Lecture Hall 1 in the seminar room building of TU Dortmund University was filled to capacity on Wednesday evening: At the "New Year's Symposium of Economic Education", Prof. Andreas Liening, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, welcomed FDP leader Christian Lindner, former Federal Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück and Udo Dolezych, President of the Dortmund Chamber of Industry and Commerce, to the panel discussion.
All three panelists agreed that the region and Germany need more founders. The main topics of discussion were the financial situation for the foundation of start-ups, the start-up climate and the motivation of founders: Do they become self-employed due to a lack of job offers or is self-determined work "in their blood"?
Discussion leader Prof. Henrik Müller from the Institute of Journalism tried to bring his three panelists into the dispute with "constructive negativism". Peer Steinbrück complained that when it comes to start-ups, the "USA is an opportunity society and Germany is a risk society." Christian Lindner, himself the founder of "a successful and an instructive company," demanded that it should not be a stigma to have "tried something" at a start-up, even if the company fails. A "stigma means to have failed to do something," the FDP leader said. IHK head Udo Dolezych saw the upswing of the chamber district, "that we have become a region of medium-sized businesses," as the merit of founders. He said that they had ensured that, after a severe economic crisis in 1983, the old level of the number of socially insured employees was reached again in 2013.
Start-ups are economic experiments
Commenting on the motives for launching a company, Steinbrück said that founders do not become active out of necessity, but because of their creativity. Start-ups are economic experiments, Lindner said, which require a high tolerance for frustration. Whether the high number of refugees currently coming to Germany will trigger a new wave of start-ups is not yet foreseeable, according to Udo Dolezych.
Unexpectedly, the Social Democrat Steinbrück and the Liberal Lindner agreed that the most successful start-ups of recent years, i.e. U.S. companies such as Amazon, Google or Facebook, must be regulated by the state - in the case of these start-ups, the two already see the danger of monopolies forming.
TU Dortmund promotes start-ups
Prof. Ursula Gather, Rector of TU Dortmund University, explained in her welcome speech how the university intensively accompanies and supports students, graduates and employees with its start-up initiative tu>startup: Thus, many companies are successfully founded from TU Dortmund University. Some of them were honored at the event with the tu>startup AWARD 2015 for the best spin-offs by TU members. In addition, she pointed out that TU Dortmund University's teacher training program makes an important contribution to training educators who will bring economic expertise to their students.
Cooperation with the city high school
As in previous years, the New Year's Symposium was organized by the "Entrepreneurship and Economic Education" Chair of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at TU Dortmund University together with the Stadtgymnasium Dortmund. The event was again accompanied musically by the orchestra of the Stadtgymnasium Dortmund. Prof. Andreas Liening, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, had been able to win former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as a speaker for the first New Year's Symposium in 2012 and Prof. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, as a speaker in 2015.