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From zero to 2 million in 45 seconds?

23. Jänner 2020

The evening of the E&I Touchdown is dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as the successful interlinking of university and practice. The event is hosted by the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business), which works closely with business partners such as Microsoft, ÖBB, CERN and more than 100 other companies.

At the Touchdown on January 21st, Prof. Franke, the institute's Director, welcomed almost 150 guests from the business world and just as many students in the Festsaal of WU Vienna. The core of the event were the 34 student teams who presented the projects of the current semester to a top-class jury in just 45 seconds. At the end of the evening, the jury, which included the President of the Federation of the Austrian Industry Georg Kapsch, Dr. Peter Simeonoff (Managing Director of IBM Client Innovation Center Austria GmbH), Nicole Stroj (Head of Innovation Management at RBI), and Dr. Gordian Gudenus (Partner of Bank Gutmann AG), awarded the Best Pitch Award. The winner in the "Bachelor" category was the team from "Specialisterne", which brings together people in the autism spectrum and companies. With the help of interviews and surveys, the E&I students investigated how this integration can be achieved successfully. The "Pikosens" team won in the Master's category. Pikosens is a sensor system developed by researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU). The system measures force effects from different directions. Within the joint project, the students identified fields of application for this technology and developed a business plan. In addition to the two jury prizes, the audience also chose the winning team of hearts. The winner in this category was the project of "POST AG", in which students developed future scenarios for the delivery of mail.

In addition to the pitches, Helga Pattart-Drexler, Head of Education at the WU Executive Academy, led a panel discussion on the topic “Are you ready to be successful?” Martin Rohla, known from the "2 Minuten 2 Millionen" TV show, Haya Molcho, the founder of the restaurant chain NENI, and Dr. Christine Dornaus, CFO Wiener Städtische and member of the WU Executive Academy Board, shared their personal experiences and understanding of success. "If I were 20, I would study again", Rohla replied to an audience question "because without education, there would be no success". "But education is not just about studying," Molcho replied, emphasizing that you should trust yourself to find your way. Dornaus summarized the discussion with her four personal success factors: A supportive team, a boss who supports you, a family who believes in you and last but not least yourself.

The Touchdown once again showed that both large, established companies and start-ups can benefit massively from collaborating with universities like WU. In a win-win situation, students can gain insight into the practical side of the business, but companies can also tap into the potential of innovative and diverse students.

This edition of the E&I Touchdown was generously supported by KPMG, the Post AG, Brandl & Talos, WKO, Vöslauer, feebackr, Heineken, der brutkasten, whataventure, fink, Brindlmayer and Red Bull.

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