New entrepreneurship program at LMU and the University of Augsburg

27 Jan 2022

The “impACTup!” program will foster the development of sustainable business ideas on how to solve issues of pressing concern for society. The State of Bavaria is providing 2 million euros in funding over four years.

© Robert Kneschke/Zoonar/Picture Alliance

How to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to pressing issues facing the economy and civil society as well as the environmental and cultural sphere through entrepreneurial projects is what students and staff of LMU and the University of Augsburg will learn through the “impACTup!” program. The two universities have been allocated 2 million euros in funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Science and the Arts to set up a course of study to foster impact-oriented entrepreneurship, with the program to be integrated in each university’s curriculum. The four-year collaborative project is scheduled to begin in March 2022.

The aim of “impACTup!” is to facilitate a shared approach to fostering entrepreneurship. Research, teaching, and entrepreneurial activity will be linked such that they complement each other. The objective of the joint endeavor is to get academic topics relevant to entrepreneurship onto the curriculum and be able to translate research findings into practical applications. The program’s activities are intended to have broad reach, effectiveness, and permanence at both universities. The goal is for them to have a university-wide impact and appeal to members of all faculties, regardless of discipline. “What is special about this project is the planned interaction between content taught within the individual faculties and teaching delivered across faculties. It will make our study program genuinely trans- and interdisciplinary, reflecting the fact that impact is always contextual,” says Professor Jelena Spanjol, project leader and Head of the Institute for Innovation Management and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at LMU Munich.

Specifically, the two universities will be developing, building, and establishing a qualification program across multiple levels. It is intended to empower students and academics to acquire resilient skills enabling them to found a startup of their own, a company that is economically viable, socially effective, and ecologically sustainable. The basic vehicle through which participants can acquire this entrepreneurial capacity will be the seminars and courses integrated in the program. Building upon these, deeper-reaching impact boot camps will be held to delve into the scientific foundations of issues relevant to impact. And on the final level, students and staff will be able to collaborate with startups, business representatives, and other members of civil society in impact innovation labs where they will take innovations from an early stage to the point of application readiness.

Close collaboration between LMU and the University of Augsburg

LMU and the University of Augsburg will work closely together on the content of the project and develop the programs collaboratively, and will open their program to students from the respective other university. Both universities firmly intend to continue the programs developed within the project after the end of the funding period.

The collaborative project is headed by Prof. Jelena Spanjol from LMU Munich. Prof. Erik Lehmann is the project lead from the University of Augsburg. Lehmann was particularly pleased with the State of Bavaria’s decision to allocate funding because “the impACTup! project complements and rounds out the University of Augsburg’s existing toolset in the field of entrepreneurship in an outstandingly good way.”

The State of Bavaria has allocated funding totaling 11 million euros to six projects on the basis of its funding guidelines for developing impact-oriented entrepreneurship skills and a competitive process in which all Bavarian universities were able to participate.

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