UnternehmerTUM, the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship and EOS GmbH plan to stimulate new business models and innovative start-ups based on the industrial 3D printing technology. It is with this aim in mind that the two centres have founded a 3D Printing Cluster together with EOS. The objective is to create an interdisciplinary network of actors from all over Germany.
‘3D printing is going to change the world’ – economists expect 3D printing to bring about a new industrial revolution. In his ‘State of the Union’ address in February 2013, Barack Obama stressed the major relevance of 3D printing to society. He sees it as a potential means of withdrawing industrial production processes from low-wage countries and relocating them back home.
In Germany, one of the leading industrial nations in the world, the importance of 3D printing technologies has been recognised too. The 3D Printing Cluster, which was set up by businesses and start-up centres in Munich, now plans to add momentum to the advancement of applications in the field of additive manufacturing, and to this end intends to build up a strong network of interdisciplinary actors. The aim of the Cluster is to bring together important innovation drivers from science, established companies, and start-ups, to enable them to take advantage of the disruptive possibilities of the 3D printing technology for business and society.
Dr. Helmut Schönberger, CEO of UnternehmerTUM comments: “Scientists at the Technical University Munich have been conducting research into 3D printing techniques and innovative applications, which have already led to the formation of outstanding company start-ups. UnternehmerTUM hopes that the activities of this Cluster will help to stimulate even more growth-oriented start-ups in the field of 3D printing.”
“Additive manufacturing gives us a chance to redefine market accessibility and business models. Solutions will be made available far more quickly and cheaply, allowing us to alleviate such urgent social problems as those encountered in public health and disaster management. The value of team work, which our innovative research already emphasises, will only increase with this technology,” says Prof. Dr. Klaus Sailer, CEO of SCE.
Nikolai Zaepernick, Head of Strategy and Business Development at EOS adds: “Start-ups that focus their attention on applications based on the industrial 3D printing production technology from EOS are important partners for us when it comes to subsequent market development activities. EOS has been supporting start-up business for several years already. These include companies such as Shapeways, who have developed into a very successful player in the field of additive production in only a few years. These companies are quick to learn and employ our innovative technology in creating sustainable products with a high degree of customer benefit. They are continually redefining limits and repeatedly push us to new peaks of performance. Within the 3D Printing Cluster, we are able to identify the most promising start-ups very quickly. At the same time, we can support them in the most suitable way with what they need very urgently for their continued development while taking their first tentative steps on the market.”
The future-oriented Cluster is dedicated to the field of additive production at several levels. Their main areas of activity are as follows:
The idea is that the network will support the initiation of new entrepreneurial projects and develop them into eventual business start-ups. The Entrepreneurship Centres and EOS along with other members of the network will support these teams as they grow into what will hopefully be promising activities.
Training and continuing education
Moreover, a focal point of cluster activities will be the growth of training opportunities. In a variety of training courses and seminars, trainees, students and skilled workers will learn how to operate the new tools and gradually familiarise themselves with the possibilities of this versatile technology. TechShop, the new prototype workshop, will also be giving its own courses, beginning in 2015. In addition, the new infrastructure will allow course participants to realise their own projects, thus giving them a chance to learn from each other’s experiences.
Communication and networking
Events such as the annual Cluster meetings and regular pitch sessions, in which innovators and start-ups present their projects, will serve to strengthen the network. It is planned to open marketplaces too in which know-how such as material databases can be exchanged, resources and production capacities shared and new standards discussed and defined.
About UnternehmerTUM – the Center for Business Creation and Innovation at TUM
UnternehmerTUM supports start-ups and established companies, whether in their formation, business development or market entry. The UnternehmerTUM fund offers capital to promising young technology companies. With more than 20 strong-growth start-ups and over 1,000 participants in their training programmes, UnternehmerTUM plays a leading role in Europe. http://www.unternehmertum.de/
About the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship (SCE), MUAS
The SCE offers training and continuing education programmes in the field of entrepreneurship, and researches and promotes innovation processes and the development of business personalities. The SCE supports start-ups from the world of science and supervises young companies in developing ideas and turning them into marketable innovations. In this way, it is making an active contribution to shaping the future of our society and establishing a comprehensive start-up culture. The Center was established in 2002 by the Falk F. Strascheg Foundation as an institute of the Munich University of Applied Sciences. In July 2011, the SCE and the Munich University of Applied Sciences became one of the first three EXIST start-up universities in Germany, headed by CEO Prof. Dr. Klaus Sailer. For further information, see http://www.sce.de/.