Consulting Spotlight

Founders’ open day for startups

Steinbeis offers free consulting sessions

Since 2012, Steinbeis has stood as a project sponsor of a program backed by the European Social Fund (ESF) called the EXI Startup Bonus. Through this program, Steinbeis supports young entrepreneurs in the development and implementation of their business concepts. The scope of support covers everything from checking business plans to successfully establishing the companies. Nearly 600 pre-startup consultations have been held over the past two years or so. The aim of these consultations is to provide would-be startup managers with solid instruments, methods, and decisionmaking aids throughout all phases of the startup, and to support these young companies in the delivery of their business concepts.

Starting a business is always fraught with challenges which demand thorough market research and the courage to take that step toward self-employment. It helps to get as much support and feedback from third parties as possible. This is precisely what the startup initiative backed by the state and the ESF can offer. To ensure that startups are systematically guided along the path to entrepreneurship, a multitude of questions need to be answered right at the start. Some of the important issues that need to be addressed include:

  • Do I have the right personal and professional skills and qualifications?
  • Is my business idea promising? What risks might I face in setting up a business?
  • Who are my customers, and how do I best reach them? What sets me apart from the competition?
  • What are my financial requirements? Are my business expectations realistic?

To answer these and possible follow-on questions, people interested in entrepreneurship can book consultation sessions that are funded by the EU and the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Free initial consultations are geared toward anyone thinking about starting a business in Baden-Wurttemberg, who might need feedback in this initial reflection phase. The consultation bonus allows for up to eight hours of consulting and sessions are free of charge for the founder. Additional topics that might be significant for the startup or the business plan are then identified in a full-scale consultation. These fullscale consultations can cover up to 10 days and they are offered to the founders at preferential rates. Anyone currently in the orientation phase for a potential business startup might find it useful to discuss their ideas with a specialist and reflect on them. Steinbeis is now offering a helping hand with regular appointments for potential founders at the Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart. In these private, one-hour sessions, Steinbeis consultants answer questions related to startups and entrepreneurship – all within the framework of the EXI Startup Bonus. These appointments are free of charge.

Ready for the renewable energy reforms?

Steinbeis reports on potential changes

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, has announced his plans to reform the German Renewable Energy Act (or EEG). A number of the intended changes will have a considerable effect on previously planned projects. Viable projects should continue to receive funding, but these will demand a measure of flexibility as things continue to change quickly in the sector. Here too, Steinbeis offers professional consulting.

The most important thing for project initiators and investors to think about is professional planning and preparation. The following aspects should be kept in mind: To what extend is the federal government considering changes to the laws that might affect planned technologies? How will these changes affect profitability and the likelihood of a technical system gaining approval? Adapting to changes during the assessment makes it easier to evaluate possible scenarios. This makes it possible to react quickly to potential changes in the law, as early as the planning phase. The past has shown that intended funding cuts are often kept more moderate in the actual legislative process. That said, it is important to consider different planning scenarios and assessing whether a project will break even, particularly for projects planned to begin after August 2014 (by when the EEG amendment will take effect).

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