Laser manufacturer Trumpf has launched a programme under which employees can spend half their time at work putting their own business ideas into action.
'We are offering our in-house inventors even more options to put their ideas into practice. For us, it is another way to promote the spirit of innovation in our workforce and also generate new business opportunities for Trumpf,' said Christof Siebert, head of technology and innovation management at Trumpf.
The company's employees can now found their own start-ups at Urban Harbor, a former industrial site in Ludwigsburg. From 3D printing to new product development for connected industry in the digital age - the location lends itself perfectly to pursuing all kinds of different projects. The site offers many possibilities for sharing ideas and, most importantly, provides scope for creativity. It is appropriately furnished in bright colours. Trumpf has now signed the rental agreement for the creative space of around 400m2, which is set to be occupied by about a dozen founders and two coaches, initially for a period of two years.
Competing for the best ideas
To earn a place in Urban Harbor, employees have to submit their ideas to a jury of Trumpf's own experts, who select the best ones. If the approach is convincing, the employee is initially allowed to spend three months working on his/her project at Urban Harbor, where they also receive support from external specialists in start-ups and new business models.
'The goal is ultimately to create a marketable solution, and we support our employees on the path to that goal with know-how and coaching,' said Siebert.
After a quarter of a year, the jury decides whether the start-up will proceed or whether the employee whose idea was behind it must return to their original position in the company. The programme has gradually been expanded since its launch in summer 2017.