Entrepreneurship is more than start-ups

NewIn:   Anne Tryba.
NewIn: Anne Tryba.

NewIn: Anne Tryba

Many problems can be solved with an entrepreneurial mindset and approach. Prof. Anne Tryba is conducting research into how this ability can be taught. In this issue of NewIn, she discusses what this has to do with the concerns of many students and her own experiences.

People who frequent the Entrepreneurship Center on Campus Garching are generally thinking about business plans, financing rounds and the success stories of the start-ups that are launched and supported here. Now, however, a researcher is working at the center who says: "I also want to reach those people who do not wish to create a start-up."

When many students and researchers hear the word entrepreneurship, they immediately associate it with the idea of starting their own business. Many people could never see themselves heading a company, however. As a result, it would simply not occur to them to utilize the wide range of entrepreneurship offers available. "The definition of entrepreneurship is certainly not limited to start-ups," says Prof. Tryba. "It’s more about having an entrepreneurial mindset. About wanting to create something new and using your own potential to actively solve problems." Which competencies does a person need to achieve a lasting impact with this mindset and approach to work? And how can these skills be acquired and taught? The new Professorship of Entrepreneurial Education , held by Prof. Tryba, addresses these questions.

"This course changed my life"

But that does not mean that Anne Tryba would have no interest in start-ups - especially in view of the fact that she co-founded one. After completing her degree in business studies, she worked for a consultancy and a major telecommunications company, where she mentored start-up teams in the company’s accelerator. "I was fascinated by how the teams worked and made decisions." Tryba established a start-up for sustainable children’s clothing with friends. She continued to take an interest in various team dynamics and the conditions for entrepreneurial projects and wished to explore these topics in greater depth. Tryba left the start-up and decided to pursue a doctorate and a career in research.

After working at the University of Luxembourg and the Munich Business School, she arrived at TUM, where she had already conducted research during her postdoc period. "The mentality of the people here and TUM’s commitment to be an entrepreneurial university are a perfect fit for my field of research. Our common goal is for every graduate to leave TUM with an entrepreneurial mindset." Last semester Tryba launched the ChangeMakers course format with the design professor Annette Diefenthaler. It brings together participants from all schools in interdisciplinary teams to work on a practical solution to a societal problem. In doing so, they learn entrepreneurship and design methods.

"We want to help students to gain a clear sense of: What is my passion? Who am I and what problem do I want to tackle?" For Anne Tryba, this is about more than the career success of the graduates. "We are constantly reminded of how many young people are concerned about the future due to climate change and other crises. With our research, we want to find out: How can entrepreneurial skills help people to become more confident in the face of these challenges?" The best moments in Tryba’s work are the affirmations from students: "I’ve heard more than once: This course changed my life. I’ve thought about entirely new things."