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.
During 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.