In the newly-released Start-Up Radar 2020 (“Gründungsradar”) ranking created by the Stifterverband (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities), the University of Stuttgart jumped 14 places on the previous ranking released in 2018, and is now ranked 12th out of 42 major universities in Germany. The University ranked especially highly in the categories of Start-Up Support and Start-Up Activities (8th out of a total of 45 universities included).
Prof. Peter Middendorf, Vice Rector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at the University of Stuttgart, spoke about the success: “Knowledge-based start-ups play a key strategic role as a transfer path for the University of Stuttgart. So it makes us very happy that the focus on entrepreneurship and startups in our transfer strategy is starting to bear fruit. It’s not only in the Start-Up Radar ranking where we’ve shown a lot of improvement, but we also came near the top when the EXIST grants were awarded in 2019.”
The key factor behind the University of Stuttgart’s success is the range of support programs, which have been expanded considerably over the last few years, through which the University makes students aware of what is involved in starting up one’s own business and funds start-up projects. As part of these efforts, the Chair of Entrepreneurship in Technology and Digitalization was established in January 2020, funded by the Daimler fund in the Stiftungverband, which the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Science (ENI) is affiliated to. The director of the institute, Prof. Alexander Brem, along with his team have set themselves the goal of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, and combining research, teaching and practice with a cross-faculty approach. “The excellent performance in the Start-Up Radar is a great success for the University of Stuttgart, which is mostly down to the work which was done before I started here. Special thanks here has to go to the Vector Foundation, but in particular to the many other people and organizations, both within the University as well as outside it, who have shown a lot of passion in promoting the idea of start-ups”, Brem emphasizes.
The Let US start! project, which is also carried out jointly with the Vector Foundation, is also integrated into the ENI. The aim of the project is to make students enthusiastic about startups and entrepreneurship at an early stage, and to make starting up your own company feel like an attractive career path. Since the project began three years ago, around 1,000 students have already been provided with support. Another milestone is the EXIST project “startup campus 0711” established in 2020, in which the University of Stuttgart is working with the Stuttgart Media University to supplement the existing offerings related to entrepreneurship and integrate them into one of the most innovative regions in Germany. For several years, the Technologie-Transfer-Initiative (TTI GmbH) has functioned as a central contact point at the University of Stuttgart to offer support with all startup-related questions, for example about how to create a business plan, how to access funding opportunities from the state and federal government, how to use University resources as well as how to set up a transfer and start-up company.
Making an impact beyond the University
Outside of the University, the University of Stuttgart has played a leading role in developing the “Gründermotor” (Entrepreneur Engine) initiative in collaboration with the Vector Foundation and Pioniergeist GmbH, which has now been granted additional funding by the state of Baden-Württemberg as part of the “Re-Start BW / Gründermotor” excellence program. This program is intended to stabilize and strengthen Baden-Württemberg’s position during and after the corona pandemic and to ensure that the state remains competitive in the future.
Another award from the Falling Walls Foundation
The success in the Start-Up Radar is not the only recognition that the University of Stuttgart has received for its start-up culture. Just a few days ago, the University was awarded the “Young Entrepreneurs in Science Campus” certificate. The certificate, which was developed by the Falling Walls Foundation, honors partner institutions which participate in the initiative to promote entrepreneurship in science and research.
About the Start-Up Radar
The Start-Up Radar, which was created by the Stifterverband, examines and compares the efforts made by different universities to support a start-up culture. It takes various dimensions into account: start-up awareness, qualification and support programs as well as institutional integration. It also takes start-up activities into consideration, meaning the results produced by start-up support programs, networking, and also monitoring and evaluation activities.