Let's bridge the gap between theory and practice together

As a leading open innovation incubator, we bring together people, institutions, industries and organizations across all borders. We are united by a common goal: to positively change the world with sustainable and future-proof innovations. That's what drives us. The University Relations Department at ekipa aims to bridge the theory-practice gap and enable academia-industry co-creation and entrepreneurship by building networks at universities to engage students and researchers in innovation programs with political and industry stakeholders.
Trusted by top universities

Our Collaboration Formats

Interdisciplinary and groundbreaking innovation potential unfolds on our innovation platform and in our programs. And this is how it works.
1: Integration into curriculum
Innovation projects are embedded within course curricula, adapted to course contents and structures. ekipa delivers seminars and workshops, helping students develop solutions and skills.
2: Guest lecture
If invited as a guest speaker, ekipa can deliver lectures with different content to students. Contents range from design thinking concepts over pitching to open innovation and “How to startup”.
3: Work assignments
ekipa has developed work assignments designed to guide students through an innovation process in which they take ownership of their own innovation projects.
4: Seminar Series by ekipa
This extracurricular activity, composed of 5-8 seminars, supports students in their skill development through comprising solutions for real-world innovation challenges.
5: Accelerator
Our accelerator product can be integrated into university context. Individual curricula consisting of sprints such as basic start-up law or finance help students found their own companies.
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From the Lecture Hall to the Next Big Thing

In an innovation project between Mainz University of Applied Sciences and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, we were able to connect students with one of the largest newspapers in the Federal Republic. The result? An innovation challenge that not only provided valuable insights into the working world, but also gave the FAZ completely new perspectives.

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A real enrichment: The students benefited from the challenge, which was super prepared by ekipa, and were able to apply their strengths to a real project.
Prof. Julia KühneHochschule Mainz

Turning theory into practice made a success

The HTW Dresden collaborated with ekipa during the fall semester of 2021 to integrate the program Germany 4.0 into the course "business planning". Together with the professors Ronny Baierl and René Thamm, ekipa actively supported the skill and solution development of the third semester bachelor students, delivering design thinking and feedback sessions in a virtual environment. In the end, three teams from the HTW Dresden -more than from any other participating university - were successful with their submitted solutions, venturing further into the finals to work in direct contact with the organizations towards social impact.

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Teaching students not only theoretical expertise, but also directly applying it to real-world issues was the basic idea behind our cooperation with ekipa as part of a curricular integration.
Prof. René ThammHTW Dresden

Universities and ekipa? It's a match!

Within a university cooperation you are part of a global network that wants to shape the world together socially and ecologically, sustainably and economically.
Stability & Structure
Our innovation programs can be integrated on a yearly or semester basis, offering between 3 and 10 organizations with different real-world problems wrapped in comprehensive and compelling cases.
Skill development & empowerment
Working on real-world business cases gives students a voice to change societies and empowers them to take ownership of their innovation projects, actively fostering the development of future skills.
Material support & engagement
A standardized, but individually adjustable document, the “submission template”, determines scope and content of solutions to manage expectations and guide solution development.
Certification of efforts
Students receive certificates for their skill development with respect to design thinking, business modelling, and the MURAL digital co-working software.
Collaboration is key
Generally, IP rights stay with innovators to support putting theory to practice, initiate research projects, co-create the outcome, and build large and relevant networks.
Flexible collaboration formats
Academic alliances are organized in collaboration with professors and academic personnel to flexibly accommodate for universities and students needs.
Networking the future
A key aspect of what we do is bringing people together across contexts, making networking a central aspect of what we do, and providing opportunities to bring theory to practice in multifaceted ways.
Lived diversity & interdiscipliniarity
Diversity and interdiscipliniarity is not only an essential asset for innovation, but also for us as ekipa and will, therefore, always have an influence in our projects.

Running & upcoming innovation programs & challenges

We offer a variety of challenges. Register now for free on our innovation platform to stay up to date about current & upcoming open innovation challenges. Let's innovate together.
Future Finance Innovation Program
Enpulse Challenge: Carbon Management
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow - Tech Ideas of Gen Next
Upcoming Challenges
Let's innovate the financial world together!

Our Future Finance Innovation Program calls upon researchers, young professionals, students and startups to develop new approaches or to apply existing solutions, focusing on building and shaping the future of finance. You can work on 6 challenges from established corporations like Sparkasse Bremen, BHW Bausparkasse, GLS Bank, LBBW, Hamburg Commercial Bank and Santander.

Boost your startup now!

For participation a (desired) company headquarters in Germany is required

CO2 in our atmosphere acts as an accelerant for climate change. Together with Enpulse, EnBW's venture builder, we are looking for your startup ideas to remove existing CO2 from the atmosphere, to make it usable for other purposes, or to create transparency across the entire value chain with the help of verification.

Submission Deadline: June 14, 2023

How do you envision your future?

How can novel technologies be utilized in the fields of education, sustainability, health, mobility, social inclusion or new work to create a better future? Take part and collaborate with Samsung to bring your idea that benefits our society & environment to life!

Submission Deadline: June 18, 2023 - 11.59 pm CEST

Stay tuned for upcoming challenges!

Fancy a challenge? Our platform has got you covered! From AI to HealthTech and Finance, we offer plenty of challenges to foster sustainability, digitization and social impact. Plus, it's totally free to register - just scroll down for our past challenges or find programs that tickle your fancy. Let's innovate together - join us today for an opportunity not to be missed!

Contact Information

Katharina Heby
Head of University Relations & Innovation Consultant
0176 17920076

Should you be interested, please feel free to send a message or request a call with one of our UR managers, who will address your questions and help you develop the right format for your university and specific context.

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