“What sets an entrepreneur apart?”


ZHAW Impact surveyed the participants of the first ZHAW Innovation Challenge, which was launched by the “ZHAW entrepreneurship” strategic initiative. This innovation process is focussing on the development of innovative projects, starting with team building and the generation of ideas and culminating in their ultimate implementation.

Zifei Wang-Speiser, research associate at the ZHAW School of Life Sciences and Facility Management | “The vision is the compass that points the way for entrepreneurs. Their goal should be to promote the common good, which creates intrinsic motivation. They need to be prepared to act outside their comfort zone in order to realise their potential. And failures should be seen as an opportunity for personal development.”

Noel Fischer studies computer science | “Entrepreneurship is not an easy path. Showing resilience is key to recovering from challenges and moving on. Entrepreneurs have to be able to lead and inspire others, be they employees, clients or partners. A sense of curiosity drives them on to explore new ideas, which leads to innovation.”

Aleksej Khordadpour studies language and integration | “In my view, communication is always key. People also often neglect to take responsibility for their own vision and its implementation. Creativity and a sense for the needs of others often lead to great business ideas.”

Jens Haarmann, lecturer at the ZHAW School of Management and Law | “Entrepreneurs are doers who attach greater importance to maximum design and decision-making freedom than they do to predictability and a good night’s sleep."

Valeria Mäusli studies physiotherapy | “For me, openness and creativity are essential for allowing a project to enjoy multidimensional growth. While thinking outside the box isn’t always easy, it is usually a good decision to do so. I believe that stress management and communication are the key to success.”

Raphael Wolfensberger, ZHAW President’s Office | “Remaining grounded is important for entrepreneurs to be successful. An open mind and continuous learning are crucial when creating something new. Determination is needed, as the beginning is often no walk in the park. A realistic sense of optimism is essential for staying the course.”

Maximilian Grau, research associate at the ZHAW School of Life Sciences and Facility Management | “Without an understanding of the problem and the associated needs, it is not possible to identify suitable and applicable solutions. Pragmatism is also required. Identified solutions, concepts and design ideas have to be applicable, practical and ideally as simple as possible in order to be successful in the long run.”

Birgit Fuhrmann, Operational Head of the Technical Communication research and work area at the ZHAW School of Applied Linguistics | “Nothing is worse than not making a decision. You will never have all the necessary information and you will always have to accept an element of risk. Excellent communication skills are required. Both networking and powers of persuasion are key for taking a startup forward.”

Michal Gorbar, research associate at the ZHAW School of Engineering | “For me, being an entrepreneur also means being creative and innovative, finding the right solution and having a plan B up your sleeve. Being able to accept criticism and learn from your mistakes is crucial. All in all, you have to venture out of your comfort zone, face challenges and have big dreams.”

Fatemeh Sadat Daneshmand, research associate at the ZHAW School of Engineering | “Being courageous is a key quality. An entrepreneur should never be scared of failure and should have a strong personality. Other key characteristics include honestly and reliability, both of which facilitate communication in the workplace.”

Recorded by Manuel Martin


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