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MCEI Year End Review 2021 - Happy Holidays

MCEI Year End Review 2021 - Happy Holidays

In accordance with the university policy to help fight the current COVID-19 pandemic, MCEI and the Chair of SME Research and Entrepreneurship conducted its teaching online for the spring and fall semester 2021. The sessions took place on Zoom. Unfortunatly, this meant that networking, which usually represents a major part of the entrepreneurship experience we offer, couldnt take place like it used to. So we tried to make our online activitities as interactive as possible and to offer at least some real life Startup Lounges in fall semester.

After all we can say that the approach worked out very well and we are really proud of our students and participants who adopted so well to the difficult situation. Given this background the entrepreneurial journey was still amazing.

In the following we will provide you with more detailed information on our teaching activities, support programs and events.



The last semester we were offering a total of five courses. This included our accelerator style classes MAN 631 Creativity and Entrepreneurship in Practice and MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit. In MAN 631 we had four student teams developing new ideas and setting up their startups. They were Greenward, EasyGrow, FreshStart and Dein Pausenbrot. Greenwards promotes sustainability by measuring a user’s impact on CO2 savings by tracking their mobility behavior as well as their lifestyle choices. EasyGrow aims to become the HelloFresh for Homegardening. FreshStart tries to empower the Generation Z to bring forward their own business ideas. Dein Pausenbrot is a provider of pre-prepared snacks for in-between classes, directly delivered to schools.

In MAN 633 two student startups joined the course and developed their ideas further: LeadNow and ZeroPeak. The teams completed a huge development over the last months and took a great leap forward in their path to success. They all pitched before an external jury at the end of the semester and convinced the expertes of their idea. Thanks for a great semester and keep on guys!

For a more theoretical perspective on entrepreneurship, we were offering MAN 630 Introduction to EntrepreneurshipMAN 634 Entrepreneurial Behaviour and MAN 635 Social Entrepreneurship. In our lecture we were delighted to have some inspiring guest talks by Philipp Ortwein (Managing Director & Co-Founder of Instafreight), Georg Harenberg (CEO & Co-Founder of Caras), Dr. Michael Hoeck (CEO & Co-Founder of 5P Capital), Dr. Frank Freund (CEO & Co-Founder of Weltsparen) and Johannes Britsch (CEO & Co-Founder of contagt).



In our Inside the Venture format, that enables students to spend time working on a real-life startup project and contributing to its success, we had multiple projects. In the context of our accelerator course MAN 633 Entrepreneurial Spirit, there were projects with Decorami, die Dose, Himalaya, Tanso and Yab, in which students contributed to the startup´s success. The response from the startups was overwhelming altough the restrictions made it sometimes harder for the teams to collaborate on their projects. However, the online format made it also possible to include startups with Uni Mannheim founders from Frankfurt and Munich. The teams impressed with their project results and are delighted the format continues to support startups of our ecosystem and beyond. 


Inspirational Events

Due to the situation, our Startup Lounges were held online in the beginning of the year but we later were able to move to live events again in fall. As you all know, our long time place to be, the cafe L3, was closed for renovation this year, so this wont be an option for the upcoming years. After intensive searches and much discussion with possible partners, we settled on Tiffany in the quadrate for this semester, and it has been a blast. The three live startup lounges there were amazing with lots of networking, good conversation, and amazing startups. 

The first Startup Lounge was with Florian Fischer from Styx Urban Investment. Styx Urban Investments invests in entrepreneurs who reimagine and innovate urban living. The Mannheim based VC firm launched early 2021 and was founded by Florian Fischer, David Zwilling and Marcel Hauptenbuchner and invests in startups with tangible use cases in the Styx Living Lab.

The second Startup Lounge this semester was Shroome. Shroome aims to establish, optimize, and commercialize a mushroom culture for the first time, making its fruiting bodies and meat substitute products thereof available to the masses.

Then followed NOX - Euer Probenraum. Lilli Leirich and Carsten Huber from NOX Euer Proberaum developed a digital sharing system and hourly rental for musicians and creative professionals from all over Germany. As a result urgently needed rehearsal rooms and studios can be provided.

As usual the semester ended with our pitch battle. This semester LeadNow and ZeroPeak fought for the crown of the most innovative startup we have seen in our courses this semester. Leadnow makes it easier for companies to find and book influencers for advertising campaigns on social media. ZeroPeak helps to overcome challenges of new work and the hybrid workplace. They solve fundamental problems in the use of digital devices. Their first product, the StorageBoard, solves connectivity problems and allows you to connect anything, anytime.

Last but not least we were able to offer a Startup Basics Workshop in cooperation Q-Summit, thinc! and Enactus Mannheim.

Despite the unusual circumstances we would like to thank all our supporters, partners, and program participants for living the entrepreneurial spirit and making these formats happen! We are already looking forward to the spring semester!!

More news about the MCEI

With Megan we welcome a new member joining our team. Megan is responsible for event organisation and promotion on social media.

As in previous semesters MCEI kept close contact with the University of Mannheim, Mannheim University of Applied Science, the University of Heidelberg and the KIT in different formats and projects. We intensified the cooperations in the Deep Tech Hub and the engagement in the KI Garage and Mannheim Research Group in Culture, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MARCIE)


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  • University of Mannheim
  • Institut für Mittelstandsforschung
  • Gründerverbund
  • ESF
  • Europäische Union
  • Baden-Württemberg - Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft
  • Absolventum