“Moving the Cities” resonates with cities worldwide

The objective of “Moving the Cities” was to address regional challenges faced by cities by taking an international perspective. To do just this, 135 students from six countries collaborated digitally over the course of a week.

How can we maintain our quality of life in old age? What can we do to improve the attractiveness of city centres? What steps must we take to strengthen the innovative capacity of industry and science? Cities throughout the world are facing very similar challenges. The objective of the “Moving the Cities” entrepreneurship week, held entirely online for the first time this year, was to address these challenges by taking a global and entrepreneurial perspective. To do this, 135 students from six countries worked on social business ideas within international teams. They have now presented their solutions.

“The students’ creativity and great commitment truly impressed us,” concluded Carsten Schröder, Vice-President for Knowledge Transfer, Cooperation and Innovation at FH Münster and co-initiator of “Moving the Cities”. 28 internationally mixed teams with participants from Brazil, Chile, Germany, Colombia, England and the USA entered the finals to convince the international jury of their idea in the space of just three minutes. 50 coaches and mentors from all over the world had accompanied them on their path to this moment, helping them to develop their ideas on the joint virtual working platform. “Hardly a moment went by over the last ten days without at least one video conference or chat going on somewhere,” reported the responsible project manager Rolf Laakmann from TAFH Münster GmbH, “across a total of six time zones.” “This was made possible by a new, completely online accelerator that enables the business idea to be ‘sped up’ in a short time, from the outline to the first prototype”, added Pia Töns, team assistant at the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre.

The victory went to “be my hero”: the digital platform arranges for donated computers and IT equipment to be distributed to students, facilitating access to education, especially in developing and emerging countries. Second and third place went to “RecomCity”, an app for personalised recommendations in a city, and “gen2gen”, a portal that puts students in contact with retired specialists. More than 1,000 viewers followed the closing event via live stream on Sunday evening, German time.

Besides generating concrete business ideas, “Moving the Cities” was of course also about the learning process of students: “We are keen to teach them international and interdisciplinary skills and to strengthen their entrepreneurial thinking and acting,” emphasised Professor Dr. Thorsten Kliewe from the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre, who is a member of the international didactics team. The week was therefore integrated into existing courses for the 28 participating students from Münster. In addition to prizes for the winning teams, university credit points were also awarded.

“Moving the Cities” is expected to take place again next year – probably as a hybrid format. “We are firmly convinced that the digital formats successfully tested this year can be a very useful supplement to international cooperation,” asserted Schröder with confidence, “because they enable us to get talented students involved at our universities who may not find it so easy to travel halfway around the world for financial or social reasons.”

“Moving the Cities” is an integrated element of “xRegions”, an international initiative that was recently designated one of Germany’s 100 best ideas for education, science and innovation by the Stifterverband.

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