An international group of students from the Brandt School had the opportunity to connect theory learned in class with the practical. The students from the course “Building National and Regional Competitiveness” visited Jena in order to gain an understanding of technology and entrepreneurship policy in action. The course is taught by Prof. Dr. Edgar Aragon, who provided them with a wide scope of theoretical concepts and Harvard case studies regarding the development of economic clusters and their strategic alignment before the visit.
Randolf Margull, the CEO of the Innovation Park, showcased his own work and the work of his organization in the context of regional economic development. The concepts discussed ranged from economic policy on a state level to the transfer of knowledge between local universities and surrounding companies. It became evident that governments have a significant role in shaping economic policy. And while generally over the past 20 years the economic and entrepreneurial performance in Jena has been impressive, there was also room to discuss critical aspects like the refinancing of basic research.
The visit to Jena was complemented with a face-to-face discussion with the entrepreneurs and scientists of one the park’s start-ups. Aura Optic opened their doors and provided insight into their perspective and experience in building up a competitive high-tech company in Thuringia.