Since the spring semester was still dominated by the pandemic, all university activities had to remain online. That affected not only our teaching but also our event and support activities. Nevertheless, we tried to stay as outreaching as possible. Thanks to the commitment of everybody, courses and events could be held successfully online. A big thank you goes out to all our students, who widely stayed positive and passionate. On our side we were using the time to deepen our ties with our external partners from the regional startup ecosystem and beyond.
One external event that we support from the very beginning has been converted to an online format: Q-Summit. We were absolutely thrilled by the many intriguing speeches, workshops and the entire atmosphere of Q-Summit 2021. Of course everybody who already had experienced Q-Summit in the past was missing the inspiring atmosphere on campus with countless personal talks and encounters. Nonetheless, the amazing team from Q-Summit managed to break down online barriers to make personal interaction as easy as possible. Also the speeches themselves were super fascinating with highlights like Iris Braun from Share, Katharina Jünger from Teleclinic or Alexander Weber from N26.
In the following we will provide you with more detailed information on our teaching activities, support programs and events.
In the last semester we were offering a total of five courses. This included our accelerator style classes MAN 453 Thinking beyond boxes and MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit. Participating students had the opportunity to bring their own advanced business ideas to class and evolve their startups during the semester with coaching and support from MCEI. Highlight was the big demo day with an external jury at the end of the semester where the startups were trying to convince the experts of their ideas. At the demo day we had ten startups pitching: 1VDELE, CarCollectors, Clean Food Kitchen, d&b finance, Foodito, Francivation, IsabelStoDesign, Promatur, SipTogther, and Verged by Melotris. The winner of the pitch battle in the bachelor’s was CarCollectors and in the master’s Verged. It was a very tight decision by the jury! Congratulations to all the participants for an amazing semester and for the hard work in advancing their businesses and bringing them to the next level.
MAN 456 - Navigating Dreams, Social Links, and Sustainability had a similar footprint in a different setting: This practical and virtual course familiarizes students with concepts of digital entrepreneurship, especially in crowd interaction, and fosters capabilities in digital entrepreneurship. Students were encouraged to develop an own start-up idea for a virtual, sustainable, or social product (B-to-C) with a purely digital customer interface, as well as to turn this idea via a crowd-campaign plan and a business plan into reality.
MAN 632 Advanced Entrepreneurship provided the opportunity to meet top entrepreneurs in class, who shared their experience and insights. Moreover, students explored entrepreneurial challenges in real-life case studies in this course. As speakers present in the course were, for example, Victoria Seibert (Mirabesque), Dr. Simone Burel (LUB), Christian Conrad (Magnetic Culture), Björn Goß (Stocard), Daniel Treiber (Getsafe), Dr. Fabian Kracht (PERI/Mesakumo), Dirk Meurer (Vorwerk Ventures), and Tobias Schuele (Foodspring). In MAN 636 International Entrepreneurship and Managing Change around 25 students were developing skills for new global businesses.
Thanks to all students for your hard work and engagement on the screens and to all course coordinators at MCEI for your support of the teams!
In our Inside the Venture format, that enables students to spend time working on a real-life startup project and contributing to its success, we had multiple projects. In the context of our accelerator course MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit, we realised projects with Bacchus Software, Linguistische Unternehmensberatung (LUB), Mentalport, Neptun Data Processing, Pacific Straws, Promatur, Styx Urban Investment and Symovo. Students were helping the startups involved in various ways: In detail the projects focussed on software and website optimization at Bacchus Software, customer care at LUB, marketing at Mentalport, product portfolio diversification at Pacific Straws, creation of business plan at Symovo and market analysis at Neptun Data Processing, Styx Urban Investment and Promatur. These projects were a great success and we are looking foward to many more successful projects in future courses.
Despite the circumstances, we were very happy to still be able to offer a bunch of inspirational events, even though they had to be all online.
In cooperation with the Mannheim based startup Stocard we hosted a speech about startup culture. Natalia Batres-Günther (HR & Recruiting Manager) and Lukas Stehr (Lead Data & Design) from Stocard were giving us intriguing insights on how it is to work for a startup and having an impact on its success without being a founder.
Another event was our legal workshop, in cooperation with the Mannheim law firm MELCHERS. MELCHERS is a full-service law firm providing assistance to national and international clients on all aspects relevant to their business. Part of this practice is advising startups in their special environment which makes them true experts on various practical issues. The workshop addressed especially the fields of corporate, employment and IP law.
This semester´s Founder Talk was delivered by Hubert Jakob from Statista. Statista is the leading data and business-intelligence platform and provides international market and consumer studies. It was founded in 2007 by Friedrich Schwandt and Hubert Jakob who is a Uni Mannheim alumnus.
Of course we continued also our regular Startup Lounges. The first Startup was co-hosted by MARS, the startup center of the Mannheim University of Applied Science, and Connou was our guest. Their smart solution helps students and others who would like to connect to new people who share their interests, a service even more important in pandemic times. Following was Media Manufacture Mannheim who are offering innovative Instagram marketing. Our next Startup Lounge was co-featured by KI-Garage with our guest istari.ai. The young Mannheim based startup applies AI and machine learning for partly automated marketing for businesses. All these events were super inspiring.
As per tradition, the last Startup Lounge of the year is our notorious Pitch Battle, featuring the best pitches of our accelerator courses MAN 453 Thinking beyond boxes and MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit. After a long semester of brainstorming, working, and perfecting their ideas, our students with an own venture project pitched in front of an expert jury.
Despite the unusual circumstances we would like to thank all our supporters, partners, and program participants for living the entrepreneurial spirit and making these formats happen! We are already looking forward to the next semester and hope we can return to events in presence soon!
More news about the MCEI
At MCEI we had a change in our team. Lina, who is responsible for our events section, is going to leave us at the end of this semester as she is seeking new adventures abroad. We would like to thank her for all the positive vibes she brought into our team and of course for her great work. For her Erasmus semester in Prague we wish Lina all the best!
New to our team is Robert who will be starting his PhD at the chair of SME research and entrepreneurship and thus be involved in both research and teaching. Robert is also passionate about startups. He founded his own venture Pacific Straws in 2018, a company that produces eco–friendly straws made from glass. Besides, he is one of the initiators of Q-Summit.
Nora, Bettina, Robert, and Thomas are taking part as coaches in the Startup School by University of Heidelberg over the summer. Under the motto “Innovation in the Age of AI” groups of students are working on several challenges over the course of a month and will present their startups in the final pitch. We’re looking forward to working with the teams!
Last but not least we intensified our cooperation within the Deep Tech Hub, an alliance of the Universities in Karlsruhe, Heidelberg and Mannheim to join forces in knowledge-intensive technologies and high technologies. In doing so, the DTH places a clear focus on business-to-business start-ups in the profile-raising topics of the participating universities and major global societal challenges of energy, mobility, digitalization as well as environment and health.
Enjoy your holidays, take care and see you all back soon!