Promoting committed students with an interest in start-ups, qualifying them for entrepreneurship and innovation and thus enriching the regional start-up ecosystem – this is what the start-up hub Upper Franconia – 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 start-up hub will initially be funded for five years by the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts (StMWK) 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 Upper Franconian universities and colleges 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. With the Upper Franconia start-up hub – GO! – we want to take another step forward in the next five years.”Prof. Dr. Kai Fischbach, President of the University of Bamberg
The merger to form the Upper Franconia Start-up Hub will further strengthen the partnership between universities and colleges, which we have been practicing for more than ten years through the Technology Alliance Upper Franconia (TAO). With our Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, we are happy to be the driving force behind this new network.”Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible, President of the University of Bayreuth
We are very pleased to be part of the Gründungshub-Oberfranken – GO – and to help shape 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. Stefan Gast, President of Coburg University of Applied Sciences
In a nutshell, the GO should give further impetus to economic development throughout Upper Franconia.”Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Lehmann, President Hof University of Applied Sciences
Practice-oriented qualification and networking program
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 program adapted to the target group will be developed as part of the project. Together, the universities want to create a practice-oriented qualification and networking offer 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 program 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 analyzed and used as a basis for developing innovative products, services, business models and processes? And how can experiments be carried out efficiently in order to develop projects quickly and cost-effectively and test key assumptions of business models? The program 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 organize numerous networking events. The program is subject to continuous evaluation. A soft launch is initially planned for the first year, after which the program concept will be revised and fully rolled out from summer semester 2024.