prize. KIT teams with future-oriented projects get to present their ideas to renowned businesspeople and investors. Following a varied daytime programme, all participants of Venture Fest get to enjoy a keynote speech and discussion in the evening, when experts from business and industry share the stage with representatives of KIT.

All interested parties are warmly invited to join us for the next edition of our KIT Venture Fest on 29 June 2016. Registration will be open from May on the Venture Fest website.

KIT accelerator upCAT successfully starts its next round

For five KIT teams, everything revolves around advancing their startup project. They are taking part in the upCAT#4, a 12-week intensive program for startups and spin-offs. This is where prospective startup teams work on accelerating their market entry. The fourth KIT accelerator is lead by Dr. Gerda Frank and Petra Nitschke from the Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE).

Together with internal and external speakers, they share startup-relevant knowledge and a variety of methods that can be directly used in the following practice and mentoring sessions. The teams receive additional tips from experts in the industry and economy, so-called mentors. From December 7th-10th, 2015, the kickoff week took place – the start of the program. For one week, the teams received input in order to specify their business ideas. We met the teams at the beginning of the program.

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“Walk of Flame” – Architecture students develop implementation idea

By now, the KIT has reached a considerable number of committed and creative founders. More and more students, KIT employees, and graduates are making the decision to take an entrepreneurial path into self-employment. With the funding that started in 2013 through the “EXIST Culture of Entrepreneurship” program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the number of startup projects increased significantly. Thus, in 2014, 33 startups emerged from the KIT.

WalkOfFlame_176x200During the course of the conception and idea stage for the KIT Founders Forge project, there was already a wish to acknowledge the startup teams and to make startup activities more present on campus. This developed into the idea of a “Walk of Flame”: A visual installation of all startup projects and founded companies, similar to the American Walk of Fame that honors important personalities in film and television. The Walk of Flame is intended to honor motivated and courageous founders who are passionate about their idea and committed to the success of their business. The constant presence on campus also contributes to the strengthening of the KIT startup culture, where founding can be seen as an equitable option for your own life.

In order to approach this partial project, an idea contest was initiated in cooperation with the KIT Institute for Building Design and Technology in the specialized field of Building Lifecycle Management (BML). During the course of a summer semester, students developed concepts for the “Walk of Flame” as part of this impromptu project, i.e. an unsupervised project. The architecture students had about one month to create ideas for a public, lasting, significant, and, above all, expandable model. In the end, four completely different approaches were presented on May 20, 2015 from which the KIT Founders Forge selected the best idea. In addition to creativity, visibility, and feasibility, the estimated cost for realization also affects who wins the idea contest. All submitted ideas will be exhibited at the founders’ gallery at the KIT Venture Fest on June 30 in the Audimax, and the winner of the idea contest will be selected.