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Founders.Week

The Summer School Program for Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Founders.Week is THE week for entrepreneuers! Be there to work on new innovative ideas as part of various workshops and get the tools you need to become a successful entrepreneuer.. Founders Week takes place regularly at the end of September.

What are you waiting for? Get out of your comfort zone and into the Founders.Week adventure :-)

Founders.Week 2023

September 18 - 22, 2023

SUMMER SCHOOL

A week of inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit for budding entrepreneurs and innovators
 

This was Founders.Week 2023

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Founders.Week 2023: Startup Euphoria, Sustainability, and Extraordinary Success

With 30 highly motivated participants, 6 teams, 200 involved individuals, 60 hours of relentless learning, and little sleep, Founders.Week 2023 successfully concluded at the end of September. This extraordinary event celebrated the diversity and interdisciplinarity of its participants and set new standards in sustainability.

Founders.Week 2023 brought together 30 students from Linz, Salzburg, Vienna, and the surrounding areas. This group represented a wide range of fields of study, including AI, management, psychology, law, economics, computer science, aerospace engineering, and agricultural technology.

Notably, Founders.Week 2023 received the prestigious "Green Event" certification from the Upper Austrian government, recognizing the event's commitment to sustainability and environmental awareness. In addition to reducing plastic use, the event featured regional, sustainable, and seasonal catering for all participants.

Throughout the week, the six teams worked intensively on their ideas, guided by various mentors, experts, and workshop leaders. They embarked on a creative development process that included workshops such as Design Thinking, business modeling, and pitch training. As in previous years, the diversity of ideas was impressive, ranging from repurposing chopsticks for furniture production to providing student-prepared meals and a AI fitness device for measuring muscle-building efficiency.

The highlight of the week was the closing event on Friday at the LIT Open Innovation Center, where the teams presented their ideas to an expert jury comprising Dominic Koll (qapture), Christian Kaar (Runtastic, Leaders21), Christiane Tusek (Vice-Rector of JKU), and Elisabeth Berger (Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship). The Upcyklr team (consisting of Halil Metbala, Raphael Weiß, Raphael Luif, and Severyn Tsymbala) impressed the jury and secured a wildcard for the TV show "2 Minutes, 2 Million." This unique opportunity will take their idea to a whole new level and provide access to potential investors and industry leaders. Professor Alexander Zauner rounded off the official part of the evening with an inspiring keynote on "5 Secrets that Make the Difference for Your Startup," followed by networking opportunities for the participants.

Founders.Week 2023 was marked by an intense program, strong involvement of the regional and cross-regional entrepreneurial ecosystem, and impressive pitches. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all participants for their motivation and unwavering dedication and look forward to the realization of many of these promising ideas. Special thanks also go to the individuals who made Founders.Week 2023 as a sustainable "Green Event" possible. We give special recognition to all experts, mentors, workshop leaders, and sponsors who generously shared their knowledge and contributed to the overwhelming success of this week.

Founders.Week remains an unparalleled opportunity for students to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. For those who missed this exciting week, the door is open to join this adventure next year. Intrigued? Be part of Founders.Week 2024 as it opens up new horizons!

Founders.Week 2022

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Founders.Week 2022 - A Green Start-Up Week Full of Ideas at the JKU

22 participants, 5 teams, 60 hours of input, and over 300 cups of coffee - that was the 2022 Founders.Week in numbers.

Once again, students interested in creating their own venture and developing their personal business ideas had a unique opportunity to participate in the 2022 Founders.Week. Founders.Week, a summer school program organised by the Institute for Entrepreneurship, is an exciting week packed with interesting input, a lot of work, and little sleep. True to the motto "Experiment - Fail - Learn - Be Inspired", the participants took on the exciting challenge of developing a business idea and pitching that idea to a jury at the end of the week. The program was basically very similar to past years however, this year's program was quite different as for the first time, the Climate Alliance of Upper Austria Founders.Week presented the event with the title of Green Event, setting new standards to support a sustainable and environmentally friendly organisation of the event.

 

What else happened?

In addition to the Green Event award, this year's participants came from various diverse and interdisciplinary backgrounds, such as AI, management, psychology, computer science, and physics. Founders Week kicked off during the last week of September and welcomed 22 participants from the JKU and the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria.

Accompanied by workshop leaders, mentors, and experts in various fields, the teams worked throughout the week to develop and fine-tune their personal business ideas. The programme for Founders.Week 2022 was as varied as ever, be it design thinking, protoyping, networking, business modelling, or pitching. The entrepreneurial ideas were very different, ranging from quantum computing consulting, a platform for API integration, and a social platform for leisure activities to a lab designed to discover new materials, and a functional alternative to conventional belts. The week culminated in a grand finale of pitch sessions on Friday that were a part of the "Lange Nacht der Start-Ups" at the LIT Open Innovation Center. A jury of experts evaluated the individual pitches and crowned a winning team for Founders.Week 2022. The winning team can look forward to a generous hub,ert package, including tickets for an entrepreneurial course with start-up expert Gerold Weisz.

This year's Founders.Week winner was team VRTEX (vrtex.io) and their API interface idea. Congratulations to the entire team and all the best in the future!

Following the pitch sessions, participants had an opportunity to take part in the "Lange Nacht der Start-Ups" to learn more about the Upper Austrian start-up scene and enjoy refreshments while meeting with other entrepreneuers in a more relaxed environment.

We would like to thank all of the experts and mentors who took the time to actively support students and lend their expertise, as well as everyone else involved who worked hard to hold Founders.Week as a green event this year. We would also like to thank all of the participants for their commitment and we hope to see some of their ideas implemented soon. Those who missed Founders.Week this year can apply to take part during Founders.Week 2023.

What is Founders.Week About?

In just five days and as part of a team, you can acquire important tools to implement your ideas! Is it just a bunch of boring presentations? Absolutely not. You will work as part of a motivated team mentored by experienced speakers and experts.

The topics will include learning how to put together a top team and learning more about design thinking, prototyping, business modelling, and pitching. You will learn tools to advance, refine and present ideas. During Founders.Week, you will meet like-minded people and other experts who are actively involved in Upper Austria's start-up scene. You won't want to miss out as you will learn from the experts and acquire skills to kick-start your own business!

Experiment - Fail - Learn - Be Inspired!

Together with your team, you will have one week to be creative, spin ideas, and implement your innovative ideas together. During the pitch contest at the end of the week, you can prove to the jury that your idea has market potential! The Summer School program will take place at the JKU Linz and you can earn 2 ECTS credits to count toward your studies. Your only fee for the week is €99 to cover catering costs.

 

Founders.Week - A Green Event at the JKU

Founders.Week was officially designated a Green Event in June 2022. Green Events are events of a high social and cultural value that take environmental and sustainability aspects into account. This means that the event quality goes hand-in-hand with protecting the climate.

FAQs

Are you enrolled at the JKU, a University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria, or the Linz University of Art & Design? Are you interested in innovation or creating your own business? Then you've come to the right place!

Founders.Week is a great opportunity to discover your potential as an entrepreneur. We look forward to receiving your application!

Founders.Week takes place at the JKU. However, we also organize excursions and day trips to other locations (such as the Tabakfabrik).

No. You could have an idea in mind that needs tweaking, or you can be part of implementing another idea.

There is a €99 fee to cover catering costs during the workshops and mentoring programmes. Everything else is free (but priceless).