Social innovations are an integral part of the social discourse. Microloans, multi-generational housing, sharing apps, carpooling, regional currencies, and energy cooperatives – all of these ideas have the potential to address social problems. At the Social Impact Challenge Weekend, however, participants are invited to develop social innovations for specific challenges in their personal environment. The objective of the two-and-a-half-day event, organized by the BRIDGE university network and hosted by the UniTransfer transfer office at the University of Bremen and the Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship (LEMEX), goes beyond technical inventions and emphasizes human interactions and behavioral changes.
"Apps and other products can play a role, but not as an end in themselves. The focus is on human interaction and behavioral change," explains Fabian Oestreicher from UniTransfer / BRIDGE university network, the central point of contact for business start-ups from Bremen's universities. In addition to a thorough problem analysis and creative brainstorming, the long-term viability of the solutions developed also plays a role. "We are not aiming to maximize profit, but to maximize impact," adds Meike Goos, start-up consultant at the University of Bremen / UniTransfer and acting managing director of BRIDGE.
A special highlight of the weekend will also be the six guest coaches, who are experienced social entrepreneurs from the region and who will support the teams and offer a practical perspective.
The accompanying research conducted by the Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship (LEMEX) will examine the effect that sharing experiences has on the participants. The focus here is on the findings from participant interviews and field observations. The Social Impact Challenge Weekend in December will mark the start of further research activities in which the fostering of social innovation at universities will be analyzed. Through LEMEX and UniTransfer / BRIDGE, the University of Bremen was able to acquire funding of almost 60,000 euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The University of Bremen was one of only 12 universities in Germany to be awarded the "Society of Innovation – Impact Challenge at Universities" funding line.
Quynh Phuong, who is responsible for the academic aspects of the project, explains: "Our research at the University of Bremen aims to gain practical insights. We are researching the impact of the format on the participants in order to test ways of anchoring the topic of social innovation at the university in the long term."
The Social Impact Challenge Weekend in December is a first important impulse to raise awareness of the topic of social innovation and social entrepreneurship at the University of Bremen. Interested parties can still register free of charge, regardless of whether they already have their own ideas or not. All current and former university members (students, doctoral candidates, employees) of the BRIDGE universities (University of Bremen, Bremen University of Applied Sciences, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, University of the Arts Bremen, Constructor University) are invited to participate.
BRIDGE is the central contact point for students, alumni, and members of Bremen's universities on the topic of business start-ups. The sponsors of the BRIDGE university network are the University of Bremen, the Bremen City University of Applied Sciences, the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, the University of the Arts Bremen, Constructor University, and Bremer Aufbau-Bank GmbH. BRIDGE has the aim of improving the entrepreneurial climate at all involved universities and supporting promising ideas with start-up potential at an early stage.
The University of Bremen is aware of its responsibility in the community and involves society as a whole with its broad understanding of research-based knowledge and technology transfer. UniTransfer is the University of Bremen's central interface between academia, business, and society. The experts at the knowledge and technology transfer office support collaborations and projects across the entire spectrum of university subjects. This ranges from business start-ups, the commercialization of inventions, the referral of specialists, managers, and science communication services, to the coordination of school projects and the management of the University Foundation and university fundraising.
Professor Jörg Freiling's Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship (LEMEX) imparts relevant theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of business start-ups and entrepreneurship in numerous courses
University of Bremen
UniTransfer / BRIDGE Entrepreneur Support Network