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Written
25 October 2021
Topic
Entrepreneurship
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Established and medium-sized companies can only remain competitive if they drive their own innovation and research. For almost 20 years, UnternehmerTUM has been providing consulting services for this purpose, thus making an active contribution to the future viability of the German economy. From the very beginning, partner companies have been an important strategic pillar of UnternehmerTUM - and many are still an integral part of the ecosystem today. In a nutshell: Cooperations for the future.

Companies will find a complete Entrepreneurship Center here that covers the entire value chain of start-ups and spin-offs - much more than pure accelerators can provide. It is not for nothing that companies specifically seek proximity to the UnternehmerTUM ecosystem - SAP, for example, is currently building a research center at the same location. Start-ups like Isar Aerospace benefit from the strong network of industry, politics and education. Here, contacts have been established with important supplier and cooperation companies as well as with the Technical University of Munich.

The Entrepreneurship Center has a variety of contact points for companies of all sizes. Here we present some of our offerings.

Copyright: Bert Willer/ birdyphoto

Practical help with the digital transformation: FamilienUnternehmerTUM

As a brand new initiative, FamilienUnternehmerTUM was launched in October 2021. With this initiative, UnternehmerTUM aims to help sustainably strengthen Germany's small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and thus secure Germany as a location for innovation and business and prosperity for future generations. Medium-sized companies will find a direct point of contact for the exchange of knowledge and experience, access to the comprehensive ecosystem as well as to the latest technologies and, last but not least, support in all strategic matters.

"Family businesses will not only find start-ups with us, but also space to experiment. How can artificial intelligence be used, for example? In a joint project, they find answers. And in return, founders find partners, mentors and investors with staying power," says Susanne Klatten, entrepreneur and chair of the supervisory board of UnternehmerTUM.


Copyright: Bert Willer / birdyphoto

New business opportunities for the construction industry: BEFIVE

BEFIVE is shaping the future of building construction and operation - innovatively, digitally, and together with industry collaborations. As a central innovation and digitization platform, BEFIVE connects companies, start-ups, talented individuals, and other key stakeholders across the entire value chain to drive digital transformation even in traditional structures. Innovative solutions are implemented here based on the latest methods and technologies. "Real change can only be achieved when individual stakeholders chart a new path and work together to implement new technologies and solutions. In doing so, it is absolutely necessary to clearly demonstrate the benefits of sharing new technologies. Collaboration between different stakeholders, as practiced at BEFIVE, is therefore the right way to overcome these difficulties," says Alexander Kropp, head of the BIM department at the Max Bögl Group.

BEFIVE actively motivates managers to use their role for digital transformation and organizes, for example, the annual Future Day as an opportunity for exchange.

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Strong partner companies for start-ups: TechFounders

Our accelerator TechFounders is not just about bringing start-ups to market quickly and successfully. Right from the start, founders are brought together with established companies from the industry, which are often among the start-ups' first customers. One example is ProGlove: With its smart glove scanners, ProGlove has significantly simplified manual work processes in factories. After the founders laid the foundation for their idea and team in our Manage and More program, TechFounders continued to support and promote them and brought them together with the established company Festo for a cooperation. With Festo, the product was iteratively tested and brought to production readiness.

Another example is the partnership with ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD since 2019 - the goal is to work with start-ups to promote sustainable solutions to avoid packaging and plastic waste. ALDI SÜD and ALDI Nord are the first food retailers to work with TechFounders.


Copyright: Thomas Dashuber

Innovations for medium-sized businesses: UnternehmerTUM Business Creators

As the saying goes: medium-sized businesses (SME) are the backbone of the German economy. But without innovations, companies simply cannot remain competitive. This is where UnternehmerTUM Business Creators (UBC) come in, by developing innovations specifically for SMEs - from the initial idea to the spin-off. Successful projects such as with the HÖRMANN Group together with the Digital Business Lab, the development lab for digital business models at UnternehmerTUM, speak for themselves: Using predictive maintenance, the fully automated warehouse is to be better protected against operational failures in the long term. The first solutions have already been developed and implemented. Now they are working together on further topics for the future.

Thematically, the UBC team knows no bounds. In 2021, for example, a project was initiated with J. Wagner GmbH, a surface technology company: The goal was to build an initial ecosystem for the painting industry. However, since the industry is still little digitized and the incentives are not very large due to the currently full order books, the foundation must first be laid. The first step was to better understand the user groups and their motivations and to work out the value proposition.

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Helping companies make the leap into the AI age: appliedAI

Our appliedAI initiative offers a wide range of support and the tools for implementing artificial intelligence in companies. In addition, with its own Academy, there is a comprehensive course program where individuals can also get fit for AI. Because: "AI is not just for techies. Many roles are required to be successful with the introduction of AI systems," says Dr. Till Klein, Senior Manager at appliedAI Academy,

appliedAI is also part of the Zukunftszentrum Süd (KI), an institution that explicitly supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their employees in the digital transformation and the use of AI. At its core are consulting and qualification services for digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI) that are free of charge for companies. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs as part of the "Future Centers (AI)" program.

With the course "Foundations of AI", appliedAI also addresses this target group and offers a free introduction to the topic. Individuals and companies that have had little or no contact with AI can gain an overview of the possible applications and implications.

To support organizations on their transformative AI journey and in the effective planning and implementation of AI activities, appliedAI, with the support of BDI and Bitkom, has developed a comprehensive Maturity Assessment - a free, interactive tool with which companies can evaluate the status of their AI adoption and derive development potential. At the end, companies receive an assessment of their AI maturity level with a comprehensive evaluation of how AI can be advanced in their own organization.

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Change of perspective with innovative students: Manage and More

Manage and More offers students practical and individual support on their way to becoming leaders or starting their own start-ups - for example, with external projects in partner companies. The young talents often work with the companies beyond the project. Manage and More looks back on eleven projects, two mentorships and two final theses with E.ON since 2019, and 19 projects and one follow-up investment with BOSCH in the last eleven years.

The topics of corporate succession and leadership also benefit established companies: success stories are reflected back from alumni such as Frank Gabriel, who rose to the position of Head of Global Production Projects at the renowned packaging company Multivac - and did so in a very short time. Verena Schechner now runs NOAX Technologies, the company run by her parents, just three years after graduating.

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Test digital products in the company, develop solutions: The Digital Product School

If companies have already identified specific problems and needs in their digital processes and products, our Digital Product School provides direct and straightforward help here.

In the joint project "Future of eMobility," UnternehmerTUM, SAP, BMW, the start-up ChargeX, the Digital Product School and the Digital Hub Mobility demonstrated how fruitful collaboration can be. The project was exhibited at the Munich Urban Colab in a dedicated showroom. One of the results was a product in the context of e-mobility: the digital application AMIMA, an innovative approach to competitively promote sustainable commuting behavior, which was developed in the Digital Product School. Its goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of commuting by encouraging employees to use environmentally friendly modes of transport. The app can be operated intuitively and integrated into fleet and mobility processes.

With our new series "Making U Count", we use stories, interviews, and photo spreads to show the added value that UnternehmerTUM has created over the past 20 years, which experiences have been most formative, and how they have sharpened our vision.

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