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 firstname.lastname@example.org