Risk, Challenge and Opportunity

Successful Entrepreneurship in Times of Climate Crisis


The registration takes place via RWTH Online and is possible from Sebtember 15th  to October 18th. Further information about the registration process can be found in our FAQ.

All students can register for a module. If you have not been assigned a place in the project after the end of the assignment and are still interested in participating, please contact sibel.yildirim[@]ipw.rwth-aachen.de directly.

(If you have any problems with the registration or with RWTHonline, please contact Mrs. Sibel Yildirim (IPW), also stating your matriculation number: sibel.yildirim@ipw.rwth-aachen.de)

Questions and suggestions are welcome. Get in contact with us! (Visit us also on Facebook)

Academic Responsibility

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg

Rektor em. RWTH Aachen

Contact Person





Thursday 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Uhr


Online (in person when possible)


First climate crisis, now Corona! Horror news shape public opinion: strongest ever observed economic slump, supply chains broken off, toilet paper sold out! Are we at the end or is this the beginning of a new era? How do we deal with risk in practice and how do we manage to create a new, better future from the challenges of a crisis?

The first part of the event series focuses on recognizing and understanding of crises and their resulting risks and opportunities. For this, we will take a look at how people and society deal with crises. We try to locate distortions in the perception and limits of human rationality. We try to identify where a deficiency arises and how this opens up options for action.

In the second part we take a look „enterprise“ as a construct. Because this is the strongest tool to bring chance. How do business models work? We try to understand what makes up start-ups that have grown out of the opportunities of a crisis. We focus in particular on the fields of energy, (electric) mobility, bio-economy and their challenges and chances of success due to the climate crisis.

Learning Outcomes

Students can relate their individual subject knowledge and solution methods to global, social challenges. In doing so, they can identify current crises and delimit transformations and signs of change. The complexity of such processes is recognized by the students.

Students understand the possibilities of contributing to the solution of global challenges through entrepreneurial action. They understand the advantages and disadvantages of disruptive innovations and are aware of the ethical significance of their actions. They know the tools of a business plan and SWOT analysis.

They consider possible external effects of a successful start-up, know reasons for the failure of start-ups and understand how to try to avoid them.


The program is divided into two parts. The first part takes place before the Christmas vacations and provides a general insight into the concepts of risk, crisis and climate. The goal is to understand the opportunities and risks that arise from transformations and change processes. At the end, students should be able to develop their own ideas for products and start-ups.


Introduction: Welcome to the Crisis!

Prof. Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg
Rector em. RWTH Aachen


Crisis Management and Crisis Perception: How can you Live there? From Human Risk Perception to Behavior after Environmental Disasters

Prof. Dr. Sabine Schlittmeier
Professor for Psychology with Focus on Auditory Cognition


Risk – about the Social Handling of Uncertainty

Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn
Managing Scientific Director, IASS Potsdam


 Example Climate Change: Dealing with a Global Challange 

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider
Chair of Climate Geography, Geographic Institute Humboldt University Berlin

In the second part, we will discuss the contents in the context of concrete climate crisis-related start-up attempts. The students will receive information about consulting services and start-up assistance at the RWTH. The focus here is on questioning ideas that have been developed previously and discussing the difference between a good idea and a good business plan.


Entrepreneur Multiplication tables: Market Analysis, SWOT -Analysis, Business Plan

Prof. Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg


Successful Founding: How the RWTH Helps!

Prof. Dr. Malte Brettel
Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WIN)


Start-up Culture in Germany: Comparing e.Go, Street Scooter and Tesla 

Prof. Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg


Final Lecture: Student Presentations

Prof. Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg and students



Montag 12:00 Uhr

Titel der Veranstaltung



Procedure/Work method

Depending on the course of studies, module and examination, credit points can be achieved through participation.



Certificate of Participation (0 CP)
Project module (4 CP),  to receive,  students must write a concept consisting of a  business idea and a SWOT-Analyisis as well as present their results in front of the course

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