The Furtwangen University Innovation and Entrepreneur Centre (IGZ) is only one semester old but it can already boast several successes. The IGZ was founded to help HFU students achieve their goal of becoming self-employed.
Gunnar von der Grün, the Operations Manager of IGZ says, "Since we started in June 2013, we have counselled over 28 potential entrepreneurs, both men and women in 16 different projects. In the meantime 7 projects have actually become start up companies." One such company was founded by a student who produces high quality HiFi loudspeakers encased in antique Black Forest wood. Other start-ups are a video production company specializing in making advertising films and an agency for online media which is currently becoming well-established on the market.
There is a lot of work involved to get to the point where a student can register a new business that is likely to be successful on the market. It's not just about having a product idea and getting financing.There are many other aspects involved, such as the choice of business organisation, analysis of the competition and the building of a prototype. Whatever the question, the IGZ is there to help, with a wide network of partners to back it up.
"The university professors can also make the step towards setting up a new business much easier for students in that they act as mentors with their technical and business know-how and their contacts in industry," says Professor Dr. Bernahrd Plum Technical Manager of IGZ.
The next start-ups won't be long in coming. A team of HFU students is currently developing an electric mobility aid which will facilitate independent living and there is a constant exchange of ideas with local companies working in various business areas, several of which have already awarded contracts to IGZ entrepreneurial teams.