Fascination Start-up

March 23, 2017

A glove connected to the computer, enabling the user to experience virtual worlds; rooms for meetings of business people, which can be booked by smartphone: “There were just some absolutely exciting ideas that really knocked me out,” says Käthe Neuss. Last year the Jacobs University student was still an onlooker at the Start-up Competition at her university. This year she is co-organizer of an event that makes it possible to experience how new companies are founded.

On March 24th and 25th, on the campus of the international university in Bremen-North, ten teams will again be striving for victory in the Start-up Competition. The finalists come from all over the world: from Denmark, France, Canada, the USA, and Indonesia. Teams from Bonn, Aachen, and Munich, and of course Bremen, are also at the starting line. One thing they all have in common is the entrepreneurial spirit – and the fact that they are students. Because the competition is organized and conducted by students for students.

Käthe Neuss is one of the approximately 30 young people at Jacobs University who are involved in the organization committee, which is led by Lukas Mayer-Gramberg, Annika Richter, and Paul Ladwig. Her job is above all to look for and give support to mentors, who are available to provide advice and assistance to the ten final teams. Käthe Neuss describes their responsibility as follows: “Their task is to help them in the best way they can.”

Often the mentors are themselves young entrepreneurs, who know about business plans and presentations and can provide feedback and suggestions about the business ideas. However, they are also very busy people; the 19-year-old already made the first contacts in the summer of last year. “The feedback was very positive. Some agreed spontaneously to participate, others offered to support us in other ways.”

The mentors are responsible for the preliminary selection. From about 120 applications, they distill ten finalists. Käthe Neuss has read almost every application – and found them super-exciting. “There are simply very many very interesting ideas among them.” But for her it is as well about the process: experiencing how an idea turns into more, a prototype, a business plan, possibly a company, and also about meeting the teams.

This experience also helps her in her course of study; she is in her fourth semester in International Business Administration. The next thing is a semester abroad in the USA or in Spain; then graduation will not be far off, which raises the question: What then?

“Working for a start-up or being part of founding a new company; I can definitely imagine that,” she says. Instead of an established company with its hierarchies and rituals, experiencing the start of a new company, being able to help shape it, is very fascinating for many people. Käthe Neuss agrees: “Creating something on your own, something you are convinced of; that is something very special.” But that is still a long way off. First comes the finale of the Jacobs Start-up Competition. Käthe Neuss will take care of her mentors. She is excited about the interchange with them and the teams and is curious how it will be when the sometimes somewhat crazy-sounding entrepreneurial ideas encounter the experienced eye of the mentors. Maybe she will stop by one of the workshops of the guest speakers, but in any case, she will be there when the finalists present their ideas and the jury picks the winner. It will be two exciting, intensive, and stimulating days, of that Käthe Neuss is certain. She’s looking forward to it.

Additional information

About Jacobs University:
Jacobs University is a private, independent, English-language university in Bremen. Young people from all over the world study here in preparatory, Bachelor, Master, and PhD programs. Internationality and transdisciplinarity are special features of Jacobs University: research and teaching don’t just pursue a single approach, they address issues from the perspectives of multiple disciplines. This principle makes Jacobs graduates highly sought-after new talents who successfully strike out on international career paths.

Thomas Joppig | Brand Management, Marketing & Communications
t.joppig [at] jacobs-university.de | Tel.: +49 421 200-4504