Left and right brain - logical and rational thinking vs. emotion and intuition

Entrepreneurial Potential Focus Area

Transferring original research findings to commercial and non-commercial applications and founding companies built on diversity are among the most important success factors for innovation in business and society. We are committed to developing strategies that enhance entrepreneurial activity, make it more inclusive and improve the application of research findings – especially when it comes to highly relevant innovations.

Foto Jan C. Breitinger
Dr. Jan C. Breitinger
Senior Project Manager
Foto Susanne Kreft
Susanne Kreft
Project Assistant
Foto Norbert Osterwinter
Norbert Osterwinter
Project Manager
Foto Julia Scheerer
Julia Scheerer
Senior Project Manager
Foto Alexandra Schmied
Dr. Alexandra Schmied
Senior Project Manager

Our mission

The innovative capacity of any modern society and economy is largely based on the potency of its entrepreneurial environment. The more opportunities for participation provided, and the more effectively research findings are applied, the stronger the entrepreneurial activity. Germany, however, is lagging behind both quantitatively and qualitatively in this regard. For one, there is far too much entrepreneurial potential across society that remains untapped. Those who do not fit the traditional founder image receive far too little support and face too many barriers to participating in entrepreneur-oriented measures. We are therefore committed to making startup activity more inclusive in this country. This entails sincere and engaged efforts to involve early on those groups in society that are currently sidelined in founding processes. Secondly, research findings are not sufficiently leveraged in Germany, which means that innovative ideas cannot create added value. We thus develop solutions to improve transfer mechanisms, especially with regard to societally relevant and high-tech innovations.

Our work is anchored in the belief that innovation is a driver of economic-technological competitiveness as well as positive societal change. Strengthening participation and the use of knowledge is therefore of great economic and social importance.

Our approach

Through our “Initiative for Inclusive Entrepreneurship,” we identify those mechanisms that leverage untapped entrepreneurial potential. Our emphasis here lies on the obstacles and challenges to ensuring diversity. We focus in particular on women, migrants, young and older entrepreneurs, and those who, because of their socioeconomic background, find it difficult to start their own business.

We consider the following five areas of activity to be particularly relevant:

  • Improving equal opportunity in accessing financing
  • Examining the effectiveness of networks and consulting services
  • Making the dynamics of inequality in entrepreneurship education visible
  • Reducing societal barriers to entrepreneurship
  • Identifying international best practices that can inspire entrepreneurial activity in Germany

Working with a variety of institutional partners, we develop recommendations for leaders in business and policymakers.

With regard to transferring research findings to both commercial and non-commercial applications, we aim to limit the disincentives that emerge in the pre-seed phase, that is, when the decision to launch a business is made. There are several obstacles at this stage that far too frequently prevent ready-to-leverage research results from being used. What skills do researchers need to successfully realize their ideas? How can universities and research institutions more effectively commercialize their findings? How can science, business, politics and civil society cooperate more effectively  in facilitating the use of knowledge, particularly with regard to socially relevant innovations? These are some of the questions we address through our research on good practices, in-depth analyses and discussion forums. In this focus area, we focus more broadly on transfer mechanisms rather than entrepreneurial and startup activity specifically.

More focus areas of our work

Progress requires innovation and the discovery of new ways of doing things.

Reinhard Mohn