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Clique: Start-up coaching within sector- and subject-specific small groups

The event has been held regularly since the winter semester 2012/13 and has ended.


  • Angela Märtin, Research Promotion and Knowledge Transfer Unit
  • Sylvia Tiews, Business Development Dortmund


The Startup Clique is a coaching and screening offer for research-based start-up projects. Groups with sector- and subject-specific competence profiles are formed and systematically brought together according to interdisciplinary synergies.  In customised workshops, the participants (especially doctoral students and postdocs) develop idea papers and identify critical components as well as success criteria based on them.  The sub-project is coordinated by the Dortmund Economic Development Agency. In order to utilise synergies, the startup//cliques are oriented towards the TU's profile areas and the region's competence centres. A total of six cliques are supported in two rounds per year. A clique consists of a maximum of four teams with a total of up to twelve people in one subject area (24 potential start-up teams/year).

The candidates apply with a one-page idea sketch. The offer is also open to academics from other universities and research institutions as well as potential co-founders without their own idea ("team matching"). Three cliques each (cliques 1-3 and 4-6) are supported over three to four months as follows.

The developed idea papers can be used to apply for federal or state funding (e.g. "EXIST Research Transfer", "VIP", BMBF). Participation will reduce the inhibition threshold to founding a company, especially among scientists, and introduce them to further offers from the project partners (e.g. development support from the TU Entrepreneurship Foundation, "start2grow" competitions) or start-up support (e.g. KfW Gründercoaching, High-Tech Gründerfonds, IKT Innovativ start-up competition). All inventions created are examined by the patent exploitation agency PROvendis for patentability and market potential.

Making the project's offerings family-friendly is a major concern of tu>startup. In cooperation with the Faculty of Cultural Studies, the project therefore offers childcare during events, especially during "Kita-Randzeiten". Student teachers work intensively with the children in an adjoining room.  For further information and to register their children for the childcare programme, interested parents should contact the project leader at the following address Angela Märtin.

three men stand in front of a poster © Angela Märtin​/​TU Dortmund
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