The student district in the Olympic Village.
photo: Joachim Riegel / Unsplash

An Overview of Entrepreneurial Activities at Munich Universities

Munich universities are working intensively on the topic of entrepreneurship. The following is an overview of how they’re passing an entrepreneurial mindset on to their students and how they look to promote startups.

Technical University of Munich (TUM)

The Technical University of Munich offers students, academics and employees a multifaceted educational and informational program that aims to prepare them, regardless of their academic field, to potentially found a company.

TUMentrepreneurship helps those interested in starting a company with the first steps towards entrepreneurship: They do so by establishing contact with other potential founders and with an established ecosystem, for example through qualification programs such as TUMentrepreneurship Education. The aim is to give participants a basic understanding of entrepreneurship and to teach them how to think and act in an entrepreneurial way.

If there are concrete plans for founding a company, then students, academics, employees or TUM alumni can contact TUM Startup Consulting. The support they offer includes assistance with applying for grants as well as pitch and pitch deck training. Things get even more concrete at the TUM Incubator. This is where startups in the pre-seed stage are given the infrastructure that is necessary to build their companies. A prerequisite for participation is for at least one member of the founding team to be from the TUM.

The support programs offered by TUMentrepreneurship are open to all members of the TUM. External individuals can make use of the offers provided by UnternehmerTUM, an associated institute of the TUM. At UnternehmerTUM, a team of experienced entrepreneurs, academics, managers and investors help startups in different programs and stages with developing their products and services.

Further information about TUMentrepreneurship is available here.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)

The LMU pools its entrepreneurship activities at the LMU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (LMU IEC). As the successor of the LMU Entrepreneurship Center (LMU EC), which ceased operations in late 2021 after 15 successful years, the LMU IEC also sees itself as an innovation hub that brings together academic and entrepreneurial thinking.

Academics and students who want to give entrepreneurship a try with their research results or ideas will find the first suitable point of contact at the LMU IEC Incubator. This is where participants receive startup consultation services as well as access to an investor network, co-working office space and mentors. The program will launch for the first time in April 2022, and the application period ends in February.

After 15 years of support, the end of the LMU EC was also the end of the program for early stage startups. Nevertheless, the promotion of young companies and their founders continues. German Entrepreneurship has created a new program with its Master Accelerator. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, the aim of Master Accelerator is to focus on each individual startup and its needs. With the six month program, experts, investors and exceptional alumni from German Entrepreneurship programs aim to help founders from all industries develop their own entrepreneurial personalities. And it’s not just about the transfer of knowledge. The aim is for startups to build their own networks and to connect with the international German Entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Further information about the LMU IEC is available here.

Hochschule München (HM)

Hochschule München also has a special point of contact for anyone interested in starting a company: The Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE). The SCE is an affiliated institute of Hochschule München (HM), which works to promote entrepreneurial thinking and action. It offers different formats in the field of qualification and supports innovative projects, teams and startups on their path to success.

Startup consultants, an in-house incubator, an in-house funding program and a large network aim to help SCE founders and startups find the right partners and stakeholders. The main target group of the SCE includes HM students and alumni, but external teams can also benefit from the startup support.

Students who would like to become familiar with the topic of founding can first take part in the Precelerator of the SCE. In this community space, the aim is to provide access to innovation and entrepreneurship, prototyping and new technologies. Those who are interested will find workshops and digital tools, as well as individual workstations for concentrated working and co-working space for collaborative work. In the day and age of corona, the SCE Precelerator offers many events online.

Further information about the SCE is available here.

Bundeswehr University Munich (UniBW M)

The Bundeswehr University Munich has been promoting entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship with its program ‘Founders@unibw’ since 2019. With customized and multifaceted offers, the Founders@unibw team wants to support founders in turning research findings and business ideas into innovative founding ventures and startups.

The team of academics as well as ‘Founders in Residence’ have made it their mission to identify innovative ideas and to develop and upgrade them to suit their target group. In addition to consulting services, students interested in starting a company can become a part of an intrapreneurship incubator. Participants also have the opportunity to use the remote maker space, which is known as LabNet, for activities such as building prototypes. Moreover, experts are available to help potential founders with different topics, such as innovation, agile coaching, digital marketing or statistical services.

Just two successful Munich-based startups that have already benefitted from their services are Quantum Systems and Stabl.

Further information about Founders@unibw is available here.

Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM)

The CDTM is a joint institution of the two Munich universities LMU and TUM. It offers students of all disciplines the additional study program ‘Technology Management.’ With the offered course format, the CDTM wants to promote entrepreneurial thinking among students and intensify collaboration in interdisciplinary teams. The CDTM is run by PhD students, but is set up just like a ‘student driven organization,’ in which all active students take part in operative business as part of the program.

The CDTM is a successful startup forge. To give some examples, it’s where the founders of Egym, KonuxNavvis and Freeletics met – and that is just a small excerpt from the list of CDTM alumni.

Further information about the CDTM is available here.

Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA)

The  Social Entrepreneurship Akademie (SEA) was founded in 2010 as a network organization of the entrepreneurship centers of the four Munich universities and has since assisted many students and founders in the development or advanced development of their social enterprise ideas. SEA’s approach: Social thinking should be combined with entrepreneurial action.

With different programs, the SEA qualifies anyone who would like to develop an idea in the field of social entrepreneurship, found a social startup or has already founded a company. In the introductory program SEA:Start, for example, students learn about methods and instruments that they can use to develop their own ideas.

Further information about the SEA is available here.

Start Munich

The association Start Munich might not be an initiative of Munich universities, but it is active in a university environment. Since its founding in 2003, Start Munich has been bringing together entrepreneurial students with diverse backgrounds and supporting them on their journey to entrepreneurship. The association wants to give its members experience, skills and resources so they can found a startup – be it by finding ideas and co-founders, or through mentoring and funding. Start Munich’s focus is clearly on networking. In an interview with Munich Startup, the Start Munich team emphasized the fact that they view networking as the most important component for making it possible to found a startup.

With its offer, the association wants to appeal to a broad target group, regardless of whether someone has a technical or business background or something completely different. The most important thing is to be able to get the participating students excited about entrepreneurship. Interested students can apply to Start Munich at the beginning of each semester.

Further information about Start Munich is available here.