Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) was awarded the title “EXIST Entrepreneur University” by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and continues to build on its strong position as the university with the most start-ups in Berlin-Brandenburg. It provides practical support to those interested in starting their own business. TU Berlin achieves top ratings for its start-up support among the major universities in Germany. The central point of contact for anyone interested in entrepreneurship is the Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE). The CfE combines TU Berlin’s entrepreneurship expertise and competences from research, teaching, and start-up support. Its strategic location at the interface of industry, university, and start-ups makes it an important pillar of knowledge and technology transfer. In addition to research and teaching, the CfE has a team of 20 staff who support TU Berlin researchers, students, and staff to take ideas, innovations, and technologies and develop them into disruptive business solutions for the future with social and ecological added value. The CfE not only provides infrastructure but also a StarTUp School, which offers an extensive qualification program and need-oriented advising. This incubation model is unique in Germany.
The heart of this support is the “StarTUp Incubator”, a systematic milestone-based start-up incubation process which supports up to 30 start-up teams annually. TU Berlin researchers, alumni, and students with innovative and technology-oriented business ideas can apply to the incubator. Over a period of 6 to 18 months these high-tech start-ups receive regular support and entrepreneurial training. The offers cover the entire range of skills needed to found a company and develop ideas and products until they are market-ready. Topics such as organization and project management, financing, marketing, as well as legal affairs are addressed to equip entrepreneurs early on with the tools needed for successful autonomy. The CfE advises on the selection of and application to suitable funding programs such as the Berliner Startup Stipendium, EXIST Gründerstipendium, and EXIST Transfer of Research; the creation of a financing plan; and preparation for investor meetings. It also provides contact to venture capitalists and business angels who share know-how and further contacts with the founders. Every start-up is assigned professors as points of contact who are able to offer their expertise and support as mentors. Additionally, they can take advantage of advising hours hosted by external experts such as investors, lawyers, industry partners, and business mentors. The CfE also assists with recruiting suitable specialist personnel.
A number of rooms are available on Campus Charlottenburg for participants to turn their ideas into reality: the new “EINS” co-working space (Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Network, Sustainability) at Ernst-Reuter-Platz 1, and in the Alte Mineralogie building on Ackerstraße. There are also a number of “start-up islands” - spaces provided by academic chairs across TU Berlin’s different campuses for entrepreneurs requiring access to special machines and labs. In addition, the CfE offers the use of special offices and lab spaces to start-up teams according to their needs. The StarTUp School offers not only students and members of TU Berlin but also those from other Berlin universities access to workshops, seminars, and lectures on entrepreneurship.
TU Berlin start-ups and start-up alumni also have access to a virtual incubator, a digital platform for exchange, where relevant knowledge is provided and information about events, calls, and competitions is shared. Individual start-up teams are also able to use the platform to network and share with each other. A variety of community events present an opportunity for start-up teams and alumni to meet and discuss in person.
To assist TU Berlin start-ups with attending and showcasing themselves at important trade fairs, the Centre for Entrepreneurship collaborates with TUBS GmbH Science Marketing, offering the start-ups the opportunity to participate in the University’s stand at the most important trade fairs, such as the Hannover Messe or IFA.
In addition, the University’s Gründerzentrum hosts an annual alumni networking event and collaborates with the Berliner Volksbark to offer the StarTUp Award, an additional prize for TU founders in the Berlin-Brandenburg business plan competition. Other events include the monthly “StarTUp Monday” where new start-up teams introduce themselves and the annual “StarTUp Day”, an information day on entrepreneurship.
The high quality and variety of support offers available at the University and its focus on high-tech spin-offs contribute to TU start-ups’ relatively high survival rate. The University values providing targeted support for the long-term effective development of sustainable business models.
You can find further information on the Centre for Entrepreneurship website.
The Centre for Entrepreneurship (CfE) is the focal point of TU Berlin’s start-up activities. The Gründungsservice and Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management are part of the CfE. The CfE conducts teaching and research in the area of entrepreneurship and pursues the goal of creating the right practical conditions for entrepreneurial activity, taking account of economic, social and environmental issues in the process. In addition to research and teaching, the CfE offers researchers, students, and staff of TU Berlin practical start-up support to take ideas, innovations, and technologies and develop them into disruptive business models and introduce these into society. At the Centre for Entrepreneurship, start-up projects arising directly from University science and research receive support for 6 to 18 months in the form of a structured start-up incubator unique in Germany.
The Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at TU Berlin conducts top-level international research and teaching on the factors affecting the success of starting a company, the framework conditions which affect start-ups, as well as how founders can consider aspects of sustainability. Here, innovation and technology management are investigated from different perspectives.