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New Answers for Basic Business Issues

The Wolfgang Ritter Prize for Outstanding Economic Works has been awarded for the 35th time. Three dissertations were honored – one prize was awarded to the University of Bremen graduate Thomas Scholdra.

Using three empirical studies, Thomas Scholdra, a graduate of the Faculty of Business Studies & Economics at the University of Bremen, investigated which influence economic cycles have on consumer behavior on the internet. For example, the studies analyze products in economic downturns differently than in economic upturns, His dissertation received a prize of 5,000 euros. In 2019, Thomas Scholdra completed his PhD with “summa cum laude” and received the Segnitz Prize at the beginning of 2020. He is now completing his habilitation at the University of Cologne. The post-doctoral researcher Roland Kassemeier from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum also received 5,000 euros. The scholar described how companies can fulfil their customer’s desires more efficiently and effectively in his dissertation.

The highest Wolfgang Ritter Prize 2020 amounted to 10,000 euros and was awarded to Daniel Baseg for his outstanding empirical study on crowdfunding as a new form of start-up financing. The junior professor at the RSADE Business School in Barcelona shows how joint company funding, despite there being several failures, livens up the world of innovation and has great potential, both socially and economically, in his work.

“Competition Is a Central Part of Social Market Economy

The papers “contribute in a great way to suggesting alternative actions to companies so that they survive business competition,” says Professor Jochen Zimmermann, dean of the Faculty of Business Studies & Economics at the University of Bremen, in his speech. Competition is a central part of social market economy, which the Wolfgang Ritter Prize wishes to foster. “It is exactly in times like these when state actions threaten to overshadow market processes that it is especially important to assure oneself of the beneficial effect of markets and competition.”

Due to corona, the awarding ceremony did not take place in the spring with many guests in Bremen Town Hall, as is tradition, but rather as a small gathering. The foundation – established by Wolfgang Ritter, one of Bremen’s big names in business – has already honored 90 scholars since1985.

Strengthening Bremen as a Scientific Location”

According to the foundation, the Wolfgang-Ritter Prize with its 20,000 euros prize money is the highest endowed German prize for scientific works in the field of business studies and economics. “One of the foundation’s goals is to strengthen Bremen as a scientific location,” explains the foundation’s chairperson, Professor Helge Bernd von Ahsen. The awarding ceremony and the foundation activities show the scientific commitment of Bremen and what it can achieve in this field. The winners are valuable disseminators. “As ambassadors for this location, the winners of the Wolfgang Ritter Prize play an especially important role and elevate the attractivity of the scientific location Bremen,” states von Ahsen.

University of Bremen an Important Partner for Wolfgang Ritter Foundation

The aim of the Wolfgang Ritter Foundation is to promote science and its institutes, as well as young academics. The foundation was established in 1970 and has invested around 15 million euros in various projects, award winners, and scholars since then. Some of the foundations’ most important partners include the University of Bremen, Bremen University of Applied Sciences, and Jacobs University Bremen. A significant means of promotion is the Wolfgang Ritter Prize, which was established in 1985 and is awarded for outstanding economic works. Additionally, the Wolfgang Ritter Study Prize for Young Scholars is also awarded, and the Bremen University Talks have been hosted together with the University of Bremen and the “unifreunde” since 1988. The talks are an important annual forum for interdisciplinary conversations on current and future-forming issues.

The foundation’s namesake is the businessman, brand pioneer, and patron Wolfgang Ritter (1905 – 1993). He was executive board chairperson and sole owner of Brinkmann AG, which with its nearly 6,000 staff members and a turnover in the billions is one of the largest and most successful Bremen companies. Amongst other things, Brinkmann produced the famous cigar brands Peer Export and Lord Extra. In 1970, Ritter sold the majority of shares, took a step back from the business, and established his foundation. He was one of the first businessmen to support the young University of Bremen. The executive board of the Wolfgang Ritter Foundation is comprised of Professor Helge Bernd von Ahsen, Professor Heiko Staroßom, and Alexander Witter. The voluntary managing director is Gerold Willms. The Wolfgang Ritter Foundation is a member of the Association of German Foundations.

Further Information:  (in German only)  (in German only)


Dr. Christine Backhaus
Wolfgang Ritter Foundation Media Officer
Phone: +49 421 3798584
Email: backhausprotect me ?!pressecontorprotect me ?!.de

Meike Mossig
Administrative Unit for University Communication and Marketing
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-60168
Email: mmossigprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Portrait of a young man with beard and suit.
Thomas Scholdra completed his PhD with “summa cum laude” at the University of Bremen in 2019. In 2020, he received the Segnitz Prize for his work.