The goal of the LAB4DTE start-up center is to provide continuous support for start-ups in all phases of the founding process. The core element here is a Lab for the demonstration and testing of digital innovations. The LAB4DTE connects researchers, students, companies and potential founders within an entrepreneurship ecosystem and inspires novel innovation and scientific start-ups.
FOUR KEY STAKEHOLDERS
The central objective of LAB4DTE (Lab for Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship) as part of an entrepreneurship ecosystem is to bring together the four key stakeholders of a successful innovation and start-up community:
Have the necessary technical know-how to generate innovative approaches to solutions and product ideas
Possess the soft skills and willingness to take risks necessary for a start-up
Possess know-how regarding the practical implementation of innovative technologies, the state of the art in relevant economic sectors and markets
Possess monetary resources to finance innovative solutions and product ideas
Many existing approaches to start-up support are based on the false assumption that the researcher is also the potential and suitable founder. However, this is often not the case, as the researcher / research assistant typically does not have the mindset necessary for a start-up (e.g. soft skills and willingness to take risks). Therefore, the LAB4DTE explicitly and deliberately distinguishes between the role of the researcher and that of the founder.
The central element of LAB4DTE is a physical laboratory for demonstrative and prototypical implementation of innovative solutions and products and for testing their technical feasibility and practicality.
Since the LAB4DTE is not only used for exchanging information and networking, but also for testing and implementing ideas and innovative approaches in a very concrete way, the LAB4DTE establishes itself as a physical collaboration platform and co-working space for the 4 stakeholders mentioned above. The following opportunities and potentials emerge for the individual stakeholders:
- Researchers/students meet in LAB4DTE, generate ideas (inspired by implemented prototypes and demonstrators that illustrate typical possible solutions) and implement ideas prototypically. The generation of ideas takes place spontaneously or in the context of idea contest.
- Researchers/students meet companies and receive support in the implementation of ideas.
- Researchers/students meet committed founders (also students or former students) for the joint implementation of an idea and subsequent founding of a joint company.
- Companies meet researchers/students and receive inspiration and concrete ideas and approaches to solutions, also in the form of specific idea contest held on behalf of the companies.
- Companies meet other companies in order to exchange ideas, discuss typical challenges and possible solutions.
- Investors inform themselves about the state of the art and gain insight into the feasibility of ideas and the prospects for success of potential start-ups.
- Potential founders are given access to innovative ideas and are encouraged to start a business based on proven ideas.
- Founders come into contact with relevant companies and potential investors for both technical/organizational and monetary support of their business start-up.
The LAB4DTE serves therefore as a catalyst for the generation of innovative ideas and approaches to solutions and improved exploitation of the start-up potential of RWU and its environment.