The ZU has received an award as part of the “EXIST-Potentiale” competition held by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. This is linked to a subsidy of around one million euros for the founding and innovation center PioneerPort at the ZU. A total of 220 universities and colleges took part in the competition.
“Over the past two years, PioneerPort has developed to become an important feature in the start-up scene in the Lake Constance-Upper Swabia region. With the subsidy funds, we can now take the next development step and the ZU can position itself as a strong partner with PioneerPort in matters of company foundation in the economic location of Lake Constance and beyond”, said Sascha Schmidt, speaker for the management team of PioneerPort.
The primary core of the project subsidized by Federal funds is targeted support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the region by PioneerPort with regard to innovation and spin-off potential. It also promotes the linking of enterprise and elements of study at the ZU. As part of the project, the ZU is cooperating with the University of Albstadt-Sigmaringen; they entered the competition together and the University of Albstadt-Sigmaringen has also received a subsidy of around one million euros. The intention is to create a corridor of innovation between the two universities to form anchor points in cooperation with businesses both in rural areas and the four nations region around Lake Constance.
The subsidy is awarded for a period of four years. “The positive subsidy notice is the right signal and at the same time the starter's gun for working within the new sector structure. It will enable the ZU to prove itself in particular as a partner of SMEs and to support the latter in their innovation strengths and efforts to found spin-offs,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Schulz, head of the newly created sector at the ZU, which will in future combine continuing education, transfer research and a founding center.
The EXIST-Potentiale subsidy program of the Federal Ministry of Economics has been in operation since 2018 and is aimed at all universities in Germany that wish to sustainably target opening up potential in business founding support and make it usable. “Start-ups are of great strategic importance for Germany as a business location: they move innovation forward, they are the motor that drives structural change and creates jobs for the future. “Universities play a decisive role here as think tanks for innovative business founding plans,” is how the German Federal Minister for the Economy, Peter Altmaier, explained the background of the competition on the occasion of the prize-giving. “This is why the German Federal Economics Ministry supports universities which have submitted convincing project proposals for sustainable expansion of their business founding activities with the EXIST-Potentiale competition.”