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Year End Review 2023

Year End Review 2023

Celebrating the culmination of another dynamic and engaging semester, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all participants for their enthusiasm and participation. As the curtains fall on this successful semester, we are thrilled to share highlights of our educational endeavors, support programs, and memorable events that made this semester truly exceptional.


Empowering Innovation in MAN 631 Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice

In our flagship applied course, MAN 631 Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice, students embarked on a journey into the realms of innovation and entrepreneurship at Hub1 of Mafinex Technology Center. Throughout the semester, participants not only delved into the conceptual foundations of starting a venture but also translated their new knowledge into starting their own ventures. In groups of five, the students developed ideas based on problem analysis and solution viability. Through design thinking principles and prototyping they boiled down their broad spectrum of ideas into a single business idea, they deemed worth pursuing further. Going into customer development, business model development and pitch training all teams were looking forward to their final pitch, where they were presenting their new ventures in front of an expert jury. This semester’s startups have been: Back 2 Bread, Beancycle, everbold, EveryDayHelp, MirrAR and Wine it!

Back 2 Bread stands out as a haven for authentic German sourdough enthusiasts, crafted with premium organic ingredients and free from additives. Beancycle champions the circular economy, transforming coffee waste into a green revolution. Everbold emerges as an online marketplace for fair fashion, uniting conscientious consumers with sustainable brands. EveryDayHelp facilitates a platform for individuals seeking assistance with various everyday tasks. MirrAR revolutionizes online fashion retail through augmented reality try-on technology, enhancing user experiences and reducing return rates. Wine It! pioneers a marketplace dedicated to uplifting small vineyards, addressing challenges in visibility and accessibility within the international wine industry.

As it is customary for our course startups, the last Startup Lounge of the semester features the announcement and pitch of the winning team deemed by the jury. However, while it was a very tight race with five outstanding startups, the unthinkable has happened. Two teams received the same score from the jury and therefore this semester we had the honor of announcing two winners: MirrAR and Beancycle. Stay tuned for the further development of the startups as we will also follow along their journey.


Unveiling Entrepreneurial Insights in MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship

MAN 630 Introduction to Entrepreneurship provided a comprehensive understanding of entrepreneurship, encompassing both theoretical foundations and practical applications. From exploring current and classical theories to engaging in case studies and business model projects, students gained valuable insights into the startup lifecycle. Distinguished guest lectures by industry leaders, including Lisa Neuner from Merck, Georg Harenberg from CARAS Gourmet, Dr. Michael Hoeck from Earlybird Venture Capital, Prof. Dr. Dominika Wruk from the University of Mannheim, and Dr. Jan Kinne from ISTARI.AI, enriched the learning experience. Most of them are Uni Mannheim alumni which made their story particularly inspiring as role models for students in course.


Inspiring Events

Our Startup Lounge events, held at Café Agata in the Mafinex Building, were a highlight of the semester, offering a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their ventures.

The semester’s first event was Startup Lounge #105 with Afya and Greenheat. This startup Lounge was a cooperation with one of the biggest student organizations from the University of Mannheim - Enactus! Enactus stands for the entrepreneurial spirit (entrepreneurial), the will to create (action) and the commonality of action and values (us) - a term that sums up their mission in one word: to inspire students to make a lasting difference in the world through entrepreneurial action. We welcomed two startups from Enactus: Afya and Greenheat. Afya is currently operating in Uganda, contributing to the fight against malnutrition. To achieve this, they produce a food supplement using the nutrient-rich microalgae Spirulina. Greenheat is a startup with the goal to optimize the energy cycle in server farms. The concept involves using the servers' waste heat directly to heat greenhouses. This maximizes the efficiency of server farms and creates a sustainable solution for food production. Then followed Startup Lounge #106 with Rigle. Hailing from Stuttgart, Germany, Rigle is a cutting-edge Software-Tech-Lab Startup. They have a knack for transforming your visionary concepts into digital marvels, be it mobile apps, intelligent bots, or robust web applications and systems. In Startup Lounge #107 cohosted by MARCIE enculture was our guest. Enculture provides cultural access to the workforce of companies in the Rhine-Neckar area, by enabling them to explore, find and visit local culture events within their employer’s benefit program. The startup originally emerged out of the Culture Goes Startup course by MARCIE. On the 5th of December 2023, we had our last Startup Lounge of the semester last Startup Lounge of the semester and per tradition, it had featured our course startups from MAN 631! The winners of the Pitch Battle were announced in the Startup Lounge and pitched again to a larger audience.

Adding to the roster of inspiring events was a Founder Talk featuring Henrik Burger from The Oater. The Oater develops high-quality machines for on-site food production, with their flagship product addressing packaging and freshness concerns in the burgeoning vegan milk market.


More news about the MCEI

We fostered our cooperations with our partners University of Mannheim, Mannheim University of Applied Science, the University of Heidelberg and the KIT in different formats and projects. 

The KI Garage has been going into its third year with new startups and scalups in its Nework Accelerator and AI-Rise programs. We have been involved in the courses of the Mannheim Research Group in Culture, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MARCIE) and were co-hosting events with MARCIE and its startups. MCEI has been to Slush Week at Hanken Business School in Helsinki as part of the pan european university alliance ENGAGE.EU. And we have been working together with TransforMA to host events and foster the transfer processes in and around the University of Mannheim and its partner in this project, the Mannheim University of Applied Science


As we bid farewell to a semester filled with inspiration, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities and achievements awaiting us in the upcoming term. The collaborative spirit and innovative drive displayed by our students and speakers have set the bar high, promising even more exciting ventures and insights in the semesters to come. Until then, here's to another semester of creativity, entrepreneurship, and continuous growth!

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