“For us, every individual and our small teams are much more important.”

At the University of Mannheim, many students are active in student initiatives. We talked to Lennart Fritzsche, part of the Q-Summit initiative, to find out more about their work.

What is the Q-Summit?

Lennart: The Q-Summit at the University of Mannheim is one or the largest, solely student organized conference for startups and innovation in Germany.

Since 2017, the conference for 700 participants takes place every spring. Our team aims at bringing together students, founders, startups, corporates, and researchers to expand the innovation spirit of the Rhine-Neckar area beyond its borders. In speeches, panel discussions, workshops, speeddatings, parties and other networking events, experts and experienced founders give participants an understanding of the newest startup and innovation trends. A large pitch battle won’t be missed either.

This year, once again students from all over Germany come together to discuss topics about our three pillars: social entrepreneurship, innovation and entrepreneurships.

How does your work at Q-Summit differ from the usual work at other initiatives?

Lennart: Because we only organize one event per year and thus work towards a big goal, the work for our team is a little different to the work of a “classic” initiative here at the University. For this reason, every individual and our small teams are much more important. We regularly meet with the entire team, however, the work in every small team is at the end the most crucial. For us it is also very important that first-year students interested in startups can actively engage in our teams and thus, we like to give bigger responsibilities to them as early as possible. Generally, everyone can contribute their own ideas and start their own project for interesting ideas. This means we are no “classic” board-driven initiative, where only the board members organize all of the initiative’s events.

How can students actively engage with Q-Summit?

Lennart: As mentioned above, we are organized in teams. These teams focus on things from speaker and corporate partner acquisition, to food and drinks. Our finance and legal or the marketing team are very important as well. Overall, we are about 70 students organized in 10 teams.

Besides the work for the organization of the event, other supports, that are no member of any teams, are also crucial during the event itself. For this reason, before the conference we are always looking for motivated volunteers to help but also participate in the conference.

Why did you decide to become part of the Q-Summit organization team and what are your tasks?

Lennart: When the Q-Summit was founded in November 2006, I was one of the first students that were asked by the founder team around Fabian Sinn, if I wanted to participate in the Q-Summit team. One of the reasons was probably that I had been interested in the startup scene since the eleventh grade and thus had found a place for passion. I looked at a couple of different teams before I decided to join the marketing team because of my interest of photo- and videography. Right now, as a board member for concept and conference, I am responsible for all events at the conference itself and the center for our internal communication.

So far, what has been your most exciting experience at Q-Summit?

Lennart: Today I would say the time directly before the conference last year has shaped me the most. The many hours at our office, when the last bits are coming together, were extraordinary. Even though its more stressful than in the months before, you can gain a lot of experience from that time and the friendships that developed over time get even stronger. For this reason, I am very excited about the time before the 2018 conference with our wonderful team and, of course, the conference itself.