Empower|2|Xplore FINALS

Recently, the Campus Founders’ Empower|2|Xplore program took place for the fourth time. 13 teams signed up, took their ideas to the next level and helped to shape the future.

The objective of the program is first and foremost a reality check. This refers to the founding team and its composition and personal characteristics, as well as to the idea itself.

It is an opportunity to find out at an early stage whether the idea is relevant for the market and whether the user exists. Ideas are not limited to a specific subject area. Anyone who feels the desire to actively engage with their idea can participate and is welcome to do so.

After the participants have dealt intensively with their idea, customers and users are examined more closely and segmented. By means of research and interviews, the understanding of the problem is further deepened. A problem statement is drawn up on the basis of the findings. The teams then deal with solution design, i.e. the solution for identified problems.

Since fast implementation and an iterative approach are our top priorities, the next step is prototyping, and we strive for a “problem-solution-fit”. A problem-solution-fit describes a real problem that is being solved or mitigated by a solution. This “fit” occurs when real customers become interested in the product and desire to buy that product or service.

At the conclusion of the program, teams pitch their solutions and once again seek and receive feedback. The pitch is presented in front of a renowned jury of experienced experts, who can give valuable tips and ask questions afterwards.

On February 5th, 2021  the final of Batch #4 took place – a program highlight for all of the participants! Numerous interested spectators took the opportunity to follow the pitches online. Despite the excitement and nerves, the teams did a great job.

Eva Wagner, project manager at Sparkassenbeteiligungsgesellschaft, was one of our jury members. We asked Eva how she perceived the program and what was her most important outcome from the finals:

“I thought it was super to see the variety of ideas that were developed at Empower|2|Xplore and how approaches to solutions for sometimes everyday problems were worked out. The program is just right for validating and further developing one’s own idea. For me, the most important thing is always that the teams think about whether the problem really exists and whether their idea can then solve it. The most beautiful thing for me was to see that the founders underwent a personal development. It is not easy to present your idea and your conviction in front of an audience. But this is precisely where you can grow and progress as an individual. I also see the exchange between the founders as very important. Everyone was able to learn something from the other participants and thus take something away for themselves. It was really fun to be there – thank you very much!”

Together with Fabian Klein, Startup Venture Manager at Campus Founders and Tanja Bockaj, Managing Director of venture forum neckar e.V., Eva evaluated the teams and had the chance to ask detailed questions.

Afterwards, everyone had the opportunity to get to know our jury better as well. For this purpose the Sparkassenbeteiligungsgesellschaft and the venture forum neckar e.V. introduced themselves. It was interesting to see how much different support is offered to startups.

Benni, our Program Manager of Empower|2|Xplore knows from his own experience that it is important to offer and use this platform:

“Once again, it has been shown that especially with very early-stage teams and ideas, the perseverance in the team must also work well. It is especially important to work on a topic you’re passionate about, particularly because you may not have any feedback from the market so early on and need to invest your time. Some teams found that either the team, the idea or even the passion was not enough and ended the program prematurely. Nevertheless, the feedback here was also good and they were grateful for the methods taught and the new experiences. Campus Founders and the coaches involved also learned a lot again and for this reason it is important to conclude by saying THANK YOU. Thank you to all participants for their willpower and stamina and for starting their entrepreneurial journey with us and taking important steps. Thank you to the coaches who provided advice and assistance and supported the teams in the best possible way with their methods and expertise. Thanks also to the Sparkassenbeteiligungsgesellschaft and venture forum neckar e.V. for their broad expertise, valuable feedback and high motivation to help even very early-stage teams.”

Benni, our Program Manager of Empower|2|Xplore