Zeppelin University (ZU) is one of the leading places for student start-ups in Germany. This is the result of the study "Results of the Global University Entrepreneurial Spirit Students´ Survey (GUESS) 2013/14 - Entrepreneurial Intentions and Activities by Students in Germany", carried out by the University of St Gallen and the consultancy Ernst & Young. According to this study, every fourth ZU student has already started a company, or is actively doing so.
In the context of this study, a total of 10,566 students were surveyed, and 45 universities analyzed. "The majority of founders-to-be can be found at ZU in Friedrichshafen", project director Dr Heiko Bergmann from the "Schweizerische Institut für Klein- und Mittelunternehmen" at the University of St Gallen notes. Currently, almost 14% of the students are trying to start their own business. Nearly every 10th student already has their own business. The entrepreneurial intention of the students can be found in all study programs: Both in corporate management and economics, and in cultural and social sciences ZU ranks first among the analyzed universities.
According to the study, this entrepreneurial spirit has its reasons, because at no other university that took part, the topic of founding a company and entrepreneurship is as firmly rooted in teaching as at ZU. Several chairs at ZU address the topics of start-ups, entrepreneurship, innovation management, business model innovation, and family businesses.
In addition to the entrepreneurial intention and the role of the universities, the entrepreneurial environment at German universities was also analyzed. And here as well ZU ranked first: "Just as in 2012, the last time the GUESS project was carried out, the entrepreneurial environment is evaluated best at ZU in Friedrichshafen", Bergmann says.
So far, students at ZU have initiated more than 120 companies. The most well-known ones include: the long distance coach service "DeinBus.de", the cookie manufacturer "Knusperreich", and the social enterprise "Rock Your Life!" Currently, three further start-ups for innovative, internet-based offers are causing a stir. Thus, "blogfoster" has developed a software program that helps bloggers and web page operators to do their own marketing. The Axel Springer Plug and Play and the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft are partners in this enterprise. "Stilnest" in turn is a publishing house for printing designer jewelry in 3D, which both Pforzheim-based Klingel Group and again the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft have joined. "Parkplatz-gesucht.de" finally is setting up an online marketplace, which allows leasing unused parking spaces. This start-up is going to be supported in its further development by the telecommunications company Telefónica (O2).
ZU supports student start-ups not only in an intangible way by means of consulting offers, seminars, and access to networks, but also financially. For this aim, it founded the "ZU Micro Equity GmbH & Co. KG | ZUME" which provides equity for the first phase of the start-up.
Tim Göbel, on the ZU board responsible among others for funding start-ups, is very happy about this distinction. "ZU is an entrepreneurial university as the breeding grounds for a new generation of entrepreneurs." As a university bridging business, culture, and politics ZU is not only focused on classical, profit-oriented company start-ups, but also promotes social, political, and cultural entrepreneurship."