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#kickstart2024 – Introducing: SOK-Tech – the dishwasher that empties itself!

With KICKSTART, Hof University of Applied Sciences has launched a funding program that starts at a very early stage of a potential start-up – with the development of ideas and prototypes. The KICKSTART teams have six months to develop their idea into an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or prototype. In what is now our seventh episode, we are introducing the “SOK Tech” team today.

The SOK Tech team (from left): Patrick Drechsel (21, Business Administration), Yannick Brendel (22, Mechanical Engineering), Lorenz Hillemeier (26, Industrial Engineering) and Niklas Moser (20, Electrical Engineering); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The mission

The aim of the project is to develop a modern dishwasher that can empty itself without outside help. The dishes are to be sorted into their respective compartments by a system of conveyor belts and grippers.

How did you come up with this idea?

“The idea came to me when I was clearing out our dishwasher at home. I asked myself why there was no further development for this annoying and time-consuming task of all things and then started to develop my own solution.”

Studying or working alone is already very time-consuming and exhausting. Nevertheless, you are still working on developing your own start-up idea at the same time. Where do you get your motivation from?

“The main motivation lies in the opportunity to successfully implement our own idea and establish it on the market. We are all interested in self-employment and are convinced that we can revolutionize the kitchen market with our passion for the project. It’s also fun to see the progress of the project and to be able to put into practice what you’ve been planning for a long time. And when it works, it’s just a great feeling.”

The Kickstart program is designed to promote the further development of ideas that are at a very early stage. You can receive up to 7,500 euros in financial support for this. How do you use the funding specifically?

“Our aim is to produce a prototype during the funding period that represents the basic mechanisms of the end product. The 7,500 euros made available for this will be used specifically for various categories, such as mechanical and electrical components.”

At the end of the six months, do you already know what the future holds for you? What are your long-term goals? Are you aiming to set up a company?

“Initially, the full focus is on the six months. Of course, the group is already discussing alternatives for further development after KICKSTART, including other funding programs. If opportunities arise here, we will aim to set up a company in the future. But for all of us, studying comes first and of course there is also a certain fear that the idea will fizzle out at some point.”

What have you learned from the project so far? What would you like to pass on to other people interested in starting a business?

“Of course, a project like this is time-consuming and not everything works according to plan – you should be aware of that. Nevertheless, people interested in founding a company who have a certain passion for founding and an idea should not shy away from implementing a project. Every step forward and every further development will counteract the negative aspects of founding a company and provide a motivation boost for all project participants.”

Give it a try, take a chance and apply for KICKSTART. It’s a great opportunity, a great time and can be the starting signal for something big!

Further information on the KICKSTART project can be found on the university website under “Research & Transfer, Start-up”.

Camilla Lenz

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