At the second Founder Talk at the TU Ilmenau, established companies and prospective founders presented themselves to interested parties and stakeholders from the region. 80 guests gained exciting insights into the work of the Ilmkubator on the grounds of the Fischerhütte.
Ilmenau start-up scene presents itself at Ilmkubator start-up talk
After last year's hybrid start-up talk, the Ilmenau start-up scene met for the first time in presence on July 7 at the networking event "Gründertalk" of the Ilmkubator start-up service of the TU Ilmenau. More than 80 guests from politics, business and the Thuringian start-up scene as well as interested students and employees of the university met in the afternoon on the premises of the Fischerhütte in Langewiesener Straße for networking and got an insight into the work of the Ilmkubator. Prospective founders presented their projects in a pitch, and established entrepreneurs shared their startup stories in a founder talk. In addition, the new start-up area of the TU Ilmenau in the Finnhütten was opened and an exhibition wall of university spin-offs was inaugurated. The day ended with a screening of the US-American movie "The Founder" by the university film club.
New rooms for prospective founders of the university
As part of the Ilmkubator's work, the finn lodges on the Fischerhütten grounds have been extensively remodeled to form the university's new startup space. The space is designed to give Ilmkubator Class teams and other startup enthusiasts the opportunity to work together in coworking areas, advance their business ideas and get creative, according to project manager Dr. Dörte Gerhardt. Consulting rooms for the Ilmkubator's startup coaches will also find their place here. Thanks to an openly designed entrance and communication area, workshops and events can also be held in the new start-up area in the future, which is intended to grow into a meeting place for entrepreneurial thinkers and doers on campus, says Dr. Dörte Gerhardt:
It's good to finally have a place for creative work, tinkering and inventing. We see ourselves in the tradition of the glassworks on this site - this is where innovative ideas are born, developed further and transformed into successful companies. We are looking forward to really getting started now and filling the site with life.
Two students used the future stage area in the evening to pitch their current start-up projects and received interested questions and feedback on their ideas. They, too, like the new spaces and opportunities for exchange.
Experience successful university spin-offs at the Start-up Wall
A highlight of the new start-up area is the Start-up Wall, an exhibition wall for spin-offs of the university. Companies are represented in display cases and their founding history is brought to life: In addition to a profile of the spin-off, prototypes and miniatures are included, and QR codes provide further information about the company. This ranges from start-up stories on the Ilmkubator website to video interviews with the founders and pitches from the companies.
The Start-up Wall was funded through the Regional Management Thuringian Arc and will grow to include more company portraits over the course of the year. It is designed in such a way that the showcases can also be used regardless of location and displayed, for example, the town hall or the district administration office. Dr. Thomas Scheller, head of the Economy and Infrastructure department of the Ilm-Kreis, praised the newly designed premises and the start-up wall that had been created. He also promised the founders the support of the regional management through active networking.
Start-up stories up close: Entrepreneurs report at the Founders' Talk
The network of the local start-up scene was also a topic at the Founders' Talk itself: The three entrepreneurs Sara Werner from the digital workshop SNIPIN / DIE Digitalmacherei, Falko Rotter from the IT logistics company EXOR PRO and Dr. Boris Goj from the microsystems technology company 5microns shared their startup stories and passed on valuable tips and experiences to the upcoming generation of founders.
For Boris Goj and his colleagues at 5microns GmbH, the TU Ilmenau and the Center for Micro- and Nanotechnologies located there are a particular advantage of Ilmenau: The TU Ilmenau is one of the world's internationally renowned research institutions in this field, reports Dr. Boris Goj:
5microns can thus offer its customers cleanroom technologies tailored to their specific needs. Together with staff from the respective departments, we have also supervised numerous student projects and established or characterized new processes.
Falko Rotter (EXOR PRO) also confirms that the TU also supplies very well-trained specialists who are already involved in the company's topics during their studies.
The economic promoter of the city of Ilmenau, Tino Wagner, can only emphasize the many advantages of the location:
The region thrives on short distances, an active network and the technological know-how at the location. It is essential that the start-up mentality is also actively promoted here in Ilmenau.
Using networks and support services
To this end, Sara Werner, Dr. Boris Goj and Falko Rotter agreed that there are numerous offers of support in the region for continuing education and building a healthy company. Facilities such as the Ilmkubator start-up service, but also offers from the business development agency, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Thuringian Center for Start-ups and Entrepreneurship(ThEx) should be used by prospective founders, thinks Sara Werner. In addition to technical qualifications and professional feedback, she says that networking with other female founders and mentors was particularly valuable for their own development, and that the offers were of high quality and mostly free of charge.
Susanne Herold, deputy director of ThEx, also sees a lot of potential in the start-up services offered by universities. Thuringia needs young people who have courage, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. In the Ilmkubator, they can network and learn from each other - important prerequisites for success. She was pleased that Josephine Zorn, start-up advisor at the neudeli start-up workshop at Bauhaus University Weimar, was also invited to speak and make the Thuringian university start-up network visible.
Project manager Dr. Dörte Gerhardt is pleased about the positive feedback and hopes that more students and employees of the university will find their way to the Ilmkubator. Currently, the TU Ilmenau records six to ten spin-offs per year, but the potential is much higher, she says.
The scientists conduct research at the highest level, which is internationally recognized. We would therefore like to further promote spin-offs from the scientific field and sensitize employees as well as students to the topic of entrepreneurship with our offers and events such as today's Gründertalk.
The Ilmkubator is the start-up service of the TU Ilmenau and supports members of the university in the pre-founding phase. In addition to classic start-up advice, the services offered include coaching, qualification and teaching opportunities, networking events, contact mediation, and access to and advice on funding opportunities. The Ilmkubator is funded in the line "EXIST-Potentials" by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection as well as EXIST.