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Sound financial knowledge increases the chances of success for student startups

Professor Andreas Seebeck, Professor of Global Economics and Management at Jacobs University, conducted a study on student start-ups (source: Jacobs University).


March 29, 2022

Students are very interested in turning their business ideas into reality and starting their own companies. More and more startups are emerging at universities around the world. For students to be able to implement them successfully, a solid basic knowledge of finance and accounting is very important. This is confirmed by a study that evaluated the educational background of participants in the Jacobs Startup Competition, a global startup competition organized by students at Jacobs University Bremen. The study recently appeared in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing.

The author duo analyzed data from 130 startup teams, enrolled in 64 universities in 39 countries, using innovative text mining methods. One important finding: potential investors place great value on the financial skills of the founders. "Teams in which at least one member has sound financial knowledge are rightly regarded as more competent by investors and their probability of success as higher," said Andreas Seebeck, Professor of Global Economics and Management at the English-speaking Jacobs University Bremen, and one of the authors. Robin Wolter, a former student of Jacobs University, was also involved in the study. In his Bachelor's thesis, Wolter already dealt with the importance of financial knowledge for student start-ups.

Universities should align their teaching also with the demands of the market, said Seebeck: "In order to provide students interested in founding a company with the necessary tools and mindset to compete in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, universities should create appropriate offerings and basically open courses in accounting and finance to students outside of economics." This idea is also shared by Tilo Halaszovich and Christoph Lattemann, both professors at Jacobs University, who represent the area of entrepreneurship and are currently developing it further in a transdisciplinary approach to include all students.

In addition to the student-initiated and organized Jacobs Startup Competition, which has been held since 2013, Jacobs University offers targeted support for student founders with the J-CUB initiative and an innovation lab called D-Forge. Jacobs University also promotes the entrepreneurial activities of its students with the so-called Startup Option. Students from all departments can apply for this program with their business idea. They receive feedback in workshops, strengths and weaknesses are identified, business plans are developed, and further steps are defined – and finally they can start their own company. "Such initiatives are an important element for entrepreneurial education and training", Seebeck said. "They enable students to apply the expertise they have acquired in their studies in a simulated business world and to interact with industry experts. At the same time, they generate useful research data that help researchers optimize entrepreneurial education by integrating the latest scientific findings into the curriculum, as is the practice at Jacobs University."

Link to the study:
Financial Education of Founders, is it important? A case study of Jacobs Startup Competition

Jacobs Startup Competition:


Questions answered by:
Andreas Seebeck
Professor of Global Economics and Management
Tel: +49 421 200-3456
Email: a.seebeck [at]