Press Release 005/2013

KIT Succeeds in the “EXIST Culture of Entrepreneurship” Competition

Federal Ministry of Economics Funds Concept for the Support of Startups with about EUR 3 Million
Bundeswirtschaftsministerium fördert Konzept zur Gründungsunterstützung mit knapp drei Millionen Euro
From left to right: Jens Fahrenberg and Professor Orestis Terzidis from KIT are handed over the EXIST winner certificate by the Federal Minister of Economics Philipp Rösler. (Photo: Thilo Schoch, EXIST)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is one winner in the final round of the “EXIST Culture of Entrepreneurship” competition launched by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). For its concept to enhance the culture of entrepreneurship at the university, KIT will be granted nearly EUR 3 million in the next three years. In total, 27 German universities applied for funding.


“This win is a big success for KIT. It confirms our strategy to en-hance the support of startups and the culture of entrepreneurship at KIT,” says KIT President Professor Eberhard Umbach, who presented KIT’s proposal in Berlin. “KIT is not only responsible for research and education, but also for knowledge transfer to the market. This objective can be reached with sustainably successful startups.”


The KIT proposal was set up by a team of scientists, students, innovation managers, and regional entrepreneurs and investors. The main element of the proposal is the consistent extension of existing KIT offers and systematic pooling of all activities in a holistic, KIT-wide culture of entrepreneurship. More than 100 ideas were gath-ered, on the basis of which a national “center of startups” and more innovative companies than ever are to be established at KIT in the next years. “With these activities, we want to further strengthen the enormous potentials of KIT on the market,” emphasizes Professor Orestis Terzidis from the KIT Institute for Entrepreneurship, Tech-nology Management, and Innovation.


From April, new measures for the support of startups will be introduced under the direction of Professor Orestis Terzidis and the head of the KIT Innovation Management Service Unit, Dr. Jens Fahrenberg, with existing facilities being used as a basis. Among others, a KIT funding platform for new business projects is to be established: In leverage crowd funding, many smaller investors will be convinced of a business idea and then fund the startup as silent partners. New teaching formats, such as business plan workshops, entrepreneurship lectures, or patent laboratories are to familiarize the students with topics related to entrepreneurship at a very early point in their education. The Center for Entrepreneurship (CfE) is to be extended to a startup center and detailed counseling by KIT startup coaches is to be enhanced. CfE and the KIT startup coaches will bring scientists, students, doctoral students, professors, and alumni of KIT together in order to support startups in an unconventional and unbureaucratic manner. The services offered will extend from counseling to concept development to the supply of infrastructure and funding. KIT startup coaches will advise young entrepreneurs, identify commercially exploitable ideas and technologies at KIT, and support their further development and transfer to a business model.


More information on entrepreneurship at KIT:


More information on the competition “EXIST - Gründungskultur” 


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

as-le, 09.01.2013

Monika Landgraf
Chief Communication Officer
Head of Corporate Communications
Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
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The press release is available as a PDF file.