Joint press release by the Universities of Bamberg and Bayreuth and the Universities of Applied Sciences Coburg and Hof
Upper Franconia start-up hub launched - Upper Franconian universities are start-up engines for the region
Promoting committed students with an interest in founding a company, qualifying them for entrepreneurship and innovation and thus enriching the regional start-up ecosystem - this is what the Upper Franconia start-up hub - GO! It will be launched in November 2023 at the Universities of Bamberg and Bayreuth and the Universities of Applied Sciences in Coburg and Hof. The Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts (StMWK) will initially fund the start-up hub for five years as part of the "Hightech Transfer Bayern" initiative with two permanent positions and around 500,000 euros - after which it will be made permanent.
Upper Franconian universities as nuclei for start-ups
In addition to the numerous medium-sized companies in the region, which play a central role in a thriving economy in Upper Franconia, a lively start-up scene has developed in recent years. The scientific landscape in Upper Franconia, with two universities and two universities of applied sciences, is an important resource for both established SMEs and young founders - whether for knowledge and technology transfer, as a training ground for the next generation of academic specialists or as a nucleus for start-ups.
"Together, the universities and colleges in Upper Franconia have been shaping the regional innovation ecosystem for more than 15 years, working in partnership on current challenges and helping to shape the future of Upper Franconia," says Prof Dr Kai Fischbach, President of the University of Bamberg. "With the Upper Franconia start-up hub - GO! - we want to take another step forward in the next five years."
"The merger to form the Upper Franconia Start-up Hub will further strengthen the partnership between the universities and colleges, which we have already been living for more than ten years through the Technology Alliance Upper Franconia (TAO)," adds Bayreuth University President Prof Dr Stefan Leible. "With our Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, we are happy to be the driving force behind this new network."
Prof Dr Stefan Gast, President of Coburg University of Applied Sciences, says: "We are delighted to be part of the Gründungshub-Oberfranken - GO - and to be involved in shaping the regional start-up ecosystem over the next five years. This will enable us to tap into new start-up potential and promote entrepreneurship and start-up culture. A great opportunity for the Coburg-Kronach-Lichtenfels innovation triangle!"
Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, President of Hof University of Applied Sciences, adds: "The GO should give further impetus to economic development throughout Upper Franconia."
Practice-oriented qualification and networking programme
Building on the existing start-up and innovation infrastructures at all four universities as well as the existing collaborations with each other and other partners in the region, a closely interlinked support programme adapted to the target group will be developed as part of the project. Together, the universities want to create a practice-orientated qualification and networking programme in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation for talented students and employees with an affinity for start-ups. The participants go through several phases, which serve to create a common basis, enable close cooperation and networking and ensure optimal start-up support even after the programme has been completed.
In preparatory modules, participants first acquire basic knowledge about entrepreneurship and innovation: How can innovations be effectively brought about in different contexts? How can trends be analysed and used as a basis for developing innovative products, services, business models and processes? And how can experiments be conducted efficiently in order to develop projects quickly and cost-effectively and test key assumptions of business models? The programme then offers participants the opportunity to get to know each other better and work together on specific innovation and start-up projects. There is also the opportunity to take courses in which participants can create a business plan or a trend report on a specific industry. The universities will also organise numerous networking events. The programme is subject to continuous evaluation. A soft launch is initially planned for the first year, after which the programme concept will be revised and fully rolled out from summer semester 2024.