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What we do

The Mannheim Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MCEI) is the interdisciplinary center for entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Mannheim. With our three core pillars inspiration, entrepreneurial education, and startup support, we help create a culture of learning, knowledge exchange, innovation, and excitement for startup development. We offer entrepreneurial students and startups affiliated with MCEI excellent opportunities to network along with support to challenge, test, and develop their business models with a strong focus on a “can-do mentality” and scaling up. Our offerings rest on a “pay it forward" mentality of give-and-take: MCEI’s success builds on highly motivated students tackling challenges in new ventures and experienced entrepreneurs who serve as mentors, speakers, role models, and facilitators.


We at MCEI...

  • help the Startup Ecosystem around the University of Mannheim/ in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region to develop a striving startup culture characterized by openness and mutual support (Startup Lounges & Founder Talks).
  • encourage early stage ventures to pitch and to obtain essential feedback (Startup Lounges).
  • support the qualification of our students by providing opportunities to learn via dedicated teaching activities (Teaching).
  • enable students to experience the spirit of entrepreneurship in applied courses (Teaching, Inside the Venture Projects).
  • empower students to advance their own startups in accelerator-style course formats (Teaching).
  • provide a strong platform for young entrepreneurs, potential founders, students, and investors (Events & MCEI Network).
  • support startups with targeted support, advice, and guidance (Inside the Venture Projects).
  • act as an accelerator and growth enabler for new ventures (Inside the Venture Projects).

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Our Vision

Creating a culture of serendipity and a flourishing Startup Ecosystem in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region and beyond.


Founding, funding and development

The MCEI initiative was co-founded by Dr. Jan Zybura, Dr. Daniela Ernestus, and Dr. Dennis Lips under the supervision and directive of Professor Dr. Michael Woywode and went live in March 2013 (click here to connect with our current staff and MCEI alumni). The initiative was started in the context of the follow-up funding period 2012-2014 of the “Gründerverbund Entrepreneur Rhein-Neckar e.V.”, which was backed by the European Social Fund (ESF), the state Baden-Württemberg and the Institute for SME research and entrepreneurship (ifm) at the University of Mannheim. Next to the ifm, the Heinrich-Vetter-Stiftung has helped MCEI grow in 2015/2016. Further projects that supported the MCEI initiative were the Junior Accelerator Baden-Württemberg and the Life Science Business Development Program Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. Since September 2016, we have been supported by the project “Förderung der Gründungskultur an der Universität Mannheim” (in the framework of the initiative „Gründungskultur in Studium und Lehre (GuStL)“ by the state Baden-Württemberg) and the ifm. For facts and figures, please consult our bi-annual status reports.


Position within the University of Mannheim

The ifm Mannheim and the Chair of SME Research and Entrepreneurship have a long history and profound experience base in facilitating entrepreneurial student ventures. With the foundation of the MCEI, we have expanded our activities to an interdisciplinary center for fostering entrepreneurial spirit and culture.

Related items


  • University of Mannheim
  • Institut für Mittelstandsforschung
  • Gründerverbund
  • ESF
  • Europäische Union
  • Baden-Württemberg - Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft
  • Absolventum