"Our Business Idea Competition is intended to promote the start-up spirit on campus, to encourage students, staff and graduates to develop their own business ideas, and to coach them along the way," explain Martin Hellmann and Jana Theuerkauf from the University of Erfurt's Founders Service. And so, every year, innovative ideas for a new product, (research) process or service are sought - especially in the area of "social entrepreneurship". The competition followed a two-stage selection process: After the submission of the idea papers, an expert jury selected the best five business ideas or teams, who presented their ideas once again to the public via a jury presentation in a festive online event today. Afterwards, the jury awarded the best ones with cash prizes - 1000 euros in the category General Business Idea and 500 euros in the category Social Entrepreneurship. In addition, there was a supporting programme with keynote speeches by Stefan Werner (state director of "Der Paritätische Thüringen e.V.") and Stefan Kowalczyk (Greatmade) as well as music by Denny Waldner. Poetry slammer Andreas in der Au, better known as "AIDA", was also part of the party and summarised the pitches once again in a humorous way.
Prof. Dr. Beate Hampe, Vice-President of the University of Erfurt, said in her welcoming speech: "There is wonderful potential in linking the skills of German and international students. And that has already been proven in many a project here. As the Executive Board, we are very proud of the commitment of our students and look forward to many more ideas and projects."
And these are them, the winning projects:
"Feels like Erfurt" (category general business idea).
When Anika Luthardt and Luise Senneke think of Erfurt in particular and Thuringia in general, they see one thing above all: potential. That's why their business idea includes a brand that gives Erfurt and Thuringia the attention they deserve. The brand "Feels like..." is not only to be established as an important part of the media landscape in Thuringia, but also to increase the popularity and awareness of the state capital through a variety of products such as a city tour box called "Erfurt Unboxed". Transferred to other East German cities, "Feels like..." is to be created in the future as a supra-regional publishing house that will make it its business to promote tourism, the cultural and creative scene in the new federal states.
"Atorra - Beleaf in change" (category "Social Entrepreneurship")
In the Star Wars universe, the agricultural planet Atorra is characterised by increasing periods of drought, which in turn makes human life extremely difficult. In Thuringia, too, the heat stress is steadily increasing. A study by the Free State of Thuringia, "Heat and Drought in Thuringia", assumes that heat stress could increase by up to 33 percent between 2021 and 2050. Water shortages, droughts, greater susceptibility of cultivated crops to diseases and associated crop failures are the consequence. The start-up project "Atorra" by Muzi and Alexander Maxa wants to face these challenges and show conventional agriculture an ecological alternative with its indoor smart farming approach.
Congratulations to the winners!