TRACE ("Transforming Academic into Entrepreneurial Minds")

... is an additional qualification for students of the FH and the RWTH Aachen and aims to develop entrepreneurial skills and prepare them for a career as a founder or intrapreneur.


In Aachen there are about 26,000 students in foundation-related courses of study, but the number of foundations from this cluster remains manageable. Two main reasons have been identified for this "founding inertia". Firstly, many students do not have concrete enough ideas for start-ups, and secondly, most students do not look further into the prospect of an entrepreneurial career, as this is seen as competing with other study objectives. For this reason, RWTH and FH Aachen, in cooperation with AC.E e.V. and with the support of the EU Regional Development Fund, are launching the TRACE programme, which is designed to help mobilise students as entrepreneurs.

Target group

TRACE is aimed at students of all disciplines who are interested in setting up their own business. In a flexible, 2-semester programme parallel to the studies, the programme offers the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills as well as to gain insight into the working methods and challenges of founders and access to the growing Aachen network of founders. Furthermore, there is the possibility of EU stays abroad within the framework of the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme as well as scholarships (currently only for RWTH students) at the universities in Austin (USA) and Tongji (China).

Programme overview

The TRACE programme is divided into 3 modules, in which the participants can put together a flexible programme in consultation with their supervisors.

The 3 modules are:

Here, participants have the opportunity to choose the most relevant and exciting lectures on entrepreneurship from a catalogue of RWTH and FH lectures.
Practical object: The aim is to gain experience in entrepreneurial practice and independent work. Participants have the opportunity to complete internships in young companies, to develop an independent business plan, or to co-organise AC.E projects.
Network & Ideas: Participants should generate ideas and expand their network. For this purpose they have the opportunity to participate in networking events such as the AC.E Start-up Network or to develop business ideas in team workshops.

This structure allows the participants a high degree of flexibility and the connection of the programme with already existing interests and projects.
Throughout the entire programme, the participants are supervised and individually supported by experienced advisors of the business incubator.

Voices on TRACE

"TRACE is a great thing. Above all, the individual coaching has helped our young start-up to progress. In numerous coaching sessions we were able to further develop our business model and even successfully submitted the application for the EXIST start-up scholarship. Now we are financed for a whole year and can realise the dream of our company". Tobias (participant 2019 and founder of Herr Westermann)

"I am studying communication design and have already been able to gain my first entrepreneurial experience alongside my studies. The TRACE programme helps me to expand my business knowledge. The regular meetings and events are particularly exciting for me, as I meet like-minded people there and can learn from experienced founders, their successes and above all setbacks."Maike (participant 2018)

"TRACE has given me the chance to develop my business idea further and to gain pitch experience. The TRACE meetings offer the perfect opportunity for personal development in a convivial atmosphere and to expand one's network through active exchange with students and speakers."
Jasper (participant 2018)


Have we aroused your interest? Then become a participant of TRACE and contact us!

It is possible to join the TRACE programme at the beginning of each semester. To apply, please send us a short letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae and a transcript of records by e-mail (

Application period Summer Semester 2020: 21.01.2020 - 25.02.2020



Niklas Hunsdiek, M.A.

T: +49 241 6009 51928


FH Aachen
Eupener Straße 70
52066 Aachen


Eupener Straße Room E267