Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy

Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy (TEA) 2017


Week 1: University of Graz - Entrepreneurship - March 4 - 10, 2017


Arrival Day: Montclair State University Students Arrive in Graz, Austria

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Pre-Opening & Arriving Day: Welcome Reception and City Tour at Rathaus Graz, Austria

The arriving Americans could get a first glimpse of Graz during the city tour. Before falling into bed after the exhausting travels, the City of Graz hosted a marvelous reception at the City Hall, honoring the program and most importantly, the American guests.

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Thank you to City Councilor Elisabeth Potzinger, representing Mayor Siegfried Nagl, for the very warm welcome. A special Thank you goes to Mag. Maximilian Mazelle for organizing the support of the City of Graz.


Day 1: Idea Creation and Team Formation at the Univeristy of Graz

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Day 1: Idea Creation and Team Formation at the University of Graz, Austria

In a very cordial tone, Professor Gutschelhofer officially opened the First Annual Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy Graz-Montclair, thanking the American representatives, Jason Frasca and Iain Kerr for their work and the Austrian Orga team. After receiving a gift from the Americans, Prof. Gutschelhofer offered the floor to the first speaker Stephan Kardos for his creativity session. Everyone then fully focused on getting to know each other, being creative, creating business ideas, forming a team and finally pitching for the first time (and well not for the last time) together.

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The afternoon was filled with creativity and innovation exercises that led to student pitches and team formations.


Day 2: Business Model Generation at Meerscheinschlossl

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The welcome address of the President of the University of Graz Christa Neuper, was a great start into the day! After that, the different cultures got worked out by Prof. Maierhofer in a discussion with the students – thank you Roberta! Then the teams dove into the Business Model Canvases and developed the first draft of a business model for their future businesses.

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The combination of a historical venue and talking about future businesses was very inspirational. Also mind-blowing: perfect collaboration of the Graz and the Montclair expert teams. A big „Thank you“ goes to President Neuper for the support of the program.


Day 3 - Marketing & Customer Validation at the Needle in Graz, Austria

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Every good day starts and ends with a pitch! The location this time – the Needle – was perfect for TEA. On the schedule: Marketing session by Thiemo of Fifteen Seconds which was mentioned as a big highlight of the program by the students – Thank you Thiemo!

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The day was followed by the customer validation and finalized by the recption hosted by Overseas Neighbors and Maxie Uray-Fricks address on behalf of the club. Thank you for hosting us, Maxie!


Day 4: Customer Experience at AVL in Graz, Austria

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The field trip day was another very special one. Hosted by AVL, we got insights into one of the most innovative companies in their field worldwide. Big thanks goes to Cathy List for the support of the program and for welcoming us at AVL.

On this day we also had great guest speakers from the startup scene in Graz. Thank you to Stefan from Sunnybag, Thomas from Appers and Christoph from Crosscloud for the insights of your success stories. The afternoon-session was on the topic „customer experience“ by Hannes Robier from Youspi.

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So few pictures? No pictures permitted inside the AVL facility... Top secret! So much fun - but memories only for those who attended.


Day 5 - Business Location Challenge at WKO Styria

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e call it the business location day. Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, we worked intensively on the topic business location. Great insights also into doing business in the US as a Styrian Startup (Thanks to Andreas from CSDlabs), angel investing in Austria (Thanks to Lisa from AAIA).

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Finally, we had a blast at the special edition of the "Startup Spritzer“ including the legendary pitch battle USA vs. Austria!


Day 6: Final pitches at the University of Graz and tour of Zotter Chocolate

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Final day, Final pitches. After six intense days of work the teams reached new heights of excellence and pitched their projects.

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Final Highlight: Fieldtrip to the Zotter Chocolate Factory. Best chocolate and an entrepreneur with heart and soul – thank you Josef Zotter for guiding us through your company and giving us a very personal and deep insight into your learnings as an entrepreneur.


Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Academy - Week 2: Montclair State University


Innovation: Between Worlds & Things - April 17 - 22, 2017


Day 1: Reunion - University of Graz Students Arrive and Reunite with Montclair State University Students

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After a long and exhausting day the Austrians finally arrived at Montclair State University. To meet the American friends was overwhelming. You could see, that this had become more than an exchange program, true friendships have formed after week one.

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When the emotions calmed down, the Austrians explored the campus and had their first session on creating something with a 3D-printer.


Day 2: Making 101 + Worlding at Montclair State University and New York City

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In the morning there was a crash-course about designing things for 3D-printing.

After that the whole group travelled to New York City where the first session included a pick nick at Central Park. The workshop “New ways to think” took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was all about pushing common ways to think away and open your mind for something new. 

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Later the group was invited to the home of the Austrian Consul General Dr. Georg Heindl and Mrs. Neline Heindl-Koornneef; A beautiful place, where students could talk about economic differences and similarities of the US and Austria.


Day 3: Innovation Design Framework at Montclair State University - MIX Lab

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Day three was characterized by a tight program of workshops. In the breaks, the students were able to explore the campus of the Montclair State University.

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The lessons were about the Innovation Design Framework, mindfulness exercises to encourage creativity and innovation and learning about new paradigms.


Day 4: NYC Innovation Research in New York City

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On day 4, the students were able to visit two innovative American companies. The first one was Uber, where they had a fireside chat with the inspiring people working there. They also got an idea of what a nice startup- office in NYC can look like.

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The  second stop was at ADP Innovation Lab, were many enthusiastic people are currently working on a new way of doing human resource management. Afterwards, the group visited 9/11 memorial on their way to dinner at a sports bar in New Jersey.

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Day 5: The Stage - Montclair State University in the MIX Lab and New York City

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The day started with designing objects for the “newly generated worlds” of the student teams. It continued with a trip to NYC were the students had a creativity session right at times square. At the end of the day the whole group went to the Broadway show: “The Great Comet”.

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Day 6: Final Presentations and Farewell

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For an inspiring start in the day, the teams had to refine and evolve paradigms and paradigm statements. Those paradigm statements where then transformed and prepared for the final presentations later on.

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The students did a great job at presenting their new created innovative worlds. After the final presentations, the whole group was invited to “Overseas Neighbors Organization” at Mr. & Mrs. Roland & Susan Straten’s place were students could enjoy the rest of the evening.