The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) offers prospective founders a number of funding programs for implementing their startup ideas. An important instrument is the EXIST Business Start-up Grant, which supports startup projects from an early stage. The funding is directed toward students, graduates, and scientists from universities and non-university research institutions. Within one year, the teams receive the opportunity to turn their first idea into a concrete business model, including a business plan, and to receive professional assistance in doing so.
Three KIT teams didn’t miss out on this chance and applied for the grant – successfully! The founders of Aquaplot, Curafida, and Selfbits were able to gain support with their innovative and technology-oriented ideas and, thus, received the EXIST Business Start-up Grant. The KIT Innovation Department actively helped in preparing applications. The Aquaplot team develops a software as a service solution for navigating and planning routes for maritime and cargo traffic. The team of Curafida also offers a SaaS application. Their system for health services is intended to bring chronically ill patients and their medical specialist closer together and to improve the flow of information. The third team, Selfbits, is working on a cloud-based service in the field of knowledge management / knowledge acquisition.
During the course of the year-long funding period, the teams can continue advancing their startup plans. In doing so, the prospective founders are supported through seminars and coaching. The goal is to prepare them for market entry through the technical and entrepreneurial realization of the idea. The task of the founders is to improve their business plan – the final business plan is the conclusion of the grant support. We look forward to seeing the development of the three KIT teams and wish them a lot of success!
On March 16, 2015, the first of two advanced training events of this year for professional patent use began. KIT employees interested in the protection of intellectual property and technology utilization were invited. Using the title “From Invention to Innovation,” the KIT Innovation Department in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Technological and Environmental Training (FTU) informed its participants about the most important foundations and services at the KIT.
The half-day events of the program for advanced training WaTT (Wissensaufbau und Technologietransfer – Knowledge building and transfer of technology) were directed toward inventions that can develop into innovations through protection, e.g., in the form of patents ranging to commercialization. Innovations can thus find their way into the industry in the form of license agreements (technology transfer) or can form the basis of a spin-off. Technology transfer in the form of a spin-off plays an increasingly important role at the KIT. Therefore, part of the lecture concentrated on the offerings and founding services at the KIT. All participants received insight into the world of startups and spin-offs of the KIT. At the following get-together, there was enough time to reflect on the topics together with the participants. This way, for instance, the question could be resolved whether the spin-offs developed through the institute belong to the KIT or are independent.
Similarly, the advanced training also concretely helped two scientists interested in founding. They had already advanced their startup idea at the KIT accelerator upCAT and were now grateful about the expanded knowledge from the seminar on patents and licenses. Thus, nothing stands in the way of a spin-off. We are crossing our fingers for their startup project!
The next “From Invention to Innovation” advanced training session will take place on October 6, 2015. Mark your calendar or register directly at the FTU. You can find the seminar in the program using the FTU shorthand MB431.