Company-wide competition

Entrepreneur in the enterprise

Evonik grants Entrepreneurship Award for promising business ideas of its employees—this year’s winner works on extending the service life of concrete.

A product additive that extends the longevity of concrete by stimulating its self-healing properties and at the same time making it water-repellant. For this business idea, Dr. Sarah Hintermayer and her “WallCraft” team were presented with the Entrepreneurship Award during the final of the in-house ideas competition, the “Global Ideation Jam.” Hintermayer, who studied bioprocess engineering and works at Technology & Infrastructure, received the award from Executive Board member Dr. Ralph Sven Kaufmann. She now has the opportunity to spend one year as an entrepreneur within the company developing her business idea and bringing it to market maturity. For this she will receive a budget of €200,000 from Corporate Innovation. “I’m really excited to continue working on implementing our idea. The WallCraft idea is about sustainably increasing the durability and service life of concrete, and we believe it has a great chance of success on the market,” says the winner, who along with her team was honored at the Zeche Zollverein coal mine complex.

“Corporate entrepreneurship is an important milestone in our culture of open innovation,” said Dr. Ulrich Küsthardt, Evonik’s chief innovation officer, at the beginning of the event. “We are intentionally promoting a culture where employees have the courage to try something new and are not afraid to make mistakes.” This was the second time that the award was presented and it is now a permanent feature of Evonik’s innovation strategy. It promotes the implementation of unconventional ideas and strengthens the innovation culture as well as collaboration across departmental and country boundaries.

Six chosen from 65: From the idea to the final

The six teams that presented their ideas during the final competition had been chosen in the past months during the course of the Ideation Jam from 65 ideas that had been submitted. 2,000 members followed the Ideation Jam in the online community. The business ideas were further detailed in a boot camp in the form of a three-day-long workshop: The teams received additional specialist training by experts, jointly developed business models and created business plans. Experienced coaches from the Group supported the teams with their market and business know-how.

Open innovation drives creative product developments. This is evident in the project of last year’s winner, Dr. Marta Canas-Ventura: Since last year, she has been working on the business development of an intelligent ink that was developed by her and her team.

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