ifempower Winter School

ifempower Winter School

31.01.-05.02.2021: First ifempower event 2021 was held under the title ‘How does the idea become a business? Matchmaking and knowledge exchange for business angels, female entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, experts and other stakeholders’. It aimed to provide a platform for matchmaking and online knowledge exchange for business angels, entrepreneurs, experts and other stakeholders.

Since the event was part of the week-long ifempower winter school, its main part was the pitch session during which the business ideas of students attending the intensive training were presented. A professional jury provided hands-on feedback to the presenters with the aim of supporting their development and turning into real businesses.

Then, the event provided an opportunity for knowledge exchange related to business investment and nurturing marketable business ideas in a frame of a roundtable discussion and break-out session.

Women in Business.

16.06.2020: online event. Juergen Raizner was invited by bwcon as speaker to the conference “Women in Business”. As part of ongoing Interreg project with same title, event was fully dedicated to discuss any aspect of promoting “Female Entrepreneurship”.

To more than 50 participants, Juergen Raizner introduced Erasmus+ funded project ifempower which is in its structure very similar to Women in Business. Online event was a great opportunity for Steinbeis to present intellectual outputs, particularly the mentorship program and to launch the newly established ifempower Support Point in front of a high quality audience.

Event benefited from large audience, most of them being women entrepreneurs who shared with the rest of participants their experiences and best practice examples towards female entrepreneurship.

Women in Business project was presented and represented at Ifempower events in Seville (09/2019) and Porto (02/2020).

Agenda of the event (presentations will be made available by bwcon):

  • Welcome by bwcon GmbH & presentation of the EU project “Women in Business”
  • Keynote: Tanja Rug (Unternehmenscoach & Trainer, Co-Founder “She Potential”): Resilience goes business
  • Anja Lange (Moderator & Co-Founder Innovative Women Network)
  • Christine Deger (Cybersecurity Expertin, Certified Ethical Hackerin & Founder “Changeboxx IT Solution”)
  • Samira Djidjeh (Founder & Animation Producer @ greenboxx animation & Chairwoman Digital Media Women e.V.)
  • Jürgen Raizner (Steinbeis Transfer Center): Ifempower project
  • Start-Up BW: Support for founders in Baden-Württemberg
  • Discussion / exchange

About “Women in Business”

The consortium of 14 project partners from 9 Danube Region countries brings together national and regional, public and private organizations and universities, whose specific thematic background guarantees a solid knowledge and necessary expertise by coming forward with appropriate innovative solutions. Project aims to bring:

  • policy improvements to be aligned to their needs of women in Danube region;
  • development of innovative solutions and training models for improvement of the entrepreneurial culture, skills and competencies among them

 

About “ifempower”

9 partners from 7 countries (among them – 4 universities) work together till summer 2021 to build tailor-made entrepreneurship curricula for female students and pilot it. Steinbeis is responsible for mentorship program within new entrepreneurship module. Mentorship handbook, available in 7 languages, was introduced to participants with emphasis on the ones coming from university environment as a useful tool to attract entrepreneurs in academic environment. Additionally, was pointed out especially the newly established entrepreneurship support point from Stuttgart. So, in Germany women, particularly female students who have questions related to entrepreneurship will receive support from Steinbeis Danube Center. It is to be mentioned that consortium organized a special training session for ifempower support points representatives in Porto at the beginning of this year.

Steinbeis presentation is available at minute 50”30’

GENDERACTION: Training and mutual learning workshop. An approach by Steinbeis.

Experts from Danube region and Western Balkans were invited to Training and Mutual Learning Workshop on Gender Equality (GE) on 10th and 11th of March 2020 at the University of Belgrade. Purpose of the meeting was to include gender aspects better into national and international programs and into development of funding actions.

Roxana Boboruta, Steinbeis Project Manager, participated in the workshop and contributed with insights relating to entrepreneurship in Research and Innovation.

Conclusions could be summarized as follows:

  1. What are the most important topics to address GE?
  • Awareness campaingns relating to GE issues and explaining benefits (GE awareness could make the difference for funding decions in any EU-funded program when 2 project ideas are equal)
  • Female archetype in different regions for building reliable strategies (such sociological studies and conclusions could offer solutions for GE policies especially in Eastern Europe)
  • Best practices transfer (bet on the power or example in international consortiums).

2. What are barriers to GE in R&I?

  • Worst forms: no BA, MA or PhD programs on gender issues are available at universities.
  • Soft resistance: gender equality building as a competence cannot be certified by educational responsible bodies (both private and public).

3. What is needed to put  gender equality onto agenda in a specific country (mainly Eastern Danube region)?

  • Best practices transfer
  • Actions towards bodies responsible for minorities issues, and consequently for policies (mainly in Eastern Europe). EU integration baseed on democracy values is directly connected with respecting rights of minorities (as one of the most sensible issues in EU history). Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue relating to reliable women long-standing representation and trusting the expertise provided.

Mainly, where there is no official position  relating to GE as an academic competence, it is included in programs relating to minorities. Which is sufficient.

Economy is a beneficiary of society progress and innovation relates on Business Enterprise Sector (according to OECD definition).

Roxana Boboruta introduced ongoing project “ifempower” as a best practice example what results from international collaboration of higher education instituions and business actors. ifempower tackles GE by promoting female entreprenurship.

From another approach, Steinbeis network itself and promoted transfer model could be seen as a solution for more representation of females in research. Descentralized network of Steinbeis gives female researchers easy access to projects in R&I.

Steinbeis at ifempower event in Porto

Porto, 02.02.-06.02.2020: consortium meeting, expert training and multiplier event – an intensive work program has been completed. ifempower entrepreneurship modul is ready for implementation at partner universities. ifempower mentorship program, elaborated by Steinbeis, is accepted. 

Main subjects of transnational meeting of partners were focused on implementing mentorship program and on establshing entrepreneurship support points in partner countires. Staff training for entrepreneurship support points insures that responsible experts will act in line with project requirements. Representatives of Steinbeis, Roxana Boboruta and Juergen Raizner, became certified support point staff.

Juergen Raizner moderated interactive workshop on ifempower Mentorship Program. The session was accompanied by valuable points of view from entrepreneurs coming from Austria, Hungary, Germany and Portugal.  Final version of mentorship handbook under the responsibility of Steinbeis was agreed. ifempower Mentorshib Program will be launched at partnering universities. Handbook is available in English. Translations into German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Romanian, Portuguese and Spanish language will follow. Steinbeis presentation on ifempower Mentorship Program is available here.

Organized by our Portuguese partner, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovacao at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, project partners received multicultural and valuable input from stakeholders. Thus, 57 entrepreneurs from 12 EU countries offered different approaches related to answer the challenge “How to nurture the entrepreneurial potential of women?”. Various workshop methods were applied with the purpose of knowledge exchange and synergies in the field of female entrepreneurship focusing on successful mentorship and counselling programs.

ifempower aims to empower female students from higher education institutions to get engaged in entrepreneurship. ifempower investigates the main roles, hindrances, gaps and needs of female entrepreneurs to elaborate an internationally transferable module for university students from any fields to broaden their knowledge on entrepreneurship related topics and to provide hands-on training for their engagement in self-employment and entrepreneurship. The project represents an innovative and participatory approach by developing a mentorship programme for these students through the involvement of practicing entrepreneurs. ifempower will also launch personal consultancy services for any interested women and an online support toolkit available for the broader public coping with issues rooting in female entrepreneurship.

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MSCA Presidency Conference 2019

04.–05.06.2019, Bucharest: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions to foster Scientific Excellence

Organized under the auspices of Romanian Presidency for EU Council, MSCA 2019 Presidency Conference in Bucharest has reunited more than 200 participants, national or EU experts representing universities, research institutes or private sector, from more than 30 countries. The topics discussed at this meeting aimed to extend participation and share excellence in the future framework “Horizon Europe” Program, career development and researcher mobility, including both the academic and non-academic sector, optimizing synergies between the European Research Area and the European Space of Education. Different awards were offered for various categories showing the richness of MSCA projects: “Scientific Careers for Policy Making”, “Sharing excellence”, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”.

Steinbeis played a very active role during these conference as director of Steinbeis Romania, Jurgen Raizner was speaker at session “Inter-sectoral mobility – MSCA as a tool for launching and fostering collaborations”. The main topics were: exploiting complementary R&I competences of the organizations to synergise and implement the R&I projects; human capital in the European R&I system – counteracting innovation divide, entrepreneurial culture and business skills; opportunities for SMEs/industry, researchers and employers, working conditions. Presentation held pointed out Steinbeis experience in entrepreneurship in research field though concrete actions like European Early Innovators Program or ifempower. Moreover, components from Steinbeis model were explained as a solution not only to inter-sectoral mobility but to entrepreneurship in research in general. Thus, in the framework of transfer from knowledge source (university) to end user (economy), key characteristics of the succesful Steinbeis model were forwarded to public:

  • Innovation potential from Steinbeis Transfer Centers (STC) as driving force for economic growth
  • Economic problem solutions increase experiences and competences of the STC
  • Economic problems very often generate new research activities at universities
  • Customer initiate project start

Event website: www.msca2019.eu

Entrepreneurial thinking is a competence what researchers need to develop. Innovative Training Networks seem the be the easiest and most attractive MSCA tool to approach or to deepen the collaboration with private sector.  Thus, for economic growth we need:

“A new generation of creative, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers, able to face current and future challenges and to convert knowledge and ideas into products and services for economic and social benefit“ (MSCA, Innovative Training Networks)

ifempower. Iceland.

20./21.03.2019, Bifröst, Iceland: 2nd Transnational meeting for ifempower project

Partnering other 8 well-reputed institutions from 6 EU countries, STC EAST-WEST Joint-Ventures from Germany is deeply involved in supporting female empowerment in the field of entrepreneurship. Thus, ifempower project which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union is aimed to implement this concept at the academic level. An innovative module on entrepreneurship will be accredited and launched at partner universities for 2 semesters. The module is addressed to female students who will benefit also from practical guidance and knowledge though the mentorship component of this module.

Project started in September 2018 and it is designed for 3 years during which the research-based module will be piloted between March 2020 -July 2021.

STC director Jurgen Raizner participated together with project manager Roxana Boboruta at the meeting organized by the Icelandic partner in this project. Bifröst University is an active member of the Icelandic and European research communities, hosting many independent research centres.

Priority of the discussions in Bifröst were the curriculum of entrepreneurship studies and the teaching material. Main responsibility of Steinbeis in this project is to design and pilot the mentorship program.

Results of the preparatory research study conducted by HÉTFA Research Institute were presented to partners as primary basis for the 2 days of debates. Steinbeis contributed to this research with interview-based knowledge from 7 German female entrepreneurs and 3 experts from which some are very interested in playing an active role in the future mentorship program.

Mentorship program is one course in ifempower curriculum and it is recommended to be understood as an “organic part of the module”. Mentors will take students to their enterprises and they provide professional tasks or show-up during courses. Thus in terms of practice (internship), students will get opportunity to work with mentors, assist their work, and get familiar with the general way of leading an enterprise. Mentorship program in the international curricula contributes also to promote successful education models, in this case – dual education. Innovative model is to combine mentorship and internship in a project competence study what is to be understood as basis for dual education.

A mentorship handbook serving especially universities but also Entrepreneurship Support Points (as component of current project), describing the complete mentorship program will be elaborated in English language and translated into Icelandic, German, Hungarian and Romanian by February 2020.

Mentorship program will be designed on best practice examples from Steinbeis university and other already existing successful female mentorship German programs which were analyzed by our Steinbeis center in advance.

Stay tuned with the evolution of the project on www.ifempower.eu

Start-up BW Summit 2019

Steinbeis enterprises from Romania and Ukraine were exhibitors at Baden-Württemberg’s major event on start-ups, organized by the Ministry of Economics, Labor and Housing Baden-Württemberg.

Event resulted in a great networking opportunity to present STM’s newest services for enterprises and other actors working on innovation. The 25.000 m² hall of Landesmesse opened for 350 start-ups from Baden-Württemberg and international partner regions, 400 B2B partners from large corporations and SMEs, VCs, Business Angels – and 5,000 participants!

Jürgen Raizner and Ana Turcan took the chance to visit most of the exhibitors in order to get update with the latest innovative start-ups and their solutions. For two ongoing European projects, European Early Innovators Program and ifempower, new connections are established as relevant stakeholders were among the exhibitors. State Secretary Katrin Schütz visited Steinbeis stand and got acquainted with the competence group of Steinbeis Centers in Bucharest, Stuttgart, Uzhgorod and Vienna.

Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann and the Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. Ing. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, were enthusiastic about the high level of response received by the second, even more international, summit of the state campaign. The minister announced to establish the Start-up BW Summit as the central event in Baden-Württemberg’s start-up scene. In bilateral discussion with Jürgen Raizner, Minister Hoffmeister-Kraut thanked him for his commitment in promoting female entrepreneurship (ifempower).

Steinbeis Transfer Management S.r.l. in Romania participated at the event as support organisation for start-ups. Priority is given on knowledge based businesses. In most cases those are established in cooperation with technology transfer centers (Steinbeis Network Romania), hosted by universities. STM also designs and implements projects to foster the establishment of start-ups, e.g. the European Early Innovators Initiative (project of Danube Strategic Project Fund) or ifempower (Erasmus+).

Ukrainian Steinbeis Transfer Management Ltd. is established as a technology transfer center in partnership with University Uzhgorod. Students of this well known and highly recognized Ukrainian university develop promising projects with high potential to become succesful start-ups. Three examples: Compositions of essential oils with wide range of antimicrobial activity | Remote monitoring system with elements of augmented reality for fireworkers | Autonomous Injection Module Device. Steinbeis supports those young scientists.

Both Steinbeis enterprises, the Romanian as well as the Ukrainian, received strong attention from participating start-ups who look for suppliers. Discussed topics, among others: software development in Ukraine, manufacturing prototypes in Romania.

Digital Danube

12.12.2018, Bucharest: Opening Session of 2-day-event “Digital Danube”. Participants are welcommed by Vice Prime Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu (Minister of Environment), Alexandru Petrescu (Minister of Communications and Information Society) and Jürgen Raizner, representing German Steinbeis Centers.

Romania holds presidency of EUSDR. This is both a great opportunity and responsibility when taking into account that EUSDR is in process of renewal. The Action Plan is almost obsolete. Structures of Priority Areas, Steering Groups and Working Groups are in discussion. A sort of leadership is required while the bottom-up approach in designing the strategy remains valid. Jürgen Raizner pointed out such challenges in his opening speech. He also referred to cross-sectoral projects, such as European Early Innovators Progam and ifempower. Both projects are to be understood as models for further actions to promote knowledge based entrepreneurship in Danube Region. It is agreed to deepen collaboration.

We thank Cristian Ilie for an excellent moderation of the event.

Second day of the event as dedicated to discuss projects for a Digital Danube. Among those projects: “Attractive Danube”, an ongoing Danube Transnational Program for improving capacities for enhancing territorial attractiveness of the Danube Region. Sabina Leopa, Urbsofia, presented a helpful output: Territorial Attractiveness Atlas of the Danube Region what will be followed by a monitoring platform. A strategic project of the Ministry: “One team – on stream” for creating a research and knowledge base, connecting rivers Danube and Rhine. This project is promoted by STM and presented to members of Steering Group PA 7 (Knowledge Society).