Spin-Off Competence Lab


What is the Spin-Off Competence Lab?

The Spin-Off Competence Lab is designed as a competence laboratory dedicated to early stage researchers, to whom virtual training is offered for the adquisition of both hard skills (knowledge on intellectual property rights, innovation management, etc.) and soft skills (problem solving, self-management, entrepreneurial abilities, etc.).

How has it been designed?

Experts in business management and entrepreneurship from the SEA-EU Alliance have designed a curriculum focused on filling the learning gaps of researchers who might be interested in exploring how their research projects may feed into business ideas and get into the productive sector. An exploratory survey of the survey of the interests and current knowledge on entrepreneurship and business management among young researchers at the European University of the Seas was conducted in the 2021/2022 academic year. During the 2022/2023 academic year, a series of webinars will be delivered by experts on different topics related to the generation of business ideas and the first steps for researchers to become entrepreneurs.

How can I attend any of these sessions?

The webinars will be livestreamed on the YouTube channel of the SEA-EU Alliance. The contents explained there will also be uploaded to the SEA-EU Academy. Stay tuned and don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best!

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October 2022: Business model (University of Cadiz)

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October 2022: Intellectual property protection (University of Gdansk)

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Speculative design – 11 November 2022 (11:00 am)

Since its rapid growth during the 20th Century, design has mostly played an uncritical supporting role to industry and the applications of technology in our everyday life. In the current crises, we are witnessing a return of the notion that technology will be fundamental to our future survival. Speculative design emerged around 20 years ago to provide a counter-approach to mainstream market-oriented design. SD was known (and criticized) for its ability to create future dystopias for many years. Now, as reality threatens to become more dystopian than fiction, it is important to re-think the role of speculative practice. The lecture will present the state of Speculative Design practice via personal projects and SpeculativeEdu project experiences and will discuss possible future paths for the practice.

Speaker: Ivica Mitrović (University of Split)

Ivica Mitrović is dealing with speculative scenarios of the near future on the practical and educational levels. His speculative practice focuses on the implications of important global topics in the local context, and how recent and emerging technological, economic, social, and political changes will impact the context of the Mediterranean South-East of Europe. He was the coordinator of the SpeculativeEdu, an educational project funded by the ERASMUS+ EU program, to strengthen Speculative Design education by collecting and exchanging existing knowledge and experience whilst developing new methods in the field of speculative design. He is the Head of the Visual Communications Design Department at the Arts Academy, University of Split.

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Grant-funding and equity finance – 9 November 2022 (10:30 am)

All start-up businesses will need early finance to cover the deficits that arise prior to the new enterprise becoming profitable.  Since start-up rarely have products or services for sale at the outset, it is usually impossible to raise debt finance from a bank since there is no revenue from which to make loan repayments.  Unless the founders have personal funds available, the other main options are grant-funding from Government schemes or equity finance from investors who buy shares in the company.  This latter option is not easy.  Prof Smith will guide attendees through the steps that need to be taken when seeking either forms of start-up funding and review that online training programme that may be accessed through this project.

Speaker: Russell Smith (University of Malta)

Prof Russell Smith began his career in business by starting a software company, whilst still studying for his PhD (RAF and King’s College, London) in the 1980s. Products from that company sold in 27 countries. In 1985 he joined the pharmaceutical industry, running international drug-development programmes in North America, Europe and Japan finally leading a team of more than 100 staff. For the last twenty years Russell has specialised in the commercialisation of IP arising from academic research and the teaching & development of student entrepreneurship resulting in the development of the Incumatrixâ„¢ system of entrepreneurship. In 2012 Her Majesty, The Queen was graciously pleased to approve the Prime Minister’s recommendation that he should receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. In 1999, Russell co-founded Avidex Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford and, as Managing Director, raised £1.7m in their first year of operations. Russell left Avidex in December 2000 (after the successful completion of a £10m finance round that valued the company at £25m) to take over Prolysis Ltd, another University of Oxford spin-out. During his time at Prolysis he raised over £5m of venture capital. In November 2004 Russell became Chairman of Surface Therapeutics Ltd, his third University of Oxford spin-out, leading a finance round that raised £1.5m of venture capital. All three companies have now been sold. Russell has worked to inspire student entrepreneurship since 1999. Since 2008, Russell led an annual two-day Doctoral Entrepreneurship Workshop for final-year PhD students from Warwick University and Imperial College. In 2010, he was invited by the National Council for Student Entrepreneurship to deliver its entrepreneurship training programmes.  He is now Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation at the University of Malta.

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November 2022: Intellectual property protection – second part (University of Gdansk)

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Skills to turn problems into opportunities and evaluation methods using creative thinking methods – 23 November 2022

Speaker: Margaret Mangion (University of Malta)

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December 2022: Lean Startup (University of Cadiz)

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January 2023: Speculative design – second part (University of Split)

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Design thinking (part one) – 15 March 2023 (11:00 am)

Innovations arise at the intersection of technological feasibility, economic viability and human desirability. While science and practice often focus on technical solvability, this workshop places the needs of the users in the center- the guiding principle of design thinking.

Design Thinking is a systematic approach to complex problems that takes the human perspective as the starting point for developing innovative products and services. Multidisciplinary teams iteratively go through a work process consisting of six different phases: Understand, observe, point of view, ideate, prototype, and test. In this workshop, we enable you to apply Design Thinking concepts to your idea or daily work. After the workshop is completed, you understand the core principles and main values of the Design Thinking approach and the six phases of the Design Thinking process. You will be able to apply suitable methods within the Design Thinking process, such as creative techniques.

Speakers: Katharina Knapp and Leve Freiwald

As Lecturer of the Institute of Business Administration, Katharina Knapp offers courses and workshops in the field of entrepreneurship for students and PhD students of all disciplines at Kiel University. The goal of this theory-based but practice-oriented program is to increase awareness of entrepreneurial thinking and self-employment as a career option.

Katharina Knapp completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on International Management / Corporate Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship at Humboldt University of Berlin and Jönköping International Business School (Sweden). Afterwards, she successfully completed her Master’s degree in Sustainability Economics and Management with a focus on Eco-Entrepreneurship at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg in 2016. Subsequently she began doctoral studies at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel and started her research activities in the areas of Social Entrepreneurship as well as Innovation Championing, first at the Junior Professorship for Entrepreneurship and later at the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.

After her studies, Katharina Knapp supported the management of EEW-PROTEC GmbH. This was followed by a position in the research project “Development and Testing of an Intrapreneurship Concept for Research Institutions in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Sciences using the Research Museums of the Leibniz Association as an Example”. Subsequently, she worked at the Center for Entrepreneurship of Kiel University in the project “Innovation-oriented network StartUp Schleswig-Holstein, sub-project: Technology Entrepreneurship”. In mid-2020, she took over the newly created position of Lecturer in the field of Entrepreneurship.

Leve Freiwald completed an apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory technician at Bayer MaterialScience AG in Brunsbüttel, Germany. He then studied industrial engineering with a focus on electrical engineering and information technology at Kiel University. During his studies, Leve Freiwald spent most of the time working as a research assistant at the Chair of Radio Frequency Engineering and the Chair of Radio Communication. 

Since his bachelor’s thesis in 2016, he has been working on particle measurement with radar technology, and during his internship semester at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg in the “Electronics Analysis” department, he was able to expand his know-how in the field of electrical circuits and functional topologies as well as economic analyses.

In the course of his master’s degree, Leve Freiwald focused on entrepreneurship, which enabled him to acquire important basic knowledge for the planned spin-off. 

The master’s thesis (Evaluation of radar sensors based on SiGe technology for aerosol flow characterization, May 2019) was about adapting a particle sensor in semiconductor technology for particle flow measurement, building on basic research. With the promising results, he built a team and aquired the largest federal funding for spin-offs in Germany with a funding volume of €735,000, where he assumed the position of project leader. Within 1.5 years, he and his team developed several functional prototypes and established corporate collaborations. At the resulting aerosense GbR, Leve Freiwald is the managing director.

Since January 2022, Leve Freiwald has also been working as a start-up consultant at the Center for Entrepreneurship at Kiel University and supports start-up projects from the initial idea to the establishment of the company and its foundation.

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Design thinking (part two) – 26 April 2023 (11:00 am)

Innovations arise at the intersection of technological feasibility, economic viability and human desirability. While science and practice often focus on technical solvability, this workshop places the needs of the users in the center- the guiding principle of design thinking.

Design Thinking is a systematic approach to complex problems that takes the human perspective as the starting point for developing innovative products and services. Multidisciplinary teams iteratively go through a work process consisting of six different phases: Understand, observe, point of view, ideate, prototype, and test. In this workshop, we enable you to apply Design Thinking concepts to your idea or daily work. After the workshop is completed, you understand the core principles and main values of the Design Thinking approach and the six phases of the Design Thinking process. You will be able to apply suitable methods within the Design Thinking process, such as creative techniques.

Speakers: Katharina Knapp and Leve Freiwald

As Lecturer of the Institute of Business Administration, Katharina Knapp offers courses and workshops in the field of entrepreneurship for students and PhD students of all disciplines at Kiel University. The goal of this theory-based but practice-oriented program is to increase awareness of entrepreneurial thinking and self-employment as a career option.

Katharina Knapp completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on International Management / Corporate Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship at Humboldt University of Berlin and Jönköping International Business School (Sweden). Afterwards, she successfully completed her Master’s degree in Sustainability Economics and Management with a focus on Eco-Entrepreneurship at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg in 2016. Subsequently she began doctoral studies at the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel and started her research activities in the areas of Social Entrepreneurship as well as Innovation Championing, first at the Junior Professorship for Entrepreneurship and later at the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.

After her studies, Katharina Knapp supported the management of EEW-PROTEC GmbH. This was followed by a position in the research project “Development and Testing of an Intrapreneurship Concept for Research Institutions in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Sciences using the Research Museums of the Leibniz Association as an Example”. Subsequently, she worked at the Center for Entrepreneurship of Kiel University in the project “Innovation-oriented network StartUp Schleswig-Holstein, sub-project: Technology Entrepreneurship”. In mid-2020, she took over the newly created position of Lecturer in the field of Entrepreneurship.

Leve Freiwald completed an apprenticeship as a chemical laboratory technician at Bayer MaterialScience AG in Brunsbüttel, Germany. He then studied industrial engineering with a focus on electrical engineering and information technology at Kiel University. During his studies, Leve Freiwald spent most of the time working as a research assistant at the Chair of Radio Frequency Engineering and the Chair of Radio Communication. 

Since his bachelor’s thesis in 2016, he has been working on particle measurement with radar technology, and during his internship semester at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg in the “Electronics Analysis” department, he was able to expand his know-how in the field of electrical circuits and functional topologies as well as economic analyses.

In the course of his master’s degree, Leve Freiwald focused on entrepreneurship, which enabled him to acquire important basic knowledge for the planned spin-off. 

The master’s thesis (Evaluation of radar sensors based on SiGe technology for aerosol flow characterization, May 2019) was about adapting a particle sensor in semiconductor technology for particle flow measurement, building on basic research. With the promising results, he built a team and aquired the largest federal funding for spin-offs in Germany with a funding volume of €735,000, where he assumed the position of project leader. Within 1.5 years, he and his team developed several functional prototypes and established corporate collaborations. At the resulting aerosense GbR, Leve Freiwald is the managing director.

Since January 2022, Leve Freiwald has also been working as a start-up consultant at the Center for Entrepreneurship at Kiel University and supports start-up projects from the initial idea to the establishment of the company and its foundation.

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