Kiel University opens business start-up incubator

In July 2017, the University Board of Kiel University (CAU) resolved to set up an “incubator” to promote spin-offs at the CAU. On Monday 12 November, the Kiel University incubator was officially opened by CAU President Professor Lutz Kipp, Minister for Economic Affairs Dr Bernd Buchholz and Kiel's Mayor Dr Ulf Kämpfer. “Academic research and teaching centres can facilitate company spin-offs that deliver sustainable innovation and knowledge-based growth. We firmly believe that science is one of the most important pillars of our economic development and prosperity. We therefore created this infrastructure, in which we also aim to scientifically accompany the topic of start-up management,” said Kipp in front of around 50 guests in the rooms of the former university printing service.  

Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr Bernd Buchholz, also emphasised the importance of the hotbed of ideas that has emerged with the incubator on the Kiel University campus: “We live in a state where our economic structure is shaped by 198,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. However, it is also characterised by the fact that relatively little money is spent on research and development. This is why it is so important for the economic power of the state that a link is formed between science and businesses.”

In the eyes of Mayor Dr Ulf Kämpfer, the incubator opening is an absolute highlight: “We need our own biotopes to help promote start-ups, because they involve various start-up phases: just as the tadpole becomes a frog, we need the incubators for the very early ideas.” This fits in well with the numerous start-up offers that are increasingly available both within and outside of the city and the state. “The incubator bridges a gap, especially with regard to the scientific claim that the Centre for Entrepreneurship raises. This is something we can be proud of!”

Joint CAU/state project

Incubators support academic start-ups before they are established. Such young start-ups often develop during a process of trial and error. In particular, they need space and support. The new CAU incubator offers both: in future, around ten founding teams will be able to exploit a variety of advisory, event and support services provided by the CAU’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZfE) for a one-year period. Kiel University invested around €200,000 in the renovation and conversion of the 200-square-metre former CAU printing hall. The state of Schleswig-Holstein is contributing ERDF funds amounting to €460,000 for project staff.

Incubators: stabilisers for good business ideas

“The incubator therefore represents an additional, important, systematic education building block at Kiel University in the field of ​​start-up management,” says a pleased Dr Anke Rasmus, ZfE director, about the opening. The ZfE supports start-ups in a “guide function by arranging contacts with funding opportunities, potential customers or industry experts. This demonstrably increases the chances of survival of the spin-offs, Rasmus continues.

Vice President Professor Karin Schwarz, responsible for technology transfer at the CAU, can also confirm this: “The ZfE advises and supports its potential founder members in its role as a service institution of Kiel University. Students and scientists can continue to develop into personalities who can recognise entrepreneurial opportunities and implement them in a targeted manner. Our goal is to produce innovative companies by way of academic spin-offs based on scientific knowledge.” In order to ensure close collaboration between practice and research, the work of the incubator will therefore be accompanied scientifically by the Institute for Innovation Research at the CAU, Schwarz emphasises.

Photo gallery:

Eröffnung Inkubator
Group picture
© Jürgen Haacks, Uni Kiel

Opening the incubator at Kiel University (from the left): Professor Lutz Kipp (CAU President), Professor Karin Schwarz (CAU Vice President), Dr Bernd Buchholz (Minister for Economic Affairs), Dr Anke Rasmus (ZfE director) and Dr Ulf Kämpfer (Mayor).


Room picture
© Jürgen Haacks, Uni Kiel

Up to ten start-up projects in the pre-start-up phase can be accommodated in the new CAU incubator.


Dr Anke Rasmus
Head of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZfE)
Kiel University
+49 (0)431/880- 4698


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