“Gründungsfabrik Rheingau” officially opened!

"Gründungsfabrik Rheingau" officially opened!

The “Gründungsfabrik Rheingau” was officially opened in a digital ceremony on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm. More than 100 participants watched the live stream of the event.


Geisenheim, June 5, 2020 – The “Gründungsfabrik Rheingau” – a joint project of Hochschule Geisenheim University (HGU) and EBS University of Business and Law, funded by the EXIST program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) – officially opened its doors on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.  More than 100 people followed the live stream of the digital opening ceremony.

After the welcome speech given by Co-Project Coordinator Rama Suleiman of Hochschule Geisenheim University, the stage was opened to project initiators and partners.

The Mayor of Geisenheim Christian Aßmann, the Chair of the Rheingauer Volksbank Andreas Zeiselmaier and both University Presidents Prof. Hans-Reiner Schultz (HGU) and Prof. Markus Ogorek (EBS) gave their impressions of the development of this joint project and congratulated all project members on their success.

Dr. Christoph Munck (EBS), the second Co-Project Coordinator, explained the self-defined tasks and goals of the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau: start-up coaching & advice, providing space for start-up entrepreneurs by offering co-working spaces and offices, organizing start-up programs and networking events as well as pitching sessions are the key priorities of the project. The primary focus is on ecological, sustainable and social innovations, but ideas and projects from other areas are also welcome.

Despite the digital format, the team of Gründungsfabrik Rheingau managed to turn the opening ceremony into a vibrant and entertaining event. A video tour of the premises conveyed the unique atmosphere of the extensively remodeled factory building. Two live pitches on stage given by start-up teams from both universities marked the highlight of the event. The team ebb&flow (HGU) demonstrated the sustainable and resource-saving use of stainless-steel barrels in wine bars, while the start-up team PlantYourAir (EBS) introduced an innovative system to improve workplace air quality. Questions from the audience were highly encouraged and spiced up the event.

After this successful opening, the first two programs of the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau are ready to start. Due to the pandemic, they will also be offered in a digital format.

On June 10, the so-called FRESHMEN program begins. The lecture series takes place every two weeks and is offered free of charge for all university members interested in setting up their own business. The first lecture takes place on Wednesday, June 10 at 6:00 pm. Prof. Andreas Heinecke (CEO & Founder Dialogue Social Enterprise GmbH as well as Honorary Professor at EBS) will speak on the topic “Social entrepreneurship in corona times. Does the crisis foster social inequality?”.

In addition, the FOUNDER program will be launched, which is even more creative and effective thanks to the “Social Innovation Idea Challenge”. Inspired by the competition recently launched by the BMWi, which awards the best ideas with 12,500 euros, the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau addresses potential start-up entrepreneurs who want to turn a sustainable and social business idea into practice, even if they don’t have an elaborate plan yet. The program extends over a period of about 2.5 weeks. The goal is to develop a sustainable, social idea in a predefined subject area, no matter if the teams want to follow up on their idea after the end of the program or not.  The teams work on different topics in small groups, analyze them and come up with ideas. At the end of the program, all ideas are pitch to a jury of entrepreneurs. Students of both universities can register free of charge until June 9, 2020 at event@gf-rheingau.de

The first EXIST Start-up Scholarship at Hochschule Geisenheim University

The first EXIST Start-up Scholarship at Hochschule Geisenheim University

Start-up from the field of science at Hochschule Geisenheim University: the first EXIST Start-up Scholarship starts on October 1, 2020 with the team ebb&flow.

Thanks to the scholarship, Deandra Anderson, Markella Samartzidou and Philipp Neveling can go full steam ahead with their business idea. The EXIST Start-up Scholarship from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is the most important funding instrument for start-up teams from universities. For one year, it provides funds to cover living expenses for up to three founding members and covers material costs of up to 30,000 euros. “We are very pleased that the cultivation of a start-up culture at Hochschule Geisenheim University is beginning to bear fruit and that the scholarship gives young start-up entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop their business idea to market maturity,” emphasizes Prof. Annette Reineke, Vice-President of Research at Hochschule Geisenheim University.

The ebb&flow team is developing a sustainable beverage culture around the theme of wine. But what does that mean? The concept involves a circular economy that is limited exclusively to regional, organic wines from small and medium-sized wineries in Germany. The most important aspect is the minimal waste concept. The basis is the keg – a multi-use stainless steel barrel (20 liters) that can be used as a wine and beverage container for up to 30 years. One keg can save 27 glass bottles (plus corks, capsules, labels and over 2.5 m2 of cardboard packaging). Ebb&flow wants to ensure that the wine’s quality does not suffer when it is served in a keg. To that end, the team is also scientifically investigating the quality of this serving method in cooperation with Hochschule Geisenheim University. “We firmly believe that we can also bring about a paradigm shift in the wine industry with regard to wine packaging. Thanks to our expertise earned during our studies at Hochschule Geisenheim University and with the support of the Department of Food Safety and the Department of Enology we want to prove that a sustainable circular economy for wine does not come at the expense of quality. True to our motto: tap into the future!”, explains Philipp Neveling, founding member of ebb&flow.

Since March 2020, Hochschule Geisenheim University has been operating a joint start-up center with the EBS University of Business and Law – the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau. The project is funded by the BMWi and aims to promote start-ups from university members. “Gründungsfabrik Rheingau actively supported us during the application process until the idea met the necessary requirements to be submitted to the funding authority,” says Deandra Anderson, founding member of ebb&flow, praising the joint initiative. Both universities have already received further applications from start-ups and are delighted about this great initial success.

For more information about ebb&flow please click here.

For more information about the EXIST Start-up Scholarship, please click here.

Launch of Gründungsfabrik Rheingau Sponsoring Association

Launch of Gründungsfabrik Rheingau Sponsoring Association

Regional support for the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau. With the launch of the sponsoring association, regional companies have the chance to actively support and shape the start-up ecosystem Rheingau.

Geisenheim, September 30, 2020 – Since March 1, 2020, Hochschule Geisenheim University and EBS University have been operating a joint start-up center to motivate and qualify students and employees of both Rheingau universities to venture into entrepreneurship. By launching the sponsoring association, the two partners of the initiative – Rheingauer Volksbank and the town of Geisenheim – are providing a sound basis for the future growth of the initiative. “The most important part is to get regional companies on board to provide further financial support for future projects in addition to federal funds,” explains Christian Aßmann, newly-elected chair of the association.

The idea of a start-up center was already presented to the public in 2018 by Andreas Zeiselmaier, Chairman of the Board of Rheingauer Volksbank, Christian Aßmann, Mayor of the Geisenheim and Prof. Hans Reiner Schultz, President of Hochschule Geisenheim University.

In 2019, Hochschule Geisenheim University and EBS University of Economics and Law successfully acquired federal funding from the EXIST Potentiale program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), and officially launched the Gründungsfabrik in March 2020. Funded with almost 1.3 million euros, the project has received the necessary start-up funding to cultivate a start-up culture at both universities. Thanks to the sponsoring association, regional companies now have the opportunity to strengthen the project, play an active role and lay the foundation for the project to become a well-established part of the regional start-up culture.

What does the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau offer? The Gründungsfabrik Rheingau offers all students and employees of both universities who are interested in founding a joint space to generate, develop and implement ideas. Whether it’s innovative start-ups, self-employment or business succession, founders and start-ups receive tailored support and advice. “You can use the fully equipped co-working spaces, participate in targeted programs around the topic of entrepreneurship or get individual advice on scholarships and competitions – according to the motto: Where your idea starts!” explains Rama Suleiman, Project Coordinator from Hochschule Geisenheim University. The Gründungsfabrik Rheingau is located in the Waas.schen Fabrik in Geisenheim, which offers a unique atmosphere and provides the perfect setting for founders to be creative. Regular events (partly organized online at the moment) offer founders the opportunity to get to know the Rhine-Main start-up ecosystem, to network and to make valuable contacts. Of course, the doors of the Gründungsfabrik are also open to regional start-up enthusiasts. “The vision is to coordinate the local ecosystem of business and science in a joint start-up center in order to promote entrepreneurial thinking and to qualify talents so that they have the confidence to venture into entrepreneurship,” says Christoph Munck, Project Coordinator from EBS.

Gründungsfabrik Rheingau – Contacts

Rama Suleiman

E-Mail: rama@gf-rheingau.de

Christoph Munck

E-Mail: christoph@gf-rheingau.de

Join our first Gründungsfabrik brunch!

Join our first Gründungsfabrik brunch!

As part of the Founders’ Week Germany 2020, the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau hosts its 1st brunch. Whether you are a single founder, a team of founders, a young start-up or just interested in setting up your own business – everyone is welcome.

As part of the Founders’ Week 2020, the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau hosts its 1st brunch for everyone interested in entrepreneurship. No matter if you are a founder (individual or team), a young start-up or simply interested in setting up a company – everyone is welcome.

As the region’s leading start-up center, the Gründungsfabrik Rheingau plays a major role in this year’s Founders’ Week, and kicks off its new series of events named “Gründungsfabrik-Brunch”.

Over brunch, founders have the chance to come together, get to know each other and exchange ideas and experience on the topic of Challenges and chances for start-ups during the corona crisis”.

The corona pandemic has created new challenges for start-ups, but has also opened up new opportunities for them. Four teams from Hochschule Geisenheim University and EBS University, who have faced numerous challenges during the crisis but have also seen many positive developments will share their experience.

Our “Gründungsfabrik Brunch” takes place on Thursday, November 19, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Our teams will talk about their experiences via Zoom in both English and German.


11:00-11:30 The Gründungsfabrik introduces its range of services and the team

11:30-11:45 Foundation team

11:45-12:00 Foundation team

12:00-12:15 Founding team

12:15-12:30 Founding team

12:30-13:00 Questions from the audience and networking

Would you like to join our brunch? Register now for free using the following Eventbrite-Link.

All founders, start-up teams and anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship are invited to join us and exchange experiences while getting to know other teams. We are looking forward to meeting you!

By registering for the event, you agree that recordings (e.g. photos/videos) of you will be made at the event. The Gründungsfabrik Rheingau may use these recordings for public relations purposes (e.g. homepage, Facebook page, newspaper articles, etc.) If you register guests for an event, you assure that they have also agreed to the use of the recordings. If you do not agree, please let us know.

About the Founders’ Week Germany: The Founders’ Week is an annual nationwide event that promotes entrepreneurial spirit and action. It is part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which takes place simultaneously in over 170 countries worldwide from November 16 to 22, 2020. It provides information on all aspects of entrepreneurship and offers founders and those interested in starting a business various opportunities for further training and exchange with experts through events, seminars, etc.

The German Founders’ Week takes place under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy together with a nationwide network of partners and sponsors.

Nine winners of the Rheingau Founders’ Award 2020

Nine winners of the Rheingau Founders’ Award 2020

The Rheingau Founders’ Award  2020 (“Rheingauer Gründungspreis) was conferred digitally on December 12, 2020 with about 140 participants watching the virtual ceremony

The huge potential of the award was demonstrated by the high number of people who applied for it. The aim of the Founders’ Award is “to provide a stage for the hidden champions and start-ups in the Rheingau region and for all members of the two universities who are interested in setting up their own company”, explains Andreas Zeiselmaier, Chairman of the Board of Rheingauer Volksbank and one of the main sponsors of the Rheingau Founders’ Award.

A total of nine applicants from three categories made it to the jury’s shortlist. After they had pitched their ideas, it was up to the audience to make the final decision and vote online for their favorite candidate. The ideas ranged from the real estate industry, to the care sector, environmentally friendly office equipment up to providing a unique wine experience in the vineyards of the Rheingau region. 

In the first category “Best Business Idea from Students”, the award went to the team “Plant Your Air”. The founders Luca Clausen, Jasper Nolles and Jaskirat Singh introduced an innovative system to improve workplace air quality that reduces sick days and helps employees increase their performance. Beatrix Magnan’s business idea of using pre-fabricated building modules to provide “housing for all” was equally exciting and came in second.  The third place went to Sarah Rukiya Fülling who wants to provide financial independence for women with “The Feminine Fortune”.

For the second category “Best start-up idea from Hochschule  Geisenheim University and EBS University”, the team of Brian Ruhe and Alexander and Martin Ditzel named “Triplegend” received the most votes. With their travel app, they combine adventure trips for young people with sustainability. The third place went to the “LuBu – Lunch Buddies” team consisting of Luisa and Tarik Elbouhayani, who run an app for virtual informal networking.

The first prize in the third category “Best start-up from the Rheingau region” went to Kai Climenti from Rüdesheim for his business idea “Walk Like a Local”. He wants to use an app for combining wine walks with interesting facts about the wines of the Rheingau region and its unique landscape. Andreas Herzog came in second with his business idea called “Winzerliebe”, which aims to offer a new distribution channel for winegrowers to attract new customers. The third place went to Julia Lange with “Rheingau 524,” who wants to offer a special overnight stay in wine barrels along the banks of the Rhine in Geisenheim.

This year, the prize money of 7,500 euros was sponsored by Rheingauer Volksbank, Bäckerei Dries, KISICO and Wachendorff Prozesstechnik. The winner of each category received 1,500 euros, the second place was awarded with 750 euros and the third place with 250 euros. In addition, Rheingauer Volksbank offered a special prize worth 1,000 euros for the project “Nähwerkstatt4freude”, which demonstrates great social commitment to include people with an immigration background.

For next year, the second edition of the Rheingau Founders’ Award is planned along with many more exciting events for founders.

Gründungsfabrik Rheingau celebrates its first birthday!

Gründungsfabrik Rheingau celebrates its first birthday!

85 start-up consultations and two start-up teams with EXIST scholarships

The “Gründungsfabrik Rheingau” was officially launched on March 1, 2020. The joint project of the two partners Hochschule Geisenheim University and EBS University of Economics and Law, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) through the EXIST program, aims at raising awareness, qualifying, motivating and bringing together members from both universities who are interested in founding a company.

We have chosen the historic building of the “Waas.schen Fabrik” (link to the website Waas.schen Fabrik) in Geisenheim as our home where we set up offices, co-working spaces and a workshop room in the first year. Corona didn’t make it easy for us, but we broke new ground for networking and transformed our programs and events into hybrid as well as digital formats.

In the first year, we carried out 85 start-up consultations and organized first events, such as the Innovation Challenge and the Founder Program “From Business Idea to Business Plan” with over 40 participants. As part of the Founders’ Week Germany in November, we also launched our “Gründungsfabrik Brunch” networking event, which take place every eight weeks. In addition, the first round of the Rheingau Founders’ Award (“Rheingauer Gründungspreis”) was announced and the award ceremony for the nine winners took place digitally in December. We are also particularly proud of two of our founding teams who have received funding from the EXIST scholarship in this first year.

Looking back on our first year, we are proud to say: we have gained a lot of valuable experience in various areas and have developed great ideas for the years to come.

We kick off our 2nd year with a range of great offers provided free of charge:

– On March 10, 2021, we launch our lecture series: All university members who are interested in setting up their own business are invited to join the event. The lectures take place every other week and discuss subject-related topics.  

– The next founders’ program entitled “From Business Idea to Business Plan” takes place on March 19, 2021: Founders from both universities are invited to apply and participate.

Gründungsfabrik Rheingau, where your idea starts!

The first EXIST Start-up Scholarship at EBS University

The first EXIST Start-up Scholarship at EBS University

Alumna Luisa Schmidt-Tophoff receives the EXIST Start-up Scholarship (Gründerstipendium) by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for her start-up in the care sector.

Starting in August 2021, Luisa Schmidt-Tophoff will have the opportunity to go full steam ahead with her business idea. Luisa brings care services to more private households, turning a market upside down that often lacks flexibility and innovation. The young founder is committed to strengthening the home care sector and focusses on older people and their needs.

Patients in need of care are defined as people whose independence or ability to work is impaired due to health-related conditions and therefore require assistance. Today, about 5% of the world’s population is in need of care, and one in five people in Germany is already aged 65 or older. “The increasing need for care and the aging population go hand in hand with the rising demand for professional care and outpatient services. So far, this rising trend has been met with bureaucratic, fragmented, unaffordable and opaque market conditions – we are far away from efficient solutions or even progress. To face one of the great challenges of our time, we need to come up with creative solutions,” explains founder Luisa Schmidt-Tophoff.

With her concept, she wants to use technology to help bridge the care gap and actively drive the digitization of the German care system in areas that have not been in the center of attention yet. In doing so, the founder is shaking up the dusty care industry with new, future-oriented and user-friendly methods, paving the way for a fresh, uncomplicated and self-confident approach to care.

EXIST funding will be used to expand the platform’s functionalities and user-friendliness, as well as to strengthen the cooperation network in order to respond even better to customer needs and to implement a unique care experience. The Gründungsfabrik Rheingau supports and advises Luisa Schmidt-Tophoff and provides contacts from the network to help her take the idea to the next level.