Entrepreneurship at HPI

We educate young people who want to shape a sustainable future. We achieve this through application-oriented studies, joint interdisciplinary research on current topics, and by fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. This approach enables our students to find solutions to complex problems, generate ideas, and develop business models. The Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship as well as the E-School, are companions, initiators, cheerleaders, and supporters for all students, scientists, and employees of the Hasso Plattner Institute.

We prepare our students for a successful future. This approach involves practical studies and state-of-the-art research on current topics as well as the preparation for starting one's own venture and the development of an entrepreneurial mindset for careers within established companies. The HPI E-School and the Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship support students in entrepreneurial thinking and acting to prepare them for the challenges of the future.

Dr. Frank Pawlitschek
Director of the E-School: Dr. Frank Pawlitschek; Photo: HPI / Kay Herschelmann
Prof. Dr. Katharina Hölzle
Head of the Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship: Prof. Dr. Katharina Hölzle; Photo: HPI / Kay Herschelmann

The HPI takes an integrated approach to promote entrepreneurial thinking and acting. In teaching, research, and in supporting start-up projects, the focus is on the various facets of digital entrepreneurship. The Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship, chaired by Professor Katharina Hölzle, and the E-School, headed by Dr. Frank Pawlitschek, support all those at the HPI interested in entrepreneurship and new venture creation with various perspectives in a joint approach. Please find below an overview of the advisory services and research on entrepreneurship at HPI.


Team photo E-School & Startups
Team photo E-School & Startups; Photo: HPI / Kay Herschelmann
Team photo IT-Entrepreneurship
Team photo IT-Entrepreneurship; Photo: Katharina Hölzle

E-School & Startup Ecosystem

We educate, coach and support HPI students,
alumni, and staff on the path to founding and
subsequently building up their own company.

Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship

We research, teach, and support across
all facets of digital entrepreneurship.






Teaching Digital Entrepreneurship

We offer courses that impart entrepreneurial thinking and acting. In addition to teaching technical, methodological, and social skills, the collaboratively structured courses are designed to address the specific challenges of founding a company in the IT sector. Aspiring IT Systems Engineers receive foundational knowledge in entrepreneurship as well as technology and innovation management to start a competitive venture with their business idea. The methodological skills taught are instruments from data science, business modeling, design thinking, lean start-up, and strategic foresight. The course contents and team projects focus on current social, economic, and policy issues.

Researching Digital Entrepreneurship

The Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship follows an evidence-informed approach in the research of all facets of entrepreneurship, integrated within the course portfolio. Our goal is a holistic understanding of the effects of digitalization on innovation and entrepreneurship. Current research foci involve digital entrepreneurship, digital transformation, digital ecosystems, and digital education.

The Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship collaborates with international partners to address practice-relevant research topics at the interface between entrepreneurship and IT.

  • Current research activities at the Research Group IT-Entrepreneurship
    • _Gemeinsam digital
    • Digital Entrepreneurship
    • Digital Transformation
    • Digital Ecosystems
    • Digital Education
    • Patients and Innovation Behavior

Offers for HPI founding teams

The E-School and the Startup Ecosystem offer a variety of services and formats to promote startups from the institute environment and to support teams in founding and building a company:

  • The E-School initiates formats for startup-oriented idea generation, offers numerous practical teaching formats, and provides support from the development of the first idea to the kick-off of the startup. 
  • Subsequently, the startups are supported to grow their business. 
  • The E-Space is the place where everyone and everything comes together. This is the place to meet founders:inside, exchange ideas, start a business or just have a good coffee.

The result of this unique infrastructure to support the start-up activities of students and alumni at HPI has contributed in part to the fact that more than 100 start-ups have now emerged from the institute's environment. Most of them reside in the Berlin/Potsdam region. Together with renowned partners, the HPI makes a substantial contribution to the promotion of young start-ups in the IT sector.