Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WIN)

  WIN-Team Copyright: © Marcus Gerards  


The Innovation and Entrepreneurship group (WIN) under the direction of Prof. Dr. Malte Brettel places strong emphasize on familiarizing future engineers and scientists with entrepreneurial topics. Individual courses are meant to teach mindsets and concepts that are essential for mastering entrepreneurial challenges. In addition, the courses are also meant to give students of Business Administration and Industrial Engineering substantial insights into the broad spectrum of start-up and entrepreneurial research.

In addition to delivering theoretical foundations of the subject matter, the WIN group attempts to thoroughly incorporate a practical perspective within all courses. High-profile guest lecturers as well as realistic case examples from existing companies provide students with the big picture beyond mere theory.

The strong interconnection between theory and practice is also being facilitated through the RWTH Center for Entrepreneurship. Being associated to the WIN group, it closely supports entrepreneurs and students interested in founding a start-up with a broad offering of mentoring and coaching opportunities.


The WIN group seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the formation and development of new companies ("entrepreneurship"). This can refer to both young start-ups as well as innovation within established companies.

In this context the WIN group cooperates with foreign universities such as Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and Gadjah Madha University in Yogyakarta. Joint research results are constantly being presented on key conferences (such as the Asia Academy of Management) and published in relevant academic journals (such as the Journal of International Marketing).

Focus research areas

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing: A key success factor for start-up businesses is targeted marketing. In contrast to established companies, young enterprises do not have their own reference values yet; in addition they typically only possess limited budgets for their marketing activities. Entrepreneurial Marketing examines characteristics of young companies in regard to marketing, deriving specific success factors startup contexts.
  • Entrepreneurial Finance: One of the oldest areas of research in entrepreneurship is Entrepreneurial Finance, focusing strongly on the question of how young entrepreneurs can finance their activities. In particular, sources of funding are being analyzed as well as the main differences towards funding options of established companies.
  • Entrepreneurial Innovation: The key element of entrepreneurial activity is innovation. New products or services unlock above-average growth opportunities, yet also imply substantial risks. Innovation activities are, however, not necessarily limited to young companies, as they can occur in established organizations as well.
  • Entrepreneurial Accountability: A particular research focus is being placed on how the success of marketing activities can be measured – specifically in online business. In the traditional brick and mortar context, the data basis is often not sufficient to analyse the success of the promotional activities. In an online context, however, tracking systems can be employed for example to generate accurate data reflecting the behaviour of potential customers. It can be specifically identified what advertising channels led them to the own portal and which paths they take when exploring it.
  • Cross-cultural studies: Another focus is on intercultural questions, being pursued through large-sample empirical research. The WIN group maintains research collaborations with foreign universities, with a focus on Asia (such as Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Gadjah Madha University in Yogyakarta and Tongji University in Shanghai). Currently, further research collaborations are being developed and data collection in other cultural contexts (such as Japan and the U.S.) is being performed.