ETH Entrepreneurship - A new central unit for founders at ETH Zurich

The ecosystem for start-up companies at ETH Zurich has significantly expanded in recent years. Thanks to a reorganisation and a new website, the wide range of offers have become more transparent and accessible.

ETH Zurich generates 25 to 30 spin-offs each year. In recent years, the number has tended to rise. But not only the quantity is there. The high quality of the spin-offs becomes evident, among other things, in numerous takeovers. Ten ETH Zurich spin-offs were acquired in 2021 alone.

The high momentum is due to no small extent to the support of entrepreneurial projects by and at ETH Zurich. The support range has grown historically, which has sometimes led to a lack of coherence. ETH has reacted and created ETH Entrepreneurship as a central unit started in 2022 and reports directly to Prof. Vanessa Wood, Vice President Knowledge Transfer and Corporate Relations. ETH Entrepreneurship is the first point of contact for all persons at ETH Zurich with entrepreneurial ideas and projects. The new website makes the support services at ETH, but also in the wider ecosystem, more transparent.

"In addition to the bundling, there are several innovations that improve the services offered," explains Marjan Kraak, Managing Director of ETH Entrepreneurship. For example, ETH Entrepreneurship's advisory services are now open not only to potential spin-off founders but also to employees and students pursuing their own start-up projects. "We organize workshops, information sessions, seminars, pitching competitions and networking events for both aspiring and current entrepreneurs, often with partners at ETH or in the ecosystem.“ 

The ongoing expansion of the support services continues. For example, a new, larger biosafety lab for Pioneer Fellows and spin-off projects was recently inaugurated in the Biotechnopark in Schlieren. Additionally, ETH Zurich is planning a new «ETH Centre for Students and Entrepreneurs» (HIC) on the Hönggerberg campus in order to offer students and entrepreneurial talents the space they need to develop and implement their ideas, and to intensify interdisciplinary collaboration between student organisations and entrepreneurial initiatives.

(Stefan Kyora)