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Mini-Accelerator “what's next?” prepares 13 life science teams for starting up a company


Four-week program prepared life science teams for the concrete challenges of starting up a company. Topics ranged from the limited liability company statute and investor contracts, through leadership skills and personnel development, to internal and external accounting. The Mini-Accelerator at the Heidelberg Technology Park was organized by Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. and funded by the Local Training Initiative of EIT Health Germany.

State support programs such as EXIST Transfer of Research or GO-Bio are a good funding option for start-up teams wanting to develop their research results to market maturity by starting up a company. An important advantage is that these start-up projects may remain in the research facility and prepare for the transition to the corporate scene in familiar surroundings and with the same equipment for up to three years. This is a readily chosen path for the creation of high-tech start-ups in Heidelberg and the surrounding areas too.

But the formation of a limited liability company and the involvement of investors is usually inevitable by the end of this grace period at the latest. Start-up teams must stand on their own two feet from one day to the next. Designated managing directors have to handle the formal and business affairs of the young company, apart from managing the project. This is a complex and, in some aspects, even risky activity.

This is precisely where what’s next?, the new Mini-Accelerator program of Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V., comes in. The essential elements of starting up a company were presented on four afternoons: the statute and investor contracts, leadership skills and personnel development, and accounting. The title “what's next?” was the constant guiding principle: What are the next concrete steps in actually starting up a company?

Two people from each of the 13 teams that had applied for the program participated in the individual seminars. Consequently, the conference room at the Heidelberg Technology Park was quite full on October 28, 2016: 18 participants put forward many questions about legal fundamentals. Philipp Bollacher from Reiserer Biesinger and Kai Grunwald from Weitnauer, both lawyers, enthusiastically guided the group through the legal challenges involved in starting up a limited liability company. Be it the statute, shareholder agreement or investor contract: the high relevance of these issues became apparent due to the participants’ many diverse questions. 

Julia Schäfer, director of the Health Care Executive Search division at Kienbaum International Consultants, continued the series of events on November 4, 2016 with a session on leadership skills.  The participants not only addressed the trends and risks of work 4.0, but also animatedly discussed the various leadership models and possibilities for self-control and potential development.

A week later, Julia Schäfer once again welcomed the group to a session on personnel recruitment. The recruiting expert guided the participants through the recruiting process with concrete examples and recommended actions, and discussed interview techniques for personnel and job interviews. The session also addressed the different roles in the corporate structure and highlighted the relevance of candidate experience. 

Bennet Jakob from the auditing firm EY concluded the specialized seminar series on November 25, 2016. The auditor and tax consultant discussed the relevance of internal and external accounting with great didactic skill. Here too, the questions were highly specific: What obligations and deadlines must future managing directors consider with respect to tax returns and publications? How do you organize bookkeeping that addresses the cost requirements of start-ups and simultaneously the information requirements of investors? When is it really worthwhile to think about fiscal leeway? Bennet Jakob left no question unanswered.

A celebratory dinner for all participants and speakers concluded the program. Participants again had the opportunity to ask the speakers any questions that arose and to enhance the network and the exchange between the different start-up teams that had developed during the program. 

“As part of the EIT Health Accelerator, local training for start-up teams should provide the necessary tools for starting up a company in a compact and interactive form,” explained Dr. Bodo Brückner, Entrepreneurship Manager at EIT Health Germany, as a sidenote at the closing event. The Accelerator program is organized by Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. and funded by EIT Health Germany. This body of the European Union is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.


19.12.2016 - 16:10