StartupSÜD is the newest alliance of Ulm University and the universities of applied sciences in Neu-Ulm, Biberach and Ulm. The goal: to support and promote start-ups and young founders. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has now announced to support the alliance with four million euros through the funding initiative EXIST.
The regional universities of applied sciences and Ulm University are already highly successful alliance partners in the project InnoSÜD: Their joint mission is to establish the Donau-Iller-Riss region as one of the most competitive and innovative areas in Europe. A particular focus is put on energy, mobility, health and biotechnology as well as transformation management.
The start-up culture is another important building block for the future viability of the region: In their new alliance project StartupSÜD, the well-established partners set out to boost the entrepreneurial potential of regional talents.
For this purpose, the partner institutions share their support services and their infrastructures for those interested in setting up a business. The portfolio ranges from laboratories and co-working spaces to educational offers and services to shared digital resources. Together, the alliance partners are able to reach around 20,000 students and thus potential founders. 'The agenda until 2024 is to expand start-up support structures and networks, professionalise them and make them accessible to young talents,' says Professor Klaus-Michael Debatin, Vice President for Outreach at Ulm University. The partners benefit from the many years of successful cooperation, particularly within the alliance InnoSÜD.
Creating optimal conditions for founders at the InnoSÜD universities
Since 2018, around 220 higher education institutions from all over Germany have participated in the EXIST funding programme. The project proposals to strengthen the academic start-up culture are evaluated by three expert panels. Professor Thomas Bayer, Vice President for Internationalisation and Transfer at Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU), was present at the official announcement of the selected projects in Berlin: 'I am delighted that we have been granted this funding for our joint project StartupSÜD, the purpose of which is to establish an entrepreneurial culture at the InnoSÜD partner universities and specifically to stimulate innovations and the formation of start-ups,' said Bayer.
Ulm University will contribute its expertise primarily in the areas of service and infrastructure, for example, in the form of support for local start-up advisors during the application process and the provision of a cloud infrastructure to facilitate project work.
The University has identified doctoral candidates in particular as a promising target group for start-up projects. Part of the project agenda of StartupSÜD is to implement new teaching formats in the Graduate and Professional Training Centre ProTrainU – from crash courses for founders to the three-month seminar CEO Basics. Ulm University also plans to expand existing offers for young talents in the projects InnoSÜD and AccelerateSÜD. This includes, for instance, a summer school particularly aimed at international students as preparation for the qualification pathway Founder's Garage. A start-up office with co-working spaces will serve as permanent contact point on campus.