How do we meet the challenges of the future? More than ever, young people are needed to drive progress with innovative ideas in technology and society as well as with entrepreneurial thinking and action. Starting in August, these founders will find targeted support at Koblenz University of Applied Sciences: The “StartUpLab@FH” project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with nearly 1.2 million euros over four years, is intended to create research space for innovative start-ups.
At Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, the innovation and start-up culture is now to be promoted under the title “SCOUTING-IDEATION-PROTOTYPING-INTERACTION@HS KOBLENZ – SIPI@HSKO” in creative spaces at the RheinMoselCampus and RheinAhrCampus as well as in the laboratories at all three university locations. The aim of the project is not only to establish necessary structures, but also to strengthen the internal networking of all stakeholders. In the view of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, universities of applied sciences are particularly suited to teaching students and employees entrepreneurial thinking and a practical start-up culture based on concrete research and start-up ideas because of their closeness to application and practice as well as their solution orientation. “We are pleased that our application was successful. With the help of the project funding of just under 1.2 million euros, the university is providing the necessary equipment and supporting its students, employees and teachers in an advisory capacity,” emphasizes Raphael Dupierry, Head of the Start-Up Office in the Research and Transfer Department at Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, who was in charge of the application.
In two creative spaces at the RheinMoselCampus and RheinAhrCampus as well as in the laboratories of the three university locations, SIPI@HSKO is intended to promote the innovation and start-up culture of the entire university. To this end, the project team – probably four employees under the scientific leadership of Prof. Dr. Mareike Heinzen, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kiess, Department of Engineering, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Wilhein, Department of Mathematics and Technology – is developing and implementing a concept for the holistic promotion and support of innovative ideas. “At the beginning, innovative ideas are identified via various idea scouting concepts. Through a series of so-called ‘ideation workshops’, the ideas can be developed and taken to market maturity via prototyping. In the final step, ‘Interaction,’ the developed prototypes are finally communicated via various modern formats, such as idea slams,” Dupierry explains. “The topic of startups in teaching has been present for a long time. Finally, with the StartUpLab, there are now two creative think- and makerspaces where students from different departments can try out, network and present their ideas,” says Mareike Heinzen.