Image: Koblenz University

StartUpLab@FH — New project at Koblenz Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences sup­ports inno­v­a­tive start-ups

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.