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#kickstart2023 – With a financial boost towards start-up

With KICKSTART, Hof University of Applied Sciences has launched a funding program that starts at a very early stage of a potential start-up – more precisely: with the ideas or prototype development. The KICKSTART teams have six months to develop their idea into an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or prototype. We now introduce the teams…

We introduce: HofCup – the sustainable drinking cup

In the picture (from left): Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Meins (injection molding technology department) and laboratory engineers Nathalie Koch and Martin Thoß; Photo: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The mission

By means of specially designed molds, a sustainable drinking cup for hot and cold beverages is to be created that can be used for all common beverage vending machines.

How did you come up with this idea?

“For several years now, disposable cups or non-sustainable reusable plastic cups have been handed out at the university, which are contrary to the idea of sustainability and the concept of Greentec University. Therefore, our interest is to develop and design our own reusable cup with associated injection molding tool, which is made of sustainable materials (bioplastics) and can be used universally at all campuses in the region. This will also enable the introduction of take-back systems. The whole thing is therefore also to be implemented as a cooperative project with beverage vending machine operators.”

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

“We want to make a contribution with the project in the sense of our university’s own sustainability concept. Through a targeted choice of materials and a universally applicable cup, we can act in an ecological way. In addition, we can create linkages with partners from the business community and thus bring this concept to success together.”

The prototype of the “HofCup”; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

The Kickstart program is intended to promote the further development of ideas that are at a very early stage. Up to 7,500 euros in financial support is available to you for this purpose. How do you use the funding specifically?

“In a first step, a large part of the investment goes into the production of the injection molding tool and initial trials with the tool. In addition, of course, the appropriate material with various additives is needed to give the cup the desired properties and at the same time ensure sustainability.”

At the end of the six months, do you already know what you want to do next? What are your long-term goals? Are you aiming for a foundation?

“In the long term, the drinking cup should find its way into a cooperation with beverage vending machine operators at various campuses and the development or use of corresponding bioplastics should be further advanced.”

What are your findings from the project so far? What would you like to give other people interested in starting up a business?

“In general, it is easier to start up in a team and anyone with a good idea will be listened to here. However, time is an important factor to be able to successfully drive and implement a project.”

Thank you!

In the next episode of #kickstart2023, learn how a textile design student wants to revolutionize the market for planters.

More information about the Startup-Lab …

Camilla Lenz

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