“A place to help young entrepreneurs and students find cheap workspaces and the right infrastructure for their company foundation” – this is how Andreas Fischer has described Germany’s first student incubator, named “Launchpad”. Andreas Fischer is a member of the PionierGarage student group at KIT. He was involved in the planning of Launchpad. A “launch pad” is the starting place of a rocket. PionierGarage similarly aims to provide the necessary starting energy for projects in their early stages of foundation.
Despite an innovative business idea, the path to independence isn’t always easy. During the beginning stage of a startup, the main focus lies on the issue of financing as well as on searching for suitable spaces for realizing this idea. The rental prices for office and laboratory spaces then turn out to be costly affairs on the free market, which makes it hard for young entrepreneurs to gain a foothold.
During the beginning stage of a business startup, founders are often faced with different challenges. Questions regarding financing, the business plan, and fear of failure are always present. However, entry into the business is facilitated through so-called incubators. In an incubator, startup projects that are preparing their business startup find a supervised space to develop and grow.
The term incubator originally comes from the fields of medicine and biology, where it is also referred to as a breeder. The principle of an incubator is to create the ideal conditions for breeding and growth processes. For newborns, for instance, the incubator provides an ideal and safe environment for the child to grow. In the field of business startups, this principle can be transferred to young startups. Incubators for startup teams create the best framework conditions that level the successful start into business life for the prospective entrepreneurs. In the special facilities or spaces of the incubator, startups receive support and consultation for their startup project. In addition to the availability of inexpensive rental spaces and infrastructure (e.g., offices, laboratories, or production facilities), founders are also supported with entrepreneurial know-how. Through consultations and coaching sessions by experts form the startup scene, the teams in the incubator are supported in a targeted manner through intensive supervision and their opportunities for growth increase. The incubator, as a focused startup center, simultaneously stands for infrastructure, knowledge, and network. In some cases, incubators also offer startups seed funding and are available to help founders with tips when searching for capital.
With its lively startup culture, Karlsruhe offers young founders some smaller and larger incubators or spaces in the area. A list of links for additional information can be found on our website “Space for Founders .” Especially for scientific spin-offs, the KIT offers a high-tech incubator on Campus North, where 10 startup projects and businesses are currently located.