Shaping successful entrepreneurs: The story of Georg Bader
Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading business and financial newspaper, recently published an article about the increasing efforts of business schools to include Entrepreneurship in their curricula.
The article (link) titled
Mistakes explicitly allowed – how business schools shape entrepreneurs
prominently features the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation as well as Georg Bader, a successful entrepreneur and alumnus of the program.
The program is introduced as “specifically tailored to professionals who wish to found a company”, during which, “the MBA students learn everything they need to know as successful founders: how to write a business plan, securing financing, plus marketing, controlling, sales and business law.”
In the following, the article retells how Georg Bader gained hands-on experience with the Business Design approach – and had to realize that his first idea was not meant to be:
Within one afternoon, the students outlined the concept for their “Health Rating Agency”, drew up a financial plan, defined the target group, explored the market – and quickly realized that competitors with almost identical products were already successful in the market. “Under real conditions, our start-up would almost certainly have failed,” says Bader.
Such setbacks, however, are an important learning experience that the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation intends to create. Quick validation of assumptions saves founders not only time, but also money they would spend on builing the wrong product. This learning experience in a safe university environment reduces the probability that the students will repeat the same mistakes later in a real start-up:
That afternoon in the lecture hall of the Munich TUM School of Management was not about landing a big hit. Rather, the participants of the MBA program “Innovation and Business Creation” were supposed to learn how to develop a business model from an idea. Making mistakes was explicitly permitted.
For Georg Bader, things worked out as intended. While he decided not to pursue his first idea, his findings confirmed that he had indeed identified an attractive market that is all about “healthy living”.
However, being a successful entrepreneur requires more than identifying the right niche. It’s crucial to find the right people who will provide help, e.g. in the form of capital, contacts, and advice. Joining the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation – and, therefore, the entrepreneurial ecosystem of TUM and UnternehmerTUM, provided furder building blocks of Georg Bader’s future success:
Through UnternehmerTUM, the Center for Innovation & Business Creation at TU Munich, he got to know the investor Oliver Bücken and spoke to him about the potential in the health business and about his desire to set up his own business in this sector. Bader succeeded in convincing the investor – and Oliver Bücken [the current Executive Director of the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation] had contacts to the Munich incubator “Venture Stars”, which was just looking for a bright mind to set up a start-up for fitness food.
Eventually, Georg Bader felt confident, to start a business – and this time, it was not a game. But with the extensive business knowledge gained, a broad network to support him, and the hands-on experience gathered thoughout his MBA, he felt confident to take this step:
In March 2014, shortly after the end of his MBA studies, he founded the start-up Vitafy together with Venture Stars, which sells natural foods, sports nutrition and low-carb products.
Georg Bader’s decision has paid off. Today, Vitafy is a successful business with more than 50 employees. Over the years, the start-up has raised a significant amount of capital – and again, the Executive MBA in Innovation & Business Creation acted as a door-opener:
One year after its foundation, the media group Pro Sieben Sat 1 joined Vitafy and invested a double-digit million amount. In 2016, the Group increased its investment by further 20 million Euros. Bader also got to know this investor through his university.