Winners of the “Jugend gründet” Young Entrepreneurs Contest visit ALTANA in the USA

Young Chemists in the Land of Unlimited Opportunities

The five winning students from Achern Gymnasium high school in ALTANA’s “Jugend gründet” chemistry contest in June set off in September with their teacher to claim their prize - a trip to BYK Wallingford, near New York, in the USA. The site is one of the largest production and research facilities in the ALTANA Group. 

Their business idea for a self-darkening windscreen to prevent accidents caused by dazzling from lowlying sun clearly won over the panel of judges. Dr. Anette Brüne, Head of Strategic Business Development at ALTANA's division BYK-Chemie GmbH, who presented the team from Achern with its prize in chemistry at the “Jugend gründet” national finals awards ceremony in June, clearly was very pleased for them: “I would like to convey ALTANA’s heartfelt congratulations to these young entrepreneurs. As a specialty chemicals company that thrives on innovations, we understand the importance of entrepreneurial courage and the pleasure to be had from developing new solutions and business ideas. So it’s all the more impressive for us to witness the huge effort these students have invested in their work.”

The “Jugend gründet” competition

The national “Jugend gründet” online competition is run by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In 2015, the Council for Sustainable Development appointed by Chancellor Merkel awarded the “Jugend gründet” competition the “Werkstatt N” seal of quality “for particularly sustainable behavior”. “Jugend gründet” is the only industry-focused competition on the list maintained by the German Standing Conference of Ministers (KMK). Prof. Barbara Burkhardt-Reich leads the team based at the Steinbeis Innovation Center in Pforzheim that is responsible for designing and running the competition. ALTANA sponsors the competition’s special chemistry prize with the aim of firing young people’s enthusiasm for the subject and establishing ALTANA’s image as an attractive employer at a very early stage in future chemists’ young minds. For instance, the organizers send out a mailshot to make sure all chemistry teachers in Germany are aware of ALTANA’s prize. At the most recent teachers’ conference of the German Chemical Industry Association, the winners of the ALTANA prize even formed part of the podium agenda.

Sponsors and patrons

A series of well-known patrons publicize the competition, sponsor the prizes, and support the events. The main sponsors are Volkswagen and Wolfsburg AG. The competition’s other patrons are the Steinbeis Foundation, Lenovo, ALTANA, DB Bahn, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, phaeno, and Porsche.

You will find further information here.

From left to right: Dr. Anette Brüne (BYK-Chemie), Oliver Heimer (teacher), Team Photocromic GmbH (Achern Gymnasium high school), and Prof. Barbara Burkhardt-Reich (Head of the “Jugend gründet” project) at the awards ceremony in June.