Living Labs

The Living Labs 2023 edition takes place from January 2023 to June 2023 with 40 students from WU, IAAC, HdM and WIFI, tackling the challenges of heat islands, and food waste/circularity. 

Over the course of six months, students will work in transdisciplinary and cross-border groups to develop start-ups addressing the above mentioned urban challenges. They will be supported by experts from each discipline, as well as great business minds that will aim to help turn the ideas into viable start-ups.

The students will have the opportunity to meet twice in person, once during the kick-off event in Vienna and once during the closing event in Barcelona. In between, the students will arrange online meetings, and sessions will be held at each HEI and VET and online with the business partners to support the development. The support is provided in different levels:

  1. Coaching and Mentoring
  2. Deep-dive into your Discipline (Specialised Skills Training)
  3. Deep-dive into Entrepreneurial Skills (Advanced Skills Training)

During the Living Labs programme, there will be an event hosted called Empowering Changemakers (Cities Network Engagement Roundtable 2023) bringing experts, trainers and students together to discuss the urban challenges and receive feedback on their proposals. More information about the event coming soon!

Living Labs 2023 Kick-off 

During the 1 week workshop in Vienna, the entrepreneurs worked hard to develop their first start-up idea. This was the first opportunity for the entrepreneurs to meet in person and to form their transdisciplinary start-up teams. What an inspiring week it was! 

Throughout the week they had the opportunity to hear from current entrepreneurs, engage with experts in the field, and take part in a lot of team building activities. The kick-off was split into identifying and defining the problem to address, market validation, ideation of the initial solution and a final 3 minute pitch to the Urban Shift jury. 

Each start-up chose a coach that will guide them through their entrepreneurial journey and help the team reach experts that they require. In addition, the entrepreneurs will take part in their own trainings at their institution as well as common trainings. Now it is down to the start-ups to work together and make their ideas a reality! 

Empowering Changemakers

Join us for our first online event Empowering Changemakers!
Hear from experts working in the field of urban heat islands and food waste/circularity!
For more information about the event check out the following link!  

Location: Online on Zoom – Link will be sent to those who registered
Date: 3rd May 2023
Time: 3pm – 4.30pm

This event has now past! See the results here!

Specialised Skills Trainings

During the course of the programme, each higher education partner supported their entrepreneurs with additional skills trainings. The entrepreneurs could then utilise this knowledge and bring it to their start-up. 

At the University of Business and Economics, coving the sustainable business dimensions, sessions were provided on Sustainable entrepreneurship and value proposition. Furthermore, in depth sessions on the Viennese Entrepreneurial Ecosystems as well as funding opportunities were provided. Next to joint sessions, individualized  pitching and funding advice was provided by experts to the entrepreneurs.

Within the architecture and design dimension at IAAC, sessions were provided on the Green Deal in relation to design, the technology readiness level, how to apply for EU funding, digital fabrication at the professional level, and countless design review sessions. During the design review sessions, trainers sat with each group to discuss and problem solve the challenges they are facing. With fabrication experts, the entrepreneurs were able to discuss digital fabrication strategies and get expert opinions and feedback.

In the framework of the HdM „Advance“ programme, the learners receive additional guidance for the development of a start-up project from the initial idea to the business model. This training starts with a clear focus on the chosen urban problem that needs to be solved, the analysis of who has this problem and how it can be solved. Relevant content on the specific urban challenges, the EU Green Deal, and SDGs “Sustainable Development Goals” has been continuously shared with the learners. All sessions support an open exchange and transfer of interdisciplinary knowledge. Training on brand identity, creative communication, and social media management offers a deep dive into media competencies.

Specified Skills Trainings (SST) provided by WIFI, are referred to entrepreneurial skills mixed with environmental knowledge, are designed to foster the participants’ tailor made entrepreneurial and environmental mindsets of the certain talents within a group. These sessions encompassed essential topics such as healthy ecosystem in the company environment, stakeholder’s needs and expectations and risk management. The 4 WIFI SST, online and face-to-face were focused on multi hazard awareness’ approaches that considers more than one hazard on entrepreneurial as well on environmental interrelations in the start-up teams interactions. A carbon management plan and targets for GHG reductions with planned means of achieving ongoing emissions reductions with an offset strategy were in the trainings introduced, empowering our participants with knowledge to apply these in ways that align with their individual goals and the specific needs ofthe start-ups.

WIFI Trainers: Olga Trofymova, PhD, CMC; Werner Kössler; Rudolf Kottbauer

Advanced Skills Trainings

The Advanced Skills Trainings (ASTs), also referred to as Entrepreneurial Skills Training Sessions, are designed to foster the participants’ entrepreneurial mindsets. These sessions encompassed essential topics such as problem-solving, market analysis, pretotyping, the Lean Startup methodology, effective communication, and pitching. Participants were actively encouraged to apply these skills to their own startups, and emphasis was placed on enhancing their ability to communicate their business ideas clearly. The entrepreneurs were also introduced to a broader landscape of responsible business practices, empowering them to explore and apply these in ways that align with their individual goals and the specific needs of their businesses.

Living Labs 2023 Results

In June 2023, all the entrepreneurs travelled to Barcelona for the closing of the programme and final workshop!
During their time in Barcelona, the entrepreneurs worked on refining their pitches, finalising their prototypes and hearing from business experts about future possible steps. To celebrate the end of their Urban Shift journey and what comes next, each start-up had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of business innovation experts and academia professionals. The celebration culminated in a pica pica (finger food) with Spanish tapas allowing the entrepreneurs to network.

The Urban Shift programme resulted in 7 new start-ups. Find out more about each start-up below!

Stay up to date on our social media to see the progression of our start-ups!