Introducing the Digital Tech Academy

The Team of FAU’s Digital Tech Academy. Photo: DTA

Many organizations are now involved in cultivating talents and provide them with necessary skills to succeed in the fast-paced, high-tech industry. Creative people are no longer alone in their quest for the next big thing since they can always seek for advice from experts or get help handling logistics behind their creative process. I was inspired by my interview with Karl (Carlos) Rabes and Lisa Wittenzellner from the FAU Digital Tech Academy, a new FAU project that seeks and supports digital entrepreneurs.

What is Digital Tech Academy and how was it initiated?

The idea of the FAU Digital Tech Academy arose from the notion that entrepreneurship and digitalization touch everyone’s life. It is important to form a group at FAU that shares the same passion for entrepreneurship and digitization. The Digital Tech Fellows program, one part of the Digital Tech Academy, is an opportunity for all FAU students to pursue their passion for digitization, entrepreneurship, and innovation by realizing novel ideas with the help of professionals from industry. We are a small team of four people and are currently screening more than 150 applications to narrow the field down to only about 25 participants for the first batch of the Digital Tech Fellows program. This is the one-year extracurricular program, open to all enrolled students at the FAU (with a new batch starting each semester). Therein participants get to know each other and form their own group to work on innovative ideas that they are interested in.

What do participants gain from taking part in the program?

The most important objective of Digital Tech Fellows program is to equip the participants with all necessary skills to build, and then launch a sustainable startup by the end of the program. In order to do this, we closely cooperate with professionals and experts to teach students specific and hands-on skills such as “service design/ design thinking”, or how to tailor a business idea to match market demands. The participants not only learn how to pitch their ideas, but also how to “small talk”, a soft skill that enables them to carry a meaningful conversation with potential investors and professionals who could support their dreams.

Another benefit from the one-year long program is the network of mentors, coaches, and other course alumni that the participants will get to know. Startups and entrepreneurs from the Digital Tech Fellows program will receive hands-on support from ZOLLHOF – Tech Incubator, e.g. office space, access to industry experts, international networks and tech workshops. ZOLLHOF is our main partner for the subsequent early stage startup acceleration.

Could you elaborate more on the sports track with yoga or sailing provided by professional athletes?

The sports track is to enrich the program and to support a trustful relationship between participants. We want to challenge the participants to keep an open mind and try something new. Yoga sessions and sailing trips will be offered to all participants to step outside their comfort zone and try themselves in new endeavors.

Anything else you would like to share with the readers?

The second part of the FAU Digital Tech Academy is the Digital Tech Inspire program. With this, we also want to build a whole supporting system for digital talents involving all FAU faculties as well as the private sector. We aim to develop innovative teaching courses, which will be offered for free to all chairs at FAU. A similar program is planned for companies of the private sector also. This way, the students will never be alone in their creative mindset and their pursuit of innovations.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Anh Tran