Successful startups – etventure shows students how to do it

13. June 2017

In the morning, on the way to uni, quickly check Facebook and other social media. That’s part of everyday life for the majority of students. As is well known, the Facebook success story also began right there – at university. Nowadays, the social media giant has around one billion users worldwide and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is one of the richest people on the planet. He dared to turn his idea into reality. Was it pure luck? No, because with the right expertise anyone can establish a startup.

From digital expertise to being an entrepreneur

This is precisely the area etventure deals with and they are talking to students at a range of universities about digital and entrepreneurial expertise. Matthias Potthast and Raffael Schmidt – two project managers at etventure – represented the company last winter semester as guest lecturers with courses at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich and Augsburg University of Applied Sciences. This summer semester, the two returned to Augsburg University and, together with etventure partner Joern Soyke, shared their knowledge at the WHU business school in Vallendar for the first time. The aim of the course is to give students an insight into the processes involved in establishing a startup and an understanding of new innovation methods like design thinking and lean startup. But, first and foremost, the knowledge needs to be communicated using tangible practical examples.

Germany (still) lacks the courage to establish new companies

Many companies still lack skilled employees in the digital field. This is due to the lack of specific training and continuing education in companies, as well as a lack of entrepreneurial thinking. However, the root of the problem can be traced back to the lecture halls of German universities. The majority of courses and lectures are extremely theory-heavy – a mistake that can subsequently be seen in a lack of practical know-how. And although the interest in setting up companies is now growing among young people, in Germany it is still the exception. In the seminar “User-centric product validation”, which etventure runs at the LMU, students learn a completely new approach – that of testing ideas directly with the customer or user. “We have already come up with specific product ideas very quickly and have simply and generally been taught better,” said one of the students. Here is a short review (in German):

Mission completed – positive feedback from all sides

The students and lecturers liked the course so much that further collaboration with the LMU in Munich is planned. The two project leaders, Matthias Potthast and Raffael Schmidt, will make a guest presentation in the master’s course “Digital Products and Services”. The bachelor’s course “Evaluating business models” at Augsburg University is also taking place there for a second time following very positive feedback. At the WHU, theory and practice come together in the MBA course and participants can apply the majority of the seminar content directly in their jobs. One of the students had already started to set up a company and thus could directly use the ideas and methods from the course.

The conclusion is – just get on with it. The fear of setting up a company is definitely unfounded.

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