Jacobs University in Bremen not only brings together students from 111 different nations – it also teaches them how to set up their own business. And Bremen's start-up scene offers them the ideal conditions to make their dreams reality.
Julius Schneider is one of around 1,200 talented young individuals who have flocked from all over the world to attend Jacobs University. Originally from North Rhine-Westphalia, Schneider moved to Bremen last year to study business administration at the university in the north of the city. In his very first semester he took part in the 'Entrepreneurship and Innovation' symposium that was organised in collaboration with Bremeninvest. The seminar series aims to teach entrepreneurial thinking to young students through a practical approach.
In the space of three weeks, Schneider has developed the idea for an app named 'NaviPool' with fellow students Evelyn Yee Kyeong Kim from South Korea, Raghav Natarajan from India, Stephanie Wong from Canada and Tianhong Zhang from China. The app functions as a kind of digital thumb for the hitch-hikers of the future. Using their sat-nav, drivers can inform others of where they are headed. Anybody along the way who wishes to be picked up can then contact the vehicle using the smartphone app.
"Many cars on the road have one or two people in them at most. The app would allow people to get around in a simple and environmentally friendly manner," says Schneider. He and his team have not only come up with the idea, but created a business model for it as well. The app would generate revenue by means of a commission, while the driver would receive a small contribution towards fuel expenses – a similar model to that of the popular app Uber.
"It's an idea with huge potential," affirms Professor Sven Voelpel, who directs the course at Jacobs University. In collaboration with Bremeninvest, he invited potential investors and leading entrepreneurs to the final presentation, which was given by ten groups in total. This gave the students the opportunity to discuss their ideas with company directors.
"It was really helpful to get such qualified feedback," says Schneider, whose team claimed first place.
The jury was comprised of Bremeninvest representatives Kai Stührenberg, Deputy Head of Innovation, and Innovation Manager Erika Voigt, as well as entrepreneur Rolf Specht, Eduard Andrae of 'Trusted Blogs' and Jonas Fromme of 'Bremergy'.
The course also provided advanced training in launching a start-up. From theoretical foundations such as business planning, staffing, financial and legal matters, the students also gained an insight into the various institutions of Bremen's start-up scene. For instance, the Bremen Innovation and Technology Centre (BITZ), made workspace available for students to use, while representatives of Bremen's start-up network provide important tools for young entrepreneurs in the form of offers of help and advice, financial assistance and training opportunities.
Schneider would not be the first to do this. The sustainable clothing company ACSK Clothing for example, which now operates across three continents, is just one example of a successful start-up that grew out of Jacobs University.
This is no rare feat for an international institution of this kind. Only a quarter of the students are German – the rest all come from different countries. "The diverse range of cultures, skills and perspectives lead to all sorts of creative ideas. You can always find someone here who'll be interested in your idea," explains Schneider enthusiastically. It's a community without borders.
We're looking forward to seeing what kind of start-ups emerge from Bremen in future!
You can find more stories about Bremen's start-up scene on the Bremen portal startups-bremen.de (German)
For more information on creative industries and business start-ups, contact Kai Stührenberg, Tel.: +49 (0)421 361-32173, email@example.com
You are or want to become self-employed – but you do not know where to start? In this video, we show you how the Unternehmensservice Bremen helps you to deal with official approval procedures, forms and funding.
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
Is this what sales assistants of the future will look like? Bremen start-up company Blackout Technologies develops software based on artificial intelligence, unlike any other software in Europe. Before long, we’ll be greeted by their robot Pepper in shops, at trade fairs or even in care homes. We visited Bremen’s robot lab to find out more.
Stathis Stasinopoulos was unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work across Athens. So he developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. This has given Stasinopoulos an unexpected new direction in life.
The founders of Mac Panther Materials, two brothers from Bremen, produce an open-cell metal foam for use in a number of different applications. Its secret lies in the production process that is based on a brilliant and yet simple idea.
A lively start-up scene with close ties to industry has developed in Germany’s smallest federal state. Government offices, banks, entrepreneurs and development agencies all work together like one big family. It’s what makes starting a new business in these two cities so easy.
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
The right investor provides much more than just money. They are someone to talk to, someone who can open doors and build bridges. Important advice for technology start-ups in search of an investor.
Revolutionising house hunting in cities using virtual reality. Training people to live a sustainable lifestyle using an app. Introducing food-sharing ideas to tackle our throw-away society. Offering professional HR management methods to smaller trade ...