ETH Student Project House sets new grounds for early-stage ideas

More than 115 student projects have been supported by the ETH Student Project House in 2021. Many of them are entrepreneurial and intend to transform their project into a start-up. The initiative provides students access to co-working spaces, coaching and workshops to help them advance their projects.

The Student Project House (SPH) is a teaching initiative of ETH Zurich aiming to develop the maker and innovator mindset in students by providing them with a platform to transform their ideas into a feasible business. SPH has two locations, one at ETH Hönggerberg (since 2016) and one at ETH Zentrum (since 2021) that both offer co-working, ideation, makerspaces and event space.

Targeting Bachelor, Master and doctoral students at ETH, the program offers coaching and workshops led by experienced coaches known as Innovation Catalysts. They coach students on topics like working in interdisciplinary teams, dealing with failure and learning from it, testing and adapting ideas accordingly, and are creating a supportive environment where students can flourish. Over 80 workshops are offered every year.

Additionally, participants have the opportunity to obtain feedback on law, pricing, and financial planning to marketing from a pool of experts, which currently has 20 members who support the students on a pro-bono basis. The Student Project House also supports students with grants provided by the jFund of ETH juniors, a student consultancy at ETH Zurich, and guidance in the application process for larger funding from initiatives like the ETH Pioneer Fellowship in order to take their projects to the next level.

Over 3000 makers and innovators born
More than 3000 students have realized their own ideas since the launch in 2016. Numerous of them have founded a company. Among them are Spinoffs such as vertical farming company Yasai, insect breading technology provider Smartbreed and Rimon Technologies, which uses Augmented Reality and interactive manuals to boost productivity. Other launched startups include Bottle+, Digit Soil,Fyn foods, Tethys, among others.

The Student Project House is supported by a host of donors and foundations whose support has enabled the initiative to transition from its pilot to its scale-up phase. They include Franke Group, Baugarten Stiftung, Georg Wacker, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Georg und Bertha Schwyzer-Winiker-Stiftung and Plastic Omnium. Also, some machines, tools and furniture have been provided, which enables it to run two locations with a total area of 1,800 square meters.

“Students love the new space, and we want to inspire and empower many more thousands of Makers and Innovators in 2022”, said Lucie Rejman, Head of ETH Student Project House.