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Our start-up ecosystem

A unique network for founders

Together with the Digital Start-up Center Einstein1 and an extensive regional and supra-regional network of established companies and successful founders, research institutions, sponsors and investors, Hof University offers students, researchers, people interested in founding companies and start-ups a unique ecosystem for turning ideas into innovations and innovations into start-ups.

 

The Startuplab is the central contact point for all questions concerning entrepreneurship within Hof University. Together with our network partners, we support you in developing your business idea and building your startup. We help, among other things, with idea development and prototyping, developing a business model, building a team, acquiring funding, finding development and sales partners, and so on. 

Among other things, the Startuplab oversees the Makerspace, coordinates the KICKSTART program, runs IdeationWeek in the summer semester, and regularly organizes workshops and excursions in the startup context. 

Your contact person:

Jörg Raithel
Project Coordinator Startuplab

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4682
joerg.raithel.2(at)hof-university.de

Since 2017, Einstein1 has been one of a total of 19 digital business incubators in Bavaria and is without a doubt one of the flagships of the local startup ecosystem. Among other things, Einstein1 helps young companies to further develop their (digital) business idea, provides support with financing issues, and proactively ensures networking with important players from business, science, education, and politics.

In one of the most modern buildings in the region with coworking space, start-up offices, event space and conference rooms, founders, start-ups, established companies, freelancers, coworkers or simply innovative minds from the region are offered great opportunities for growth and development.

Find out more

The Makerspace in the C-building of Hof University is a professional workshop with high-tech machines, tools and software and a place to go for tinkerers and hobbyists - perfect for realizing technical ideas, making prototypes and testing them.

The showpiece is the BigRep, a 3D printer with a printing volume of one cubic meter. All students and members of the university also have access to a range of smaller 3D printers for various plastics, plotters, laser cutters, 3D scanners or special CAD software for designing models, as well as a wide selection of materials.

Your contact:

René Göhring
Technical employee Makerspace

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4681
rene.goehring(at)hof-university.de

In addition to research and teaching, knowledge and technology transfer, as an interaction between university and practice, is one of the central tasks of a university. The basic technologies and research findings of the individual research institutes at Hof University are the basis for innovations and flow directly into, among other things, the promotion of start-ups and cooperation with regional and national companies.
 

Find out more about our Research and Development

The region around Hof, called Hochfranken, is one of the strongest industrial regions in Germany, with a large number of highly specialized medium-sized companies whose know-how is the basis for constant innovation. We help start-ups initiate development partnerships and sales cooperations with the region's innovation leaders. Established companies, in turn, find excellent opportunities for cooperation with start-ups and entrepreneurial talent. Classic win-win, in fact.  

Your contact person:

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Management
Scientific Director Digital Incubator Einstein1

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4250
michael.seidel(at)hof-university.de

BayStartUP is the Bavarian startup network for startups, investors and industry. As the central institution for startup financing in Bavaria, the colleagues support innovative founders in setting up their companies and in their search for startup and growth capital.


Find out more

The Bavarian patent centers, with locations in Nuremberg and Hof, offer expert support for all kinds of questions about industrial property rights - from research in the run-up to an IP application to information on application procedures and free advice from a patent attorney. 

Your contact person:

Harald Rietsch
Project Manager Technology I

Patent Center Bavaria, Bayern Innovativ GmbH
Hof location (Digital Business Incubator Einstein1)
Albert-Einstein-Strasse 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0)911 / 20671 927
harald.rietsch(at)bayern-innovativ.de

Contact - We are here to support you!

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel | Hof University of Applies Sciences
Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel +49 9281 409 - 4250

Project leader Startuplab; contact for startup coaching, EXIST, Einstein1

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Müller | Hof University of Applies Sciences
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Anke Müller +49 9281 409 - 4680

Project leader Startuplab; contact for Makerspace, KICKSTART

 Jörg Raithel | Hof University of Applies Sciences
Jörg Raithel +49 9281 409 - 4682

Project coordinator Startuplab; KICKSTART, Ideation Week, workshops, excursions

 René Göhring | Hof University of Applies Sciences
René Göhring

Technical support Makerspace

Start-up consulting & coaching

From initial consultation to comprehensive coaching

Every business start-up begins with an idea and/or the desire for self-employment. Before and in the course of a start-up, many questions arise and sometimes a second or third opinion simply helps. We give you a hand. Our experienced team supports you free of charge in all phases of setting up a business - tailor-made and individual.

 

Your contact:

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel
Professor for Entrepreneurship and Regional Management
Scientific Director Digital Business Incubator Einstein1

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4250
michael.seidel(at)hof-university.de 

Your contact:

Dr. Nicholas Derra
Deputy Managing Director Digital Business Incubator Einstein1

Albert-Einstein-Strasse 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 595 310
info(at)einstein1.net

Coworking, startup offices & conference rooms

Work creatively - in the best company

The Center for digital startup businesses Einstein1 on the campus of Hof University is without a doubt one of the most innovative buildings in Upper Franconia. State-of-the-art architecture, technical equipment that leaves nothing to be desired, stylish furnishings and, last but not least, inspiring people, provide the right environment to give free rein to your own ideas.

At Einstein1, you can expect a spacious and open event area for up to 150 people, a perfectly equipped coworking space with 30 seats, exclusive startup offices, modern meeting and conference rooms for your event and probably the most spectacular roof terrace in Hof.

 

Learn more

Makerspace

The Makerspace in the C-building of Hof University is a professional high-tech workshop with machines, tools and software. The workshop is a place to go for tinkerers and hobbyists - perfect for realizing technical ideas, making and testing prototypes and small series.

Your contact:

René Göhring
Technical Assistant Makerspace

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4681
rene.goehring(at)hof-university.de

Opening Hours:

The Makerspace is located in the front area of the Machine Hall (Building C) and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm or upon request. A prior arrangement with René Göhring is recommended.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays the opening hours are extended. Our doors are then open until 20.00 o'clock.

Open site plan

Safety briefing:

Your safety is of top priority in the Makerspace. Therefore, a safety briefing is mandatory for access. The safety briefing is available online on moodle. 

To the safety briefing

Events and excursions

Over the edge and even further

We regularly organize excursions to learn from others, exchange ideas and broaden our horizons. We visit exciting startups and established companies, congresses, trade fairs or other interesting events in the startup context, which will bring you and us further. Let us inspire you and look beyond the end of your nose with us.  

Events at Einstein1:

Networking events take place at Einstein1 at least once a week. We bring interesting people to Hof who have a story to tell. Specialists give talks and insights on topics such as digitization, start-ups or online marketing. Experienced founders regularly share their stories - from great successes to crashing failures. Listen and learn!

For upcoming events, please check the event calendar.

Funding and financing

Hof University promotes inventive and entrepreneurial spirit and supports students and researchers in the acquisition of funding and growth capital.

With KICKSTART, the university has its own funding program that supports the development of ideas and prototypes.

The EXIST-Gründerstipendium or FLÜGGE are possible follow-up funding programs, for which we provide advice on how to apply. For startups in the growth phase, we have access to a wide network of capital providers.

The Bavarian validation program is aimed specifically at researchers and supports projects for researching and developing technological innovations, novel production processes and knowledge-based services.  

Individual funding programs in brief

With KICKSTART, Hof University has launched a funding program that starts at a very early stage of a possible start-up - during the development of ideas or prototypes. Within the framework of KICKSTART, we support innovative (business) ideas unbureaucratically and quickly with up to 7,500 euros per applicant / team. In this phase, it is not yet about a foundation, but about the further development of an idea into an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or prototype. 

Aim of the program

The KICKSTART funding program is intended to promote innovations and start-ups at Hof University. Innovative inventions or ideas with development potential are awarded and funded.

Who is supported?

The support program is aimed at all members of Hof University (students, administrative staff, professors, lecturers, lecturers, scientific staff, alumni). Individuals or teams can apply. All applicants must have a legal relationship with Hof University. The funding refers explicitly to the pre-founding phase of the potential founders. The foundation should not have taken place yet.

What is supported?

Innovative ideas with development and growth potential are funded. The funding includes consulting and in-kind services worth up to €7,500 per applicant/team. The funds are awarded according to actual need and can only be used for specific purposes for material resources (e.g. materials or procurement of special parts, special equipment), market or profitability analyses, material testing or consulting services (e.g. special consulting services such as legal advice). The funds are to be drawn down within a period of six months after the funding commitment. It is not possible to pay out the amount of money. In addition to financial support, the winners can expect an individual consulting program on the way to a possible startup as well as access to the services of the Startuplab and the Einstein1 startup center on the campus of Hof University of Applied Sciences.

Special consideration is given to the following areas of focus:

  • innovative, technology-oriented ideas
  • innovative services with high customer value, which are expected to have unique selling propositions on the market.


What is NOT eligible for funding?

In general, funds to cover the living expenses of the applicants or expenses for personnel are not eligible for funding. Also ineligible are expenses for material or consulting services that are already available to all members of the university as general and freely accessible infrastructure. Existing resources should be prioritized whenever possible (e.g., computer labs, tech rooms, makerspace, labs, free consulting services at the Einstein1 incubator, etc.). 

How can I apply?

You can apply by sending the completed application form to kickstart@hof-university.de. As soon as all necessary information is complete, a pitch in front of the Kickstart jury will follow. This can take place in person or online. The date will be arranged individually.

Please contact Jörg Raithel before applying and clarify all detailed questions. 

Your contact person:

Jörg Raithel
Project Coordinator Startuplab

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4682
joerg.raithel.2(at)hof-university.de

The start-up teams receive an EXIST Business Start-up Grant at attractive conditions for a period of 12 months to develop a business plan and prepare for their business start-up with the support of their university or research institution.

Who is supported?

  • Scientists from public, non-profit non-university research institutions and universities
  • University graduates and former research assistants (up to five years after graduation or retirement).
  • Students who have completed at least half of their studies at the time of application, whereby the team may not consist of a majority of students.
  • Founding teams of up to a maximum of three people.
  • One of the up to three team members can also be funded with a qualified vocational training as a technical employee. Likewise, one team member may have graduated more than five years ago.

What is funded?

  • Innovative technology-oriented start-up projects
  • Innovative knowledge-based services based on scientific findings

Amount, duration and type of funding:

  • Securing personal living expenses via a stipend:
    • Founders with a doctorate 3,000 euros/month
    • Graduates with university degree 2,500 euros/month
    • Technical staff 2,000 euros/month
    • Students 1,000 Euro/month
    • Child supplement: 150 euros/month per child
  • Non-personnel expenses:
    • Up to 10,000 euros for individual startups (max. 30,000 euros for teams)
       
  • Coaching:
    • 5,000 euros
  • The maximum funding period is one year.


Prerequisites

The most important prerequisite is that the planned business idea must be an innovative technology-oriented or knowledge-based product with significant unique selling points and good economic prospects for success.


Learn more

The Bavarian funding program FLÜGGE (Funding Program to Support the Easier Transition to a Start-up Existence) aims to support start-ups from universities in Bavaria in the field of innovation, research and technology.

Which requirements must be met?

The Bavarian university:

  • must be integrated into a startup-supporting network
  • appoints a person for the mentoring
  • provides the necessary infrastructural resources free of charge to those interested in founding a company
  • administers the funding

Start-up applicants:

  • must belong to the applicant university
  • In the case of employees of the university, this employment may not exceed 50 percent of their time
  • Students without a bachelor's degree must have completed at least half of the standard period of study and, if applicable, the mandatory practical/abroad semester 
  • Teams consisting mainly of students without a bachelor's degree can only be supported in exceptional cases.
  • at least one person willing to found the company must be one of the persons holding or co-holding the rights of use/protection
  • are responsible for their own social security and other contributions

Who can submit an application?

State universities in Bavaria. Applications must be submitted via the technology transfer offices or technology transfer officers.

What can be funded?

The phase before and at the beginning of an innovative start-up, in particular the development of marketable innovative products and business models as well as making the start-up ready.

Specifically, this includes support for those wishing to start a business,

  • in securing their innovative, also digital business model, which could lead to a sustainable business start-up
  • who have not been able to complete their start-up project within the framework of Exist funding due to particular technological challenges and have not yet been able to establish a company 
  • whose technologically innovative, challenging and high-risk project was denied funding in the "Exist Start-Up Grant" program.


Projects can be considered that

  • Go beyond the state of the art or, in the case of digital business models, are sufficiently new,
  • have clear unique selling points,
  • have a sufficient follow-up capability (positive continuation prognosis).

How is funding provided?

  • Scholarship for start-up applicants: €2,500 per month plus €150 per dependent child
  • Assumption of material expenses for the project in the amount of up to 50% of the awarded scholarships.

Learn more


Your contact person:

Regina Bühl
Project Manager Technology
Bavaria Innovative
Phone: +49 911 20671-642
E-mail: regina.buehl(at)bayern-innovativ.de

The Bavarian program to promote the validation of research results and inventions (validation program) pursues the goal of validating technological innovations so that their potential can be transferred to industrial research. The purpose of this measure is to accelerate the transfer and dissemination of modern technologies and services to industry and society. 

What can be supported?

Support can be provided for projects to research and develop technologically new or significantly improved products, production processes and knowledge-based services with the aim of technologically securing future exploitation. In this context, exploitation is understood to mean in particular technological and economic connectivity, especially transfer to industrial research.

How is funding provided?

  • Funding of up to 100 percent of personnel and material expenses, travel costs and, in justified exceptional cases, external services.
  • max. 300,000 € per project
  • Project duration up to 18 months

What requirements must be met?

Projects that

  • go beyond the state of the art
  • have clear unique selling propositions
  • have a sufficient follow-up capability (positive continuation prognosis).

Projects will not be supported that

  • have already been started prior to the decision on the university's application
  • are carried out on behalf of and for the account of third parties.

 

How can I apply for funding?

Applications are submitted via a Bavarian university. Bavarian state universities in Bavaria. Applications are submitted via the technology transfer offices or the technology transfer officers.


Learn more

A wide variety of investors are involved in our ecosystem. We put you in touch with business angels, development banks, public investors or VCs and help initiate development partnerships and sales collaborations with the region's innovation leaders.  

Your contact person:

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel
Professor for Entrepreneurship and Regional Management
Scientific Director Digital Business Incubator Einstein1

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4250
michael.seidel(at)hof-university.de

Entrepreneurship education

We are convinced that entrepreneurial thinking and action are becoming increasingly important for our society. That is why Hof University has included the topics of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in its mission statement. Entrepreneurial personality traits such as performance motivation, acceptance of responsibility, creativity and commitment are key qualifications today - regardless of whether one is self-employed as an entrepreneur or works as a manager in a company. The teaching of these values and contents enjoys a very high priority in the study programs offered at Hof University.

Teaching opportunities in the start-up context:

For founders, basic knowledge in many areas of business administration as well as their interrelationships are indispensable. Especially in startups, many knowledge and skills have to be combined in a few people. In the course of your studies, you will deal with the following topics, among others:

  • Basic business management knowledge
  • Startup management (including entrepreneurial personality, financing of startups and practical knowledge)
  • Marketing for startups and e-commerce
  • Tax and business law
  • Creativity techniques and innovation management
  • Business model development and business plan creation in cooperation with the digital startup center Einstein1

 

After studying business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship and tech startups ...

  • you know what is essential for the foundation of a new company.
  • you will be able to develop new business ideas for existing companies.
  • you are able to competently accompany a startup process.
  • you can also help shape new business models in larger companies.
  • you are optimally prepared for the challenges in business.
  • a wide range of career opportunities are open to you in your own company, in consulting or in management.

Learn more

Five days, four teams, one common goal

Ideationweek is a teaching event (block event) that is comparable to a hackathon. The goal is to develop new and innovative ideas, products or services based on a real task from a partner company within just five days. We use design thinking as a method. The participants work in interdisciplinary teams of up to six people and are accompanied by experienced coaches and experts from the company. Ideationweek is offered across all faculties for all students at Hof University of Applied Sciences.

Target Group / Objectives: 

The Ideationweek is held across all faculties in German (individual impulse contributions may be held in English). The aim of the Ideationweek is to teach the participants the Design Thinking method and its individual process steps based on a concrete example from practice and to develop innovative solutions. After the course, participants will be able to identify relevant target groups, understand their needs, develop creative ideas and solutions based on these, as well as produce initial prototypes and test them immediately.

Examination Credit / ECTS:

Up to 6 ECTS can be awarded depending on the respective course of study (see FAQ). Please clarify in advance with the course director. Previous knowledge is not mandatory. However, it is recommended to have completed at least 60 ECTS in the Bachelor's program. There are no restrictions for Master students.

Depending on the number of ECTS awarded, the examination includes compulsory participation in the Ideation Week (5 days), a final presentation (for 3 ECTS) and a seminar paper (project documentation, for 5/6 ECTS).

for 3 ECTS: obligatory participation in the Ideationweek (5 days) and final presentation
for 5/6 ECTS: as above + term paper / project documentation (for 6 ECTS with additional scientific part in term paper/documentation)

Application / Enrollment:

The number of participants is limited. A short online application is required for participation. Please use the online form exclusively for the application. You will receive feedback as to whether you will be admitted to the course within a few days of submitting your application. Self-registration in Moodle is not possible. The registration is done by the organizers. You can find the link to the application form here: ATTENTION: the next Ideationweek will take place in summer semester 2023. 

Your contact person:

Jörg Raithel
Project Coordinator Startuplab

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4682
joerg.raithel.2(at)hof-university.de

The course Start-up Management contains important building blocks for a successful start-up. We look at conditioning factors for entrepreneurial ecosystems on a global, national and regional level and form an opinion on startup culture. We discuss the economic importance of startups, derive different roles of entrepreneurs from theory, and explain the emergence of entrepreneurial opportunities. In particular, we will delve into the entrepreneurial personality and the success factors of teams as well as forms of financing. We will focus on start-up specific financing with private equity such as venture capital, crowdinvesting or angel financing. For the most important topics of the course, we invite competent guest authors and let the events of the Einstein1 enrich us. 

Parallel to the theory, you will immediately apply your knowledge by working on your own (small) business cases in groups. As a tool we work here with the Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder. You are free to also work on ideas from external people or your friends in the course. If promising projects emerge, this course will be the ideal interface to the module "Developing and Designing Business Models" (winter semester), where these can then be further developed into your own company with full force.

Your contact person:

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Regional Management
Scientific Director Digital Start-up Center Einstein1

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4250
michael.seidel(at)hof-university.de

This course builds systematically on "Start-up Management". Business models map the logical relationships with which a company generates revenue. Especially for startups, a good business model design is important to convince customers, investors and other stakeholders. In the course, you will learn important tools to develop innovative business models and to design them in a revenue-oriented way. At the same time, you will apply this knowledge directly by developing a concrete business idea in interdisciplinary teams parallel to the course and pitching it to a group of experts on a demo day at the end of the course. You will be coached by the expert network of the digital start-up center Einstein1. Whether you later start up or not, the learnings of this course are equally valuable for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Your contact:

Prof. Dr. Michael Seidel
Professor for Entrepreneurship and Regional Management
Scientific Director Digital Business Incubator Einstein1

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4250
michael.seidel(at)hof-university.de

The entrepreneur simulation game TOPSIM - Startup simulates the start-up of a business using the example of a fitness studio. Here, the typical phases of a business startup are depicted:

  • Idea generation and development of a business model
  • Creation of a business plan 
  • Negotiation with investors about financing 
  • Management of the company after market entry. 


With tools such as the Business Plan Assistant, participants are supported in the start-up process and must ultimately succeed with their company on the market. Here, it is necessary to react to market movements and still remain true to one's own strategy. The business game imparts basic knowledge of business management and serves as an introduction to the start-up topic even for participants without prior commercial knowledge. 

Contents:

  • Methods for developing business ideas and business models
  • Market analysis
  • Structure of a business plan
  • Raising capital (loans, equity capital)
  • Personnel planning and capacity utilization
  • Basics of business valuation
  • Basics of investment appraisal 
  • Basics of internal and external accounting


Application:

  • Foundation focus in the study program BW and BW dual
  • Business management seminar in the study program BW and BW dual


Your contact person:

Prof. Dr. Heinz Göhring
Professor of Economics / Business Administration

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof 

+49 (0)9281 409 /4180
heinz.goehring(at)hof-university.de

Further information will follow.

Ideationweek2022

Startup Academy: Workshops & seminars

In addition to the regular courses, we regularly offer seminars and workshops on startup-related topics. Design thinking, OKR, business planning, prototyping, user testing, innovation bootcamps - our offer is as colorful as the world. One focus of our events is on agile methods for idea development, such as design thinking. In addition to our own events, we forge collaborations with partners to bring current topics and trends to Hof University. In these events, you can expand your entrepreneurial knowledge. In most cases, these offers are free of charge for members of Hof University. Let us inspire you.

Co-Founder search

Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships

You would like to found a startup, have already founded one and are still looking for reinforcement for your project? Or do you have a good idea that has potential and you are still looking for a sparring partner? We help you find team members and search the talent pool in and outside our university for like-minded people for your project.

Your contact person:

Jörg Raithel
Project Coordinator Startuplab

Alfons-Goppel-Platz 1
95028 Hof

+49 (0) 9281 / 409 4682
joerg.raithel.2(at)hof-university.de