TU Dortmund University Professor Flatten conferred the UNIPRENEURS Award

The UNIPRENEURS Award was conferred on Professor Tessa Flatten in Berlin. © Jürgen Aloisius Morgenroth

Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, conferred the UNIPRENEURS Award on Professor Tessa Flatten from the Department of Business and Economics at TU Dortmund University on 6 September in Berlin. The prize is awarded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in recognition of outstanding achievements in the area of university spin-offs. From around 700 nominations, 20 personalities were selected who have made a significant contribution to transferring innovations into the business world.

Already today, about a quarter of all German start-ups originate from a university or research-related environment. “We want to boost start-up activities at our universities. Professors play a key role in this. They make an essential contribution to the start-up culture at universities and are important catalysts for Germany’s innovative capacity and future viability,” said Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research, at the award ceremony in Berlin.

“The award is a great honor,” says Professor Tessa Flatten. “Alongside research and teaching, transfer is one of a university’s other core tasks. I am extremely pleased about the UNIPRENEURS Award because it gives more visibility to the topics of spin-offs and entrepreneurship at universities.”

Tessa Flatten has been Professor for Technology Management at TU Dortmund University since 2015, and as a member of the Rectorate she has been Vice President International Affairs since 2020. She conducts research in entrepreneurship, in particular entrepreneurial marketing and the start-up personality. Since 2021, she has headed the Institute of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (TIE) at TU Dortmund University as its director, together with Professor Steffen Strese.

Tessa Flatten was herself already active as an entrepreneur during her studies at RWTH Aachen University and able, for example, to accompany the development of the Maui Sports brand in her family’s own business. She shares her knowledge and experience from business and science both with students from various disciplines and with start-ups. She acts as mentor for start-up entrepreneurs in various phases and supports the various activities of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Transfer at TU Dortmund University especially with a focus on transatlantic collaboration.

University Alliance Ruhr organized an event with the DWIH San Francisco in early 2023 that was then highlighted with our article in University World News.

Read the article on the website of TU Dortmund.


UNIPRENEURS is an initiative that supports spin-offs at German universities. It was launched by Matthias Hilpert and Martin Schilling, who were able to recruit partner organizations such as the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft), the German Startups Association (Startup-Verband), Bitkom and AddedVal.io. The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr. Robert Habeck, are the patrons of the initiative.