Entrepreneurship at the BFH-TI

A key objective of our educational and research mandate is to get people thinking and acting like entrepreneurs. We motivate and empower students, alumni and staff to translate technical innovations into competitive business models.

Programme

We offer a diverse range of entrepreneurship-related services in collaboration with our partners. We support our students (degree courses) or staff from research & development (research) in gaining initial business experience. But we also offer support in setting up spin-off companies and in the transfer from BFH to the new company (spin-off).

Programme for students

Gain relevant skills in the course of your studies, immerse yourself in the world of start-ups and get the best possible preparation for founding your own company.

The module uses the ‘Running Lean’ method by Ash Maurya, which is based on the principles of lean management and agile development and is specifically tailored to the innovation processes of business ideas.

Goal

The module aims to create business models at an early stage by involving potential customers. After validation, a prototype is created that is tailored specifically to the customers’ requirements.

Timing

Spring semester (2 ECTS)

Admission criteria

No previous qualifications are required. Having your own business idea is an advantage, but not mandatory.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

Based on numerous practical experiences of a ‘serial entrepreneur’, this module introduces step-by-step the key aspects of building a start-up company. It begins with a look at the start-up industries in the USA and Europe, introducing crucial factors for a successful start-up. It then elaborates the principles for defining a suitable business model and describes suitable financing options for a start-up. It concludes by shedding light on important elements for the successful implementation of a start-up company.

Goal

Students know the definitions of a business model and can document a business (business plan, marketing, etc.). They are able to take the necessary steps for implementation and assess the critical success factors.

Timing

Spring semester (2 ECTS)

Admission criteria

No previous qualifications are required.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

It is vital for innovative start-ups as well as for established companies to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and take an entrepreneurial approach to all activities. The core of entrepreneurial activity is to develop innovative products based on the company’s particular strengths and with a view to lasting trends; these products deliver a differentiated customer benefit that creates the basis for a sustainable business model.

The ‘Entrepreneurship’ course systematically teaches the key steps and relevant methods on the entrepreneurial journey: from establishing the team and identifying customer needs, to iteratively sharpening the offering and concisely presenting the new business idea.

Goal

Students are able to assess the economic relevance of entrepreneurship. They understand the systematic approach to generating and testing new business ideas. Students are in a position to independently apply numerous methods and tools taught in the module. They can pitch new business ideas to potential customer groups and systematically select the business ideas with the greatest potential. As part of the validation process of business ideas, they are able to develop hypotheses, test them on the market and thus make informed decisions.

Timing

Autumn semester (2 ECTS)

Admission criteria

No previous qualifications are required.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

For engineers, procuring third-party funding for applied research and service contracts is part of everyday working life. The success rates show that the challenge of accessing funding sources is becoming increasingly competitive. Being able to generate and develop your own ideas at work and defend them with a view to securing funding can offer a significant career advantage.

This module offers master’s students in engineering at Bern University of Applied Sciences a systematic, practice-based approach to developing project ideas, as well as selling, defending and writing a project proposal with a view to gaining funding for the project. Students develop an idea for an applied research project or service contract and write a proposal outline describing this idea in detail. They present their idea (oral assignment, graded) in a simulated review process, sell the idea and receive critical feedback from experts and peers. At the end of the module, a complete project proposal is submitted to convince a specific funding organisation (written paper, graded).

Goal

Students acquire skills in the development and testing of ideas as well as in elaborating an idea step-by-step to turn it into a complete proposal for the purpose of seeking funding for the project.

Timing

Autumn semester

Admission criteria

The module requires a technical bachelor’s or diploma degree.

Language

The module is conducted in English.

Brief description

Do you have an innovative business idea and plans to set up a knowledge- or tech-based company? The Business Concept module trains you to think and act like an entrepreneur and prepares you both in theory and in practice for founding and managing a company.

Goal

During the 12-week course, you will gain theoretical and practical skills, e.g. preparing a pitch, how to build your team, creating a financial plan, getting to know your customers, working with the Business Model Canvas and much more. You will also meet many like-minded people and become part of the Bern start-up ecosystem.

Timing

Autumn semester (no ECTS)

Admission criteria

No previous qualifications are required. Having your own business idea is an advantage, but not mandatory.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

Are you looking for a job during the semester break and want to get a taste of start-up culture? Bern-based tech start-ups are looking for interns to help them implement specific projects. This will give you the opportunity to put into practice the skills you have learned in your studies, work in a young, dynamic team and get hands-on experience that will look good on your CV.

The internship is open to all degree programmes at the BFH-TI. As the number of internships is limited, a motivation letter from the student is required. The employment contract and remuneration of the student are taken care of by the start-up.

Job applications

If you are interested, please send a motivation letter to entrepreneurship.ti@bfh.ch

Timing

Summer internship (4–12 weeks as agreed between student and start-up)

Admission criteria

Students from the 4th semester

The Entrepreneurship Certificate gives you the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge and competences in entrepreneurship and thus lay the foundation for your entrepreneurial career.

The Certificate takes a portfolio approach comprising theory, practice and system knowledge. You must fulfil certain requirements in each area to earn the Certificate. In doing so, you will begin to think and act like an entrepreneur and cement this expertise through examples from practice.

The Entrepreneurship Certificate is being launched in spring 2022.

Brief description

With ‘First Ventures’, the Gebert Rüf Foundation supports bachelor’s and master’s students from universities of applied sciences (UAS) who are developing an innovative business idea as their final-year thesis topic. The support includes a project grant of up to CHF 150,000 as well as an individually tailored coaching programme.

Goal

First Ventures is aimed at entrepreneurial UAS students who intend to pursue their innovation projects immediately after graduation. The project grants of max. CHF 150,000 pave the way for them to found their own spin-off. For the duration of the First Ventures project, the project leaders are employed by the university of applied sciences and have full budget autonomy.

Registration

May and November

Admission criteria

  • Bachelor’s and master’s students of all faculties and disciplines or graduates of universities of applied sciences are eligible to apply up to six months after graduation. Graduates of master’s degree courses in the context of continuing education are not considered.
  • The ideal time to apply is while working on the bachelor’s or master’s thesis.
  • Project teams are welcome, but formally only one person is the project leader.
  • Project leaders and any members of the project team are employed by the university of applied sciences for the duration of the project. The university must expressly support the project and a letter of support to this effect must be enclosed with the application.
  • The duration of the project is one to max. two years; the budget is between CHF 50,000 and max. CHF 150,000. Additional courses and coaching services amounting to CHF 5,000 can be claimed per project.
  • The support provided by the lecturer at the university of applied sciences can be appropriately reimbursed through the project budget.
  • Funding is used primarily for the salaries of the project managers and project team members employed by the university of applied sciences. The use of university funds is welcomed. Infrastructure, equipment and materials should in any case be provided by the university.
  • Projects can also be co-sponsored by third parties (e.g. federal funds, cantons, foundations, business). However, the aim of this programme is not to plug funding gaps.
  • Concrete plans for the continuation of financing after expiry of the grant funding period must also be submitted.

Offers for researchers and staff

At the Department of Engineering and Information Technology, there is huge potential for technical innovation among staff involved in research or tuition, which can be further developed in an entrepreneurial context. We cater to this by offering a number of different channels to help researchers to make the best possible transition from the lab to entrepreneurship.

Brief description

The ‘Inspire Inside’ programme offers mid-level staff the opportunity to develop their own ideas for business concepts within the scope of their employment. A business concept is a written summary of the entire business idea. It not only describes the idea and its potential, but also deals with the market, the finances and the team. Staff can apply for a time budget by submitting an application with a project outline and project schedule. The budget provided must be used within six months and is monitored through regular reviews. The budget can also be divided among several people, which leads to stronger interdisciplinarity and team orientation. The application is made by one person only.

Goal

The business concept for a technical innovation is examined in terms of its feasibility and marketability and further developed as needed. The goal is to achieve the basis for the BFH Spin-off Label.

More Information

Inspire Inside: Program (german)

Registration

Registration is possible at any time.

Admission criteria

  • Mid-level employee of the BFH-TI
  • In the field of expertise of the BFH-TI
  • Potential for applied research and development
  • Motivation and track record of the applicant
  • Market and growth potential exist
  • Degree of innovation of the business concept
  • Estimated funding needs
  • Prospective company will be founded in Switzerland / in the canton of Bern.
  • The business concept has the potential to create new jobs.

If you are interested in taking part in the programme, please send the following application to:

Brief description

Do you have an innovative business idea and plans to set up a knowledge- or tech-based company? The Business Concept module trains you to think and act like an entrepreneur and prepares you both in theory and in practice for founding and managing a company.

Goal

During the 12-week course, you will gain theoretical and practical skills, e.g. preparing a pitch, how to build your team, creating a financial plan, getting to know your customers, working with the Business Model Canvas and much more. You will also meet many like-minded people and become part of the Bern start-up ecosystem.

Timing

Autumn semester (no ECTS)

Admission criteria

No previous qualifications are required. Having your own business idea is an advantage, but not mandatory.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

Do you have a promising business idea? By entering our competition, you will move one step closer to your own business! Qualifying in the first round gives you access to coaches, exclusive workshops and a valuable network. You develop your idea into a business model with professional support. In the final round, the three best business models will be awarded prize money totalling CHF 18,000. Sign up and apply for one of the 25 starting places at our ELEVATOR PITCH.

Timing

Next course January 2023

Admission criteria

Individuals who are resident in Switzerland and are at least eighteen years old.

Teams of max. five people who are resident in Switzerland and are at least eighteen years old.

Language

The module is conducted in German.

Brief description

Innosuisse supports start-ups and those interested in setting up a business with personalised coaching. Experienced business coaches advise and support you while you found and develop your company and ensure its sustainable growth.

Stage A: Initial coaching

Goal: Your business concept is reviewed and developed further in terms of its feasibility and marketability.

Scope: up to CHF 5,000
Duration: max. 6 months

Stage B: Core coaching

Goal: The economic viability of your business idea is evaluated. You are given support in developing your strategy, structuring your organisation and entering the market, plus legal advice on issues such as protecting intellectual property, concluding contracts, and taxes.

Scope: up to CHF 50,000
Duration: max. 3 years

Timing

Registration is possible at any time.

Admission criteria

The criteria are set out in Art. 23 of the Innosuisse Funding Ordinance and specified in Art. 3 Para. 1 and 3 of the Implementing Provisions for Coaching.

Your job at your company has to do with shaping the future, for example as a managing director, as an innovation manager or as a leader of innovation projects. The CAS Innovation is a thorough training course that equips you with the latest insights into innovation and entrepreneurship.

Language

The CAS is conducted in German.

Companies in all sectors have to deal with the challenge of developing further at all levels. At the same time, their available resources are limited. With the CAS Professional Business Case Development, you will learn to develop and communicate business cases for innovative projects from an entrepreneurial perspective, addressing the market, customers, competition, technology, risks and profitability as part of a network.

Language

The CAS is conducted in German.

Offers for spin-offs and start-ups

Our mission is to enable spin-offs to grow purposefully out of the high-risk incubator phase and equip them so that they can keep the time-to-market short and prepare as well as possible for the market launch.

Definitions

  • A BFH-TI spin-off is a company that uses BFH-TI intellectual property for its business activities and in which BFH members are involved who have (co-)developed the BFH intellectual property themselves.
  • Start-up companies of the BFH-TI are legally independent companies that are (co-)founded by BFH-TI members but do not use any protected BFH-TI intellectual property.

The Spin-off Label is available to BFH spin-offs. The spin-off logo may be used by the company in general communication (e.g. on the company’s website, in a company brochure, etc.). In addition, the company may use the title ‘Spin-off of Bern University of Applied Sciences’. This helps the still-young companies to create confidence on the market and to convince potential investors.

We pursue a business-friendly strategy when it comes to intellectual property. That is, we always work closely with the spin-offs to find the best possible solution for transferring intellectual property from BFH to the company.

Contact

It is possible to be employed part-time at BFH or in a research institute during the early stages of your business. We offer our support for various forms of collaboration and help founders to start their own business step-by-step.

Through the various channels of the BFH-TI and BFH as a whole, company founders can benefit from the university’s reach. The visibility gained through this helps young companies in particular to reach more people with their idea and thus position themselves as a start-up.

Office space

Spin-offs or start-ups of the BFH-TI have the opportunity to use the BFH-TI office space during the early stages of their business. The rental terms are attractive for start-ups, but rates rise from year to year. The purpose of this offer is to relieve the financial burden on newly founded companies, but also to let them maintain their close relationship to BFH. The number of rooms is limited.

Prices Office spaces Spin-off Park

Laboratory infrastructure

Laboratory infrastructure can be used by BFH-TI spin-offs or start-ups – by agreement with the relevant institute or division. The terms (period and costs) are agreed directly with the relevant institute or division, with the involvement of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office.

Your job at your company has to do with shaping the future, for example as a managing director, as an innovation manager or as a leader of innovation projects. The CAS Innovation is a thorough training course that equips you with the latest insights into innovation and entrepreneurship.

Language

The CAS is conducted in German.

Companies in all sectors have to deal with the challenge of developing further at all levels. At the same time, their available resources are limited. With the CAS Professional Business Case Development, you will learn to develop and communicate business cases for innovative projects from an entrepreneurial perspective, addressing the market, customers, competition, technology, risks and profitability as part of a network.

Language

The CAS is conducted in German.

Events

In addition to our offerings, we regularly organise events to promote exchange and information within the Entrepreneurship Community at BFH.

Spin-offs and Start-ups BFH-TI

Our support for spin-off companies goes back a long way. Below is a selection of spin-offs that have emerged from the Department of Technology and Information Technology at BFH.

Spin-off Portraits

Hastema focuses on the development, production and marketing of its own products in the railway technology sector. Hastema also offers other companies the corresponding knowledge and infrastructure as a service.

  • Products: Points testing equipment, dynamic train weighing systems, train monitoring
  • Services: R+D, design, industrialisation and the manufacture/assembly of mechatronic devices
hastema log

Bern Formula Student is backed by 24 motivated students from Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH. Since its founding in 2014, the club has built five vehicles, which it uses to compete with university teams from around the world at the annual Formula Student competitions. The vehicles developed by the BFS team prioritise safety, performance and ecological awareness. The goal is to promote sustainable technologies and offer future engineers a unique opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in an exciting project. Whether it’s co-developing a vehicle from the design sketch to the prototype or planning and implementing events, Bern Formula Student offers its members all kinds of valuable experiences to equip them for the world of work.

BFS Logo

In May 2015, Simon Zumbrunnen and Philipp Haslebacher, two graduates of Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, founded the high-tech startup ReseaTech. The Burgdorf-based start-up manufactures measuring devices for volumes of liquids in the microlitre range. These find application above all in biotechnology processes, in the semiconductor industry or in filling plants for liquid products.

Team ReseaTech
Team ReseaTech

A passion for software-defined radio. PrecisionWave, a BFH spin-off from the Research Institute for Security in the Information Society RISIS, specialises in high-frequency electronics and hardware-based real-time signal processing. PrecisionWave offers a range of standard products as well as turnkey solutions and development services for custom projects. Besides building high-tech electronics with industry-leading performance, PrecisionWave also develops FPGA IP cores and embedded Linux applications that form the core of their PC-less software-defined radio systems. The product applications range from RF security systems to RF signal analysers and radar systems. Based in Solothurn, the company currently employs eight people. The shares are privately owned by the founders.

presicionWave Logo

aliunid measures, analyses and controls energy flows in real time. This allows the energy system to breathe flexibly and makes a renewable, climate-friendly energy supply possible. As a digital power company, aliunid does not have its own physical infrastructures such as grids, transformers and power plants. It supports existing energy companies in the development of real-time competencies and data-based products. The traditional energy industry is complemented by digital business models. aliunid is designed as a white-label solution. aliunid products are distributed by an open community of over 20 innovative Swiss energy companies. The shareholders of aliunid AG include Swiss electricity producers, energy suppliers and IOT developers.

aliunid lgog

healthinal develops modern software for outpatient and inpatient healthcare providers and advises hospitals, psychiatric clinics and doctors’ networks on digitalisation and innovation.

healthinal logo

PRiOT delivers complete solutions in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT). These solutions range from the provision of sensors and the selection and operation of suitable transmission technology, through to the evaluation and visualisation of the data.

With the filter monitor for the smart management of air filters, the roof monitor that monitors the watertightness of flat roofs, and the energy monitor for the remote reading of energy meters, PRiOT offers a broad portfolio of IoT solutions.

priot logo

Led by Dr. Andrea Vezzini, ennos has more than 14 years of experience in designing, developing and installing efficient solar-powered pumping systems. Since 2010, ennos has focused on producing and distributing its own solar-powered water pumps, which are specifically designed for irrigation and drinking water supply in off-grid areas. So far, ennos is active in selling its sunlight pump models in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

ennos

Anastasis is the first privacy friendly, transparent and easy to use key recovery service that addresses common problem of cryptographic consumer products. Anastasis is a multi-cloud solution. It allows the users to split their secret keys/passwords across multiple service providers in a fully private and secure way. Service providers learn nothing about the secret nor the user, except some non-secret details about how to authenticate. Only the authorized user can recover the key by following standard authentication procedures (SMS TAN, Video-Ident, Security Question, email, etc.).

With its online platform, POWDIENCE supports organizations in building data-driven, relevant personas effectively and efficiently – this allows to really understand your customers, thus leverage your customer engagement & satisfaction and ultimately your marketing ROI.

It’s the future of knowing your customers: Create authentic personas based on your organization’s real data and through the integration of Facebook data. Estimate the potential reach, assess the relevance of your personas, lift them on an emotional level by adding pictures, using templates and share them with your team to create a common understanding.

powdience logo

LOCSIM is the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of a simulation software for driver’s cab simulators that are 95 % based on track footage. The core of the software is also used for train route calculations. LOCSIM also produces ready-to-use table simulators for self-assembly. In collaboration with vehicle constructors, LOCSIM integrates simulator components in the driver’s cabin or on a separate original driver’s desk – including the replication of the desired functions of the corresponding vehicle. The simulators can be fitted on highspeed trains, regional transport or maneuvering vehicles, locomotives and tramways. They are used for training and continuing education, for events and in museums.

LOCSIM

There is a wide variety of offerings in the start-up ecosystem for anyone that is interested. Below you will find a list of our partners and other exciting links:

be-advanced works on behalf of the Economic Development Agency of the Canton of Bern and is an independent catalyst with a supra-regional network. As an innovation promotion agency, it strengthens the innovative power and competitiveness of founders, start-ups and companies located in the canton of Bern, as well as those who would like to move here.

Your company is looking for support, but you can't find it? Those days are over for Bernese entrepreneurs!
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The STI Foundation provides support for start-up founders with innovative projects based in the business and residential area of the Espace Mittelland (cantons of BE, SO, FR, NE, JU). They offer financial support and coaching to develop and set up a technologically oriented business. The goal of the Foundation is to guide innovative projects with market potential along the path to success.

The Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne is a private, non-profit Swiss organisation that carries out and supports industrially oriented and primary applied research and development. As part of the national and international network of the Switzerland Innovation Foundation, the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne seeks to generate research investments from abroad, foster innovative performance and start-ups within Switzerland, and accelerate the process of turning research results into market-ready products.

Innosuisse is the Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency. It is a federal entity under public law with a separate legal personality. Innosuisse’s role is to promote science-based innovation in the interests of the economy and society.

IFJ accompanies founders throughout Switzerland by offering advice, intensive courses, workshops, webinars, specialised presentations, events, business plan tools, business software, grant programmes, and the online services for business start-ups and amendments to the commercial register. Thanks to big-name partners, the start-up support is free of charge.

Venture Kick is a philanthropic three-stage funding model initiated to support Swiss start-ups with enough funding to kick-start their entrepreneurial success. Start-ups can qualify to receive up to CHF 150,000 in start-up capital. After each stage, promising entrepreneurs are also offered professional guidance in a two-day Kickers Camp.

Startupticker.ch is the online platform for young entrepreneurs, innovators and supporters. The hub boosts the visibility of young Swiss companies and serves to highlight the diverse and vibrant start-up scene. The news portal delivers daily updates on company results, innovation launches, growth, financing, exits, support services, events and awards.