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From digital psychological training to support for farmers during the crisis: how sustainable solutions are helping people through the Covid-19 pandemic

The newest PRME Report features TUM School of Management alumni entrepreneurs with their creative solutions and ideas that have addressed the specific problems of the pandemic.

Sustainability, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit are integral parts and the drive of our university, its professors, staff and students. Therefore, we are proud that our alumni closely follow these guidelines in their entrepreneurial efforts. In recent years, our alumni have shown that they have a sense of moral responsibility to provide cutting-edge solutions in these times of crisis. The newest PRME Report features TUM School of Management alumni entrepreneurs with their creative solutions and ideas that have addressed the specific problems of the pandemic. Let’s explore their success stories.

CleverAckern – support for farmers during the Corona crisis

Farmers whose livelihoods were in danger due to the pandemic found help in the platform CleverAckern. With this website, TUM School of Management alumni Fabian Höhne and Frederic Lapatschek, made it possible to connect harvest workers and students with farmers. At age 26, Höhne is already known for successfully founding the company Flyla.com, which sells unsold flight tickets to students. Then he decided to tackle the problem that many farmers faced during the beginning of the pandemic. Connecting potential workers with those farmers was especially important during this time of crisis as the farmers faced a huge shortage of harvest workers, who usually come to work in Germany from abroad. Therefore, the entrepreneurs received much encouragement and positive feedback for the introduction of their platform. By last summer, more than 40,000 helpers had registered.

As the pandemic progressed, the company grew and CleverAckern decided to bundle all its strengths. To this end, the company joined forces with the machinery ring’s “Das Land Hilft” initiative. As a nationwide platform with a publicly available directory of job openings that works in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other agricultural associations, the platform now manages to connect even more people.

Digital psychological training and support with HelloBetter

Help with depression, stress, anxiety, panic and other psychological complaints, through scientifically proven online psychological training and online psychotherapy with the assistance of psychologists and psychotherapists – this is what HelloBetter and its founder Philip Idhe, TUM School of Management graduate and board member of TUM Management Alumni e.V, stand for.

What drives the entrepreneur? To create a healthier future with HelloBetter, where as many sufferers as possible are enabled to manage their ailments in a self-determined way. As lockdowns occurred around the world in the early days of the pandemic, HelloBetter noticed that many people were trying to resolve their anxiety and stress levels that arose from the given uncertainties. Idhe and his team did not hesitate and worked on a variety of support services. These include a psychological Covid-telephone hotline, a Facebook community group including live Q&As with psychotherapists, a blog with helpful tips, special training and explanatory videos.

With its innovative idea, the company is also helping to mitigate one of the main individual consequences of the pandemic: the increase in people’s anxiety and stress levels. This was also recognized by the World Economic Forum, which featured HelloBetter as one of 15 solutions to combat the coronavirus.

Teleclinic and the possibility to attend medical appointments from home

With her company, Katharina Jünger is a true pioneer of digital transformation in the healthcare sector: namely the leading German telemedicine platform in the country. Before becoming one of the founders of the company, she studied at the Center for Digital Technology and Management, a joint institution of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and TUM. But what exactly is TeleClinic about? Together with her 60 employees, Jünger offers her users the possibility of digital doctor’s appointments, online prescription ordering, and sick leave, via an app operated from home. In fact: the company was the first to introduce online doctor visits in Germany in 2016. With their idea, they thus created better access to the healthcare system – which, as it later turned out, was particularly important during the pandemic. With their product, the entrepreneurs directly hit the pulse of time, which is why it is not surprising that they experienced massive growth, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Real-time connectivity, intelligence and automation with KINEXON SafeZone

Three TUM alumni founded the company KINEXON SafeZone together, and thereby developed the most innovative full-stack solution for real-time connectivity, intelligence and automation, worldwide. Before the crisis, the three founders, Dr. Alexander Hüttenbrink, Dr. Oliver Trinchera, Dr. Maximilan Schmidt developed hardware and software that track the movements of athletes, which can further be used to automate production processes in industry. To help address the challenges of the pandemic, the founders and their team developed a system which issues a warning in case of inadequate social distancing and supports contact tracing. Therefore, the product delivers a sustainable protection of work processes in case of COVID-19 infections.

Making the invisible visible with Hawa Dawa

Hawa Dawa helps to make the invisible visible – with the support of artificial intelligence. With his company, the founder and TUM School of Management alumnus Karim Tarraf offers a solution in the fight against air pollution. The importance of good air quality became particularly evident during the numerous lockdowns, in which entire cities were able to recover from the pollution caused by everyday traffic. Clearly, an awareness of the effects of polluted air on people and their environment continued to grow. With regard to the spread of the virus via the air, new solutions for different areas like the workplace or public transport were needed.

This is where Hawa Dawa’s solution comes in. Air pollution, Karim and his co-founders argue, is combated sustainably by analyzing and evaluating air quality using artificial intelligence. Therefore, environmental data is a key in providing clean air for cities, businesses and citizens. The product is becoming particularly interesting for cities due to climate change, growing traffic hotspots in inner cities and ongoing urbanization. Especially for future-oriented projects such as smart cities, smart health or cities aiming for climate neutrality, the company provides a first approach for a new digital knowledge network with its data.

“Hawa Dawa” means “air purity” in seven different languages – which underscores the company’s global focus. The vision is clear: combining big data and artificial intelligence to help build a sustainable future. In a previous interview, Karim told us that they want to prove “that modern technologies can be implemented in harmony with the environment.” With its sustainable solution, the company was able to use the pandemic as an opportunity to address one of the greatest challenges of our time.

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