In Ilmenau, there is a unique cooperation of different actors to strengthen the start-up climate at and around the Technische Universität  Ilmenau. In addition to the Ilmkubator project at Technische Universität Ilmenau, the technology and start-up center (TGZ) as well as Gründerforum Ilmenau e.V. support those interested in starting a business on site. In 1991, technology and start-up center (TGZ) was founded with Ilm-Kreis and the city of Ilmenau as shareholders. Rüdiger Horn manages the TGZ Ilmenau, Laura Martin is responsible for public relations and event organization at Ilmkubator. An interview conducted by Britta Gossel: 

What is TGZ Ilmenau?

Rüdiger Horn: “TGZ Ilmenau is the first address for founders to get information, to network or to find the support from partners, such as Gründerforum Ilmenau e.V., University with Ilmkubator and others.  Here you will find your first rooms and a community of young technology-oriented companies.”

What is Gründerforum Ilmenau e.V.?

Gründerforum Ilmenau e.V. is a private initiative of students, alumni, professors, current and former scientific staff as well as Technische Universität Ilmenau TGZ Ilmenau, founded in 2011. Gründerforum Ilmenau e.V. founded auftakt. as an umbrella brand to bundle existing activities and actors. 

What is Ilmkubator?

Laura Martin: „The Ilmkubator is the start-up service of Technische Universität Ilmenau. In cooperation with our partners, we provide support in all phases of self-employment – regardless of whether there is only an idea, a concrete start-up project or the founding process is already in progress. In addition to classic start-up consulting, our services also include coaching, qualification and teaching offers, networking events, contact to experts and mentors as well as access to and advice on funding opportunities. Ilmkubator is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and EXIST.”

How do you collaborate with each other?

Rüdiger Horn: “Each of us tries to identify the ideal partner for the next step, because everyone has special know-how for different phases of a company foundation.”

Laura Martin: “As part of the local network, Ilmkubator collaborates with partners like TGZ Ilmenau, the city of Ilmenau and is partner of auftakt. Das Gründerforum, where Technische Universität Ilmenau is official member. This provides us with a big and reliable network – which results in more support for our aspiring founders through all phases of self-employment, more influence on a start-up-friendly design of the region, and a vibrant start-up culture.”

What do you gain from this collaboration?

Rüdiger Horn: “No one can know everything, but together we have the right answer and the right offer for everyone. To make it easier for the target group, there is the initiative auftakt., with Ilmkubator, Gründerforum Ilmenau and TGZ Ilmenau. It is not necessary to know everyone, because we know each other.”

Laura Martin: “With a strong network, the region will be strengthened and the number of local start-ups will increase in the long term.“