The TIG: Startup forge in Giessen's Europaviertel
Lack of orders, lack of network, shortage of money: the reasons for a start-up bankruptcy are manifold. The Technology and Innovation Centre Giessen (TIG) therefore supports young companies from the very beginning: Subsidy programmes, internal networks, low-cost industrial sites - all this in the economically strong region of Central Hessen.
Startup Schmiede TIG | Dr. Klaus Schepers, Munditech
Self-cleaning surfaces in hospitals, for which no chemicals are needed? Additionally environmentally friendly? It is exactly this mission that Dr. Klaus Schepers is pursuing and founded a start-up. This has brought a special varnish onto the market that has a permanent antimicrobial effect: Bacteria, viruses and fungi die on it in just a few minutes. And: the paint can be applied to any surface such as wood, metal or plastic. Schepers is the managing director of Munditia Technologies GmbH (short: Munditech). His company produces hygiene coatings for the healthcare sector, for example for sterile light switches in sanitary facilities. "We want to set new standards in hygiene with environmentally friendly solutions. Our goal is to protect people's health by using natural resources," says the managing director. However, it took several years before the paint was ready for the market and established. During this time, he rented rooms in the Giessen Technology and Innovation Centre (TIG) and initially worked in parallel as a management consultant in the technology consulting sector.
"The Giessen Technology and Innovation Centre was a great help to us, especially in the early days," says the managing director. Because high rents for office and laboratory space are a burden for a start-up at the beginning, when orders are still waiting. At the TIG Schepers not only benefited from the free seminar rooms, the low rent and the internal network. Together with regional network partners, the TIG Academy regularly offers further training and seminars. Especially the scientific advice by experts brought Schepers closer to success step by step. Thus, Merck also helped him to develop his product to market maturity. The business development agency of the city of Gießen also helped Munditech with the team of "Ab Idee ok! (Johannes Hübner GmbH Giessen), who were convinced of Scheper's founding idea - they invested in the still young company (more information here). With increasing demand, Munditech's production requirements increased and at some point a larger hall had to be built. The company therefore left the TIG and grew. Munditia Technologies GmbH is now a globally active company.
The TIG Gießen: Room for ideas
But he has fond memories of his time in TIG. "The experience with the local start-up network here also showed me Monetary resources are not the primary resource for successfully building a start-up. What is much more important is a strong network - that is exactly what the IST promotes". Currently, 80 companies from the healthcare sector are united in the TIG. "One knows each other, one networks and it is easy to get into conversation with other entrepreneurs in the same industry. This is a great way to get into business," says Schepers.
The central location in the heart of Germany, the good infrastructure and the research and economic strength of the region also help start-ups that come here. A number of industrial companies, three universities and a university hospital make Central Hesse a hotspot of the healthcare industry. All links in the healthcare value chain come together here: education, research and industry work hand in hand and bring many forward-looking innovations to the market that have a global appeal. This extraordinary interlocking of cooperating institutions is unique and therefore promising for young start-ups in the sector.
"We have accompanied 370 start-ups in 20 years - we are very proud of that", reports Antje Bienert, managing director of the TIG for almost ten years now. "With us, it is possible to rent office, laboratory and storage space from 13 square metres upwards", says Bienert. "We find a suitable solution for everyone here." Schepers also needed a research room for his work at the beginning. So an old shower room was quickly converted into a laboratory. The TIG likes to support young entrepreneurs and one has to deal with dynamic, creative minds every day: "How small start-ups, like Munditech, become economically successful companies - that's what we like to see, that drives us".
In the future, the TIG would also like to expand and open new locations in Giessen city centre, which are easier to reach. "We want to continue to promote innovative ideas and help to make the dreams of founders come true", says the managing director.
2019 Healthcare Mittelhessen: Regionalmanagement Mittelhessen GmbH | 14.11.2019 | https://healthcare-mittelhessen.eu/das-tig-startup-schmiede-im-giessener-europaviertel
[Translate to English:] Das Technologie- und Innovationszentrum Gießen (TIG) befindet sich im Herzen des Europaviertels. (Foto: Alexander Körber)