Tuesday - February 27, 2018

Start-Up Challenge encourages entrepreneurial thinking at Covestro

Employees become founders

Winner of internal company competition selected / Up to one million euros for the establishment of an internal start-up / Best business idea selected from 600 applications
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The winning team Axel Schmidt, Holger Mundstock, Anna-Leona Breidbach and Marc Schreiber convinced the Board Management Dr. Markus Steilemann (m.), Dr. Klaus Schäfer (3.f.r.) und Patrick Thomas (r.) in the final of the so-called Start-Up Challenge of their project.

An outstanding idea: It’s a newly developed technology, coaters should be able to work faster and more efficiently, especially in the automobile industry. The winning team Marc Schreiber, Anna-Leona Breidbach, Axel Schmidt and Holger Mundstock, all employees of Covestro, convinced the Board Management of the material manufacturer in the final of the so-called Start-Up Challenge of their project.

In order to realize the business idea, the winners are now released from their jobs for one year and can work within the group like company founders. To do so, they will receive up to one million euros in support. With the program, Covestro aims to promote creativity and entrepreneurial thinking among its nearly 16,000 employees.

The team consisting of members from different business divisions prevailed in the final against five other teams who have been preparing themselves intensively for the competition over the past four months. At the start of the Start-Up Challenge, around 600 projects were submitted worldwide. Ideas for more sustainability and new digital business models were predominantly focused on.

Employees think like entrepreneurs

“We were overwhelmed by the great innovative power of the ideas and the distinctive entrepreneurial thinking of the applicants,” says Dr. Markus Steilemann, who is responsible for innovation, marketing and sales on the Covestro board.

“With the Start-Up Challenge we reinforce our claim that innovation goes beyond traditional research and development. Because every single employee in every department can develop something new.” At the same time, the competition and the reinforcement of entrepreneurial thinking and actions in the Group help to test innovative ideas much more quickly on the market. Steilemann emphasized: “This also benefits our customers.”

The Start-Up Challenge goes beyond other company-internal innovation competitions because it gives employees the opportunity to develop innovative ideas into viable business models and demonstrate their own skills as founders. Steilemann announced that “we will continue to pursue many of the projects now”. “Because the innovative ideas help us to push the boundaries of what is possible together, in order to pursue our vision of making the world a brighter place to live.”

About Covestro:
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.