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MCEI Accelerator Formats - Kicking Off 2020

MCEI Accelerator Formats - Kicking Off 2020

On February 15 and February 22, MCEI kicked off its spring semester accelerator formats Thinking Beyond Boxes (Bachelor, MAN 453) and Entrepreneurial Spirit (Master, MAN 633). Dr. Bettina Müller, Dr. Jan Zybura, and doctoral candidate Thomas Hipp were welcoming highly motivated students striving to make a difference either by advancing their own startups or by helping one of MCEI’s partner startups to reach the next level in an Inside the Venture (ITV) project. But what do we actually do in our course accelerator formats and what is the ITV concept?

In the dedicated kick-off sessions, the students first get an introduction to the Chair of SME Research and Entrepreneurship (Prof. Dr. Michael Woywode) and the course specifics. Then, the magic starts: The participating student startups pitch and inspire the whole course. They explain what they do and how their business model works and get immediate feedback from the group. The discussion and validation kickstart the entrepreneurial journey within the program. MCEI’s partner startups that want to scout an ITV team also pitch to highlight their current most pressing challenges to be tackled by the support teams – and, of course, to attract the best talent to their startups. All students not bringing in their own startups to class, can join a team helping one of the partner startups in an ITV project to gain first-hand startup experience.

ITV projects were established by MCEI and aim at bringing students in touch with real-life startup experience at full project responsibility. Regardless of whether a student has their own startup or not, this scheme offers the opportunity to work on real startup challenges. The best thing: Next to tools, knowledge and guidance from experiences mentors in the course format, students gain tons of practical experience, are turned into entrepreneurs themselves and even gain ECTS for their efforts. The question whether to start a venture or study is therefore obsolete and this scheme of multilateral learning allows for a symbiosis. Further, ITV fosters the local innovation ecosystem by supporting startups at different stages with dedicated hands-on project support. It offers students the chance to explore the startup world as a career choice and become entrepreneurs themselves. Find more information on the various ITV formats here.

The various course offerings, full accreditation, and the individual coachings are special characteristics of MCEI’s interdisciplinary program at the University of Mannheim. Past projects have been very successful with highly ambitious students joining startups after their projects end.

During a lunch break at the kick-off the startups, students, and instructors met at Café L3 for a relaxed networking session to discuss project opportunities and get to know each other. The final part of the kick-off day was an introduction to the underlying course accelerator methods of Scaling Lean. With the concepts and tools our participants are well-prepared to embark on their entrepreneurial journey during the upcoming semester. But of course, they will not go through rough waters alone. During periodical updates and intensive individual coachings by MCEI startup coaches, they will be enabled to advance their own ventures or ITV projects to the next level. In the week following the kick-off, all teams had a fist coaching session where project goals and milestones were discussed with the startup coaches.

In the bachelor course MAN 453 Thinking Beyond Boxes and the Own Venture track of the master course MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit, we have 9 participating: Aehrenmann develops a new platform for framers and seasonal workers. BitPal offers a network for cryptocurrency payments. Drinko wants to provide customizable vitamin and nutrition beverages. Kerith is the next level of AI energy grid optimization. Party Room wants to introduce the party room concept in the west. Project Milan is working on bringing the art market online. UChanLife offers an online lifestyle platform. Wherable is the new place to skyrocket your clothing style. And Wirksame Patientenverfügung wants to make patient decrees more effective and pervasive.

In the Inside the Venture track of MAN 633 Bacchus Software, Dr. fem Fatale, Freachly, immooly, In the Green – Microgreens, istari, Mapstar, Pourista, Resounding, and Swapfiets are supported by teams that will become part of the startup as supporting force for the semester. The student teams support the startup in solving their core challenges, communicate with the founders at eyelevel and help them advance their business.


Curious about the outcome the participating startups in the own venture track will achieve? Stay tuned and join us on Demo Day on May 19 in the context of the startup lounge. 

You want to join our accelerator program in fall? Find more information here!


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