Startup Campus 0711 is coalescing

September 23, 2022

Despite difficult conditions at the start of the project due to the COVID pandemic, the EXIST-Potentials-funded joint project of the Hochschule der Medien and the University of Stuttgart is bearing fruit. The progress report completed halfway through the project shows an increase in start-up activity and the number of start-ups at both universities.

Involving two universities and five state-run colleges, the educational offering in Stuttgart is first-class. Increasingly, universities are coming into focus not only as an incubator for science-based innovation, but also for their potential to pave the way for students and scientists to launch start-ups. In addition to the established technology transfer offices, incubators and start-up accelerators have now been established at all universities and colleges. Entrepreneurship is offered throughout the curriculum.

The sheer diversity of the programs on offer and their communication have resulted in synergetic cooperation and have helped to ensure greater visibility. The goal of the ongoing EXIST-Potentials project is to strengthen these synergies. The project is jointly supported by the University of Stuttgart and the Stuttgart Media University (HdM) and funding has been granted for the period May 2020 to February 2024.

Entrepreneurship in teaching

Interim report on the first project phase

The current progress report summarizes the results of the first project phase. In the period from May 2020 to June 2022, the employees involved in the project at the two funded universities focused on improving their own start-up offerings and on establishing cooperation formats and collaboration processes at Campus Vaihingen. Technologie Transfer Initiative GmbH (TTI) [de], also located on Campus Vaihingen, was closely involved in the collaboration and with impressive results. By the halfway point, 37 applications for EXIST funding had been submitted and 24 approved during the project period. The application-to-approval ratio illustrates how well-developed the applications are and clearly demonstrates the quality of start-up support.

It is particularly noteworthy that no less than three research transfers have materialized at the University of Stuttgart during the project period: SEMANUX, which opens up the Internet for people with motor impairments; cyclize, whose business model involves the chemical recycling of plastics; and sat:io, which provides improved availability of satellite data. All three received positive decisions on their research transfer applications. Four further applications are currently being prepared.

More good news: In the first monitoring report on the EXIST start-up grant from the project organizers Jülich, the University of Stuttgart was placed 10th in terms of the amount of funding approved for the current term and even 4th for the year 2022.

"Start-up consulting already has a long tradition at the University of Stuttgart. The current stimulation of start-up activity at the two universities involved in the project at Campus Vaihingen impressively confirms that the existing potential can be activated even more productively when there is an overarching cooperation between the main players," says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Middendorf, Vice Rector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at the University of Stuttgart.

Entrepreneurship at the University of Stuttgart

Consulting and coaching are core elements

Core elements of the start-up activities on campus are the consulting and coaching of students and scientists interested in founding a company. Across universities, coaches now work together on a team and event-oriented basis. Those seeking advice receive support more quickly and in a more tailored manner.

Together, the project partners developed a 4-phase model. Those interested in founding a company are supported with optimized support services through every stage, from the initial idea, to founding a start-up and funding, all the way to scaling. Employees from the University of Applied Sciences (HfT) and the University of Hohenheim were already involved in this process.

Networking is elementary for entrepreneurs. Another key component of the project is the development and implementation of events with specific information and support offers. The project offers a range of formats, such as "Start-up meets Student" or "Co-working im Frei[Raum]" to participation in events such as Start-up BW Night or Start-up BW Summit, the organization of the Ideation Campus as part of the Stuttgart Science Days and the Finance Day for start-ups and investors in ARENA2036.

The merging of structures along the university partner landscape with the University of Hohenheim, TTI GmbH, HfT, HdM, and the University of Stuttgart not only allows productive collaboration through the establishment of interfaces and processes in day-to-day business. The result is a structure that focuses on the advantages for those interested in founding and start-ups, tailored to meet the needs of (potential) founders. The (potential) founders can be transferred to suitable support programs more effectively.

Challenges of the second project phase

In addition to the successes, Prof. Alexander Brem points out the challenges that still need to be solved: "Two <pain points> affect all startup ecosystems: The search for a co-founder and matching with investors. This is potentiated in deep tech-driven startups, which place special demands on co-founders, take longer to mature, and are usually rated as high-risk in investment. The task for the second project phase is emerging against this backdrop: To integrate the other universities in the Stuttgart region and the research institutions at Campus Vaihingen more deeply into the Startup Campus 0711 synergy network and to tackle these challenges together."

The Yearbook 2020 and Yearbook 2021 provide excellent insight into the first two years of the project. These are available to download [de] on the Startup Campus 0711 website.


 Science-based start-ups are the key to successful structural change. The start-up Campus 0711[de] receives funding as part of the funding program "EXIST Potentials" from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Cooperation partners in the project are the University of Stuttgart and the Hochschule der Medien. The goal is to promote science-based start-up activities on the Campus Stuttgart in order to significantly increase the number and quality of spin-offs on Campus Stuttgart in the long term. The campus-based Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) [de] is associated with this. By the end of the project, additional actors will be integrated into the campus to increase synergy.

Startup Campus 0711

To the top of the page