Innovation and Entrepreneurship represent a strategic focus area of the EuroTech Universities Alliance and providing start-up support is a strong asset of the universities. The new “Start-up Radar” confirmed that at the Technical University of Munich students and researchers receive optimum support when founding their own companies.
The “Start-up Radar” is a report of Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, a business community’s innovation agency for the German science system. The study, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and published on 20 February 2017 ranked TUM, together with the University of Applied Sciences Munich as the best among the largest universities in Germany. Alone in 2015, more than 70 start-ups were spun off from TUM, and more than 800 companies with a current total headcount of more than 14,000 have been founded this way since 1990. TUM succeeds thanks to encouraging its scientists to turn their research results into marketable products: start-up ambassadors are active in every department, and good business ideas are recognized with the TUM IdeAward. Likewise, engineering and natural sciences students are familiarized with the possibilities of starting their own company after finishing their studies in many seminars and lectures.
TUM is not the only partner of the EuroTech Universities Alliance leading in providing support to start-ups. Start-ups linked to EPFL raised almost CHF 400 million in 2016, which was over 50% more than two years earlier. Spin-offs – companies founded as a result of technology developed in an EPFL lab or created by a campus researcher – saw the largest increase in funding.
Not only TUM and EPFL work internally on the start-up support. All EuroTech Universities closely collaborate on translating technological findings into business opportunities. In this context, on 15-16 February the EuroTech Brussels Office hosted a small group of innovation experts from the member universities. The meeting focused on the recently launched European Commission’s Start-up and Scale-up initiative. The European Commission’s aim to create links between the local and regional ecosystems supporting the growth of start-ups and prospective involvement of the EuroTech Universities in supporting this agenda were in the spotlight. The experts also debated obstacles preventing scaling up of start-ups in Europe and how to keep new tech-based companies from leaving to the USA. This matter will be a key issue of the next edition of the Alliance’s magazine The Technologist, which paper edition will be published in the end of this month. The article will be available online as of 18th of April 2017.