No. 5 Worldwide in the "Entrepreneurial Spirit" Category

WURI ranking 2021 (World's Universities with real Impact)

Silicon Valley Program.

Centre for Academic Further Education

This certificate is only offered in German!


Programme with





mentoring and exclusive
live pitch to
Silicon Valley investors












participants have
completed this course.

Turning Innovation into Business

The Silicon Valley Programme is a nine-month transfer programme with a further education certificate run by the Centre for Academic Further Education of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology in cooperation with Santa Clara University in California, in which the tools, methods and processes for successfully launching an invention on the market are applied and implemented in a sustainable and repeatable manner.

"Germany is the land of ideas. Countless innovations and business ideas are stored virtually hidden in German heads or cellars and are just waiting to be implemented. However, only very few of them have the know-how and a suitable concept to bring their idea to the market", explains Professor Peter Schmieder, responsible head of this unique pioneer program at the THD. "In the past, this has led to German developments such as video recorders and mp3 players only finding their way from the American market into living rooms and trouser pockets around the globe," Schmieder continues.

In this part-time certificate programme, German inventive talent meets American market management.

The Silicon Valley Program accompanies and controls inventor teams in a constant mentoring process. During this process, the invention is designed with a market entry and development strategy (often combined with further product development, so-called technical iteration loops), a top-class network of qualified mentors and experts, potential customers, development partners and possible investors.

DIT is internationally recognised with an award of excellence:

WURI (Worlds Universities with Real Impact) ranked DIT No. 5 worldwide in the category “Entrepreneurial Spirit“

Target Group

Prospective founders and people interested in founding a company who want to implement their innovative ideas and go to market. True to the motto: "technology to market".

Specialists and managers from companies who want to promote the internal spirit of innovation and who want to put their existing ideas into practice for their company.

Labs and research institutions that want to implement transfer to market.

Managers and entrepreneurs who want to professionalize the market and brand management of their company.

The Concept

The Silicon Valley Program combines the best of both worlds, the outstanding technical invention competence of Bavaria with the trend-setting transfer competence of Silicon Valley.

The program is now referred to as "far advanced from any other program in the world" (from the final examination at Santa Clara University). The program's instructors, mentors and supervisors, recruited from “both worlds”, are among the best that transfer research and implementation has to offer in terms of their reputation, expertise and experience. At the same time, they are primarily characterized by a closer proximity to the respective markets, inventions, investors, people and above all the respective teams (over a period of at least nine months and beyond).

The teams are supervised and guided by professors, instructors and lecturers from both universities, as well as a selection of international mentors.

By structuring the program with bookend face-to-face events at the beginning in Germany and then in Silicon Valley, paired with digital intermediate goal controls in the form of online video conferences (digital / blended learning), participation for teams, regardless of where they are based, is possible.

The American understanding of innovation and start-ups is taught in the Silicon Valley Program, which is fundamentally different from the German or European. It is based on the fundamental attitude of customer orientation. The customer moves from a simple target group to a stakeholder whose feedback is essential for further product development. In this way, innovations and teams are raised to an “investable” level. That means successfully establishing products on the market and creating new markets in future industries.

An overview of the program:

  • The Silicon Valley Program takes place in cooperation with the elite University of Santa Clara in Silicon Valley, the global centre for start-up culture, innovation and brand development
  • You will work closely with lecturers from DIT, brand experts from the SCU, German Entrepreneurship / German Accelerator and mentors
  • Throughout the entire program, you will systematically develop a concept for implementing your business idea or innovation
  • During a one-week stay in the USA, you will present your idea as a business plan directly to financial investors in Silicon Valley
  • Upon completion of the program, you will receive an official certificate from Santa Clara University.

The Silicon Valley program can be completed as part of the part-time MBA Business Start-up and Management. Furthermore, you can also participate in the SVP separately and have the services rendered optionally credited to your MBA later on.

The Procedure

The program is roughly structured into three sections during the nine months. Sections one and three are so-called bookend events, beginning with an intro or introductory week in Germany. The instructors and mentors introduce the participants to the tools and methods used in workshops and lectures.

Section two are alternating, interlinked workshops and interactive video conferences for the progress of the work package that build on one another in terms of content. In this phase in particular, the mentors are available to provide advice and assistance, as well as establishing contacts in their qualified network for the further development of your "venture".

The bookend event of section three concludes, in which the teams travel to Santa Clara University in the USA. Excursions to companies based in Silicon Valley take place there. The teams also present their progress over the previous nine months in what is known as the Investors' Pitch.

Pre-pitch workshops qualify teams and raise them to a suitable level . The minimum qualification criteria are the existence of a so-called MVP (Minimum Viable Product / Prototype) and the first paying customers.

The fixed program start is the intro week at the end of June, followed by the alternating workshops and video conferences until around March of the following year. In the week before the Bavarian Easter break, the final pitch and the excursion to Silicon Valley will take place. The total duration is nine months.

Program phases:

  • Phase 1:

Phase   I: Qualification

Phase  II: Pre-pitch workshops in lean methodology, attitude, psycho graphics, methods of design thinking, scrum (June)

Phase III: Bookend 1: Onboarding week (June / July)

  • Phase 2:

Phase IV: 6+6 online seminars and workshops with coaching und mentoring inbetween, networking (August to March)

  • Phase 3:

Phase  V: Valley (bookend 2), combined with lectures at the SCU and Silicon Valley company excursions (April)

Phase VI: Sustainability transfer, German entrepreneurship, netwerk and cluster partners, investors

Success Stories


Teams (150 individual participants) have completed this program to date


Are in business with improved processes and business strategies


Teams are still in close contact with networks and investors from the program


Euros has been invested into a team



"The SVP has enabled new perspectives on the own product and, above all, has set the focus
on the development of a scalable digital business model. The structured approach in conjunction with the
close support of mentors gives an enormous boost to one's own project. Many thanks for the great support!"

Constantin V., participant (Start-Up), Class of 2020


"It's not just about product innovation. It's about phasing in new business models, processes and networked solutions.
It's about sustainable transformation, about repositioning the company. We are changing from an engineering service
provider to a solution provider with its own systems."

Josef B.., participant (Intrapreneur), Class of 2019


"Such a perfect and fully comprehensive curriculum (like that of SVP) to make teams "investment ready",
I have yet to see in my 25+ year career as an angel investor and VC advisor!"

Dr. Ron Weissman, former venture capital fund manager and mentor


"The SVP is challenging and eye-opening! For me, very impressive and valuable are the experiences, the
lessons learned that resonate to this day and allow for continued transfer and application.“

Thomas Weiss, Class of 2015, now Mentor


"The Silicon Valley Programme is an optimal addition to our offer at the Founding Centre Digitalisation Lower Bavaria!
Every team that is serious about successfully establishing itself in the market actually HAS TO sign up here."

Thomas Keller, Gründerzentrum Digitalisierung Niederbayern


"Although we already had plenty of entrepreneurship and start-up experience. Pat, Al and Peter [ed. note: lead
instructors of the programme] guided us to redevelop our venture.“

Oliver M., Teilnehmer (Entrepreneur), Class of 2014

Exklusive Partners

Santa Clara University with its Leavey School of Business is one of the most prestigious universities in the USA, with a national top twenty ranking for its Executive MBA program. The SCU's Silicon Valley Executive Center in particular is one of the top addresses for start-up research and transfer support, along with Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. In U.S. News & World Report, the SCU is currently ranked number 1 in the Western States. In the Carnegie Classification, it reaches the highest level, the gold standard, in a national survey and comparison of American colleges and universities.

Prestige alumnus:

  • Leon Panetta: former US Minister of Defence, Director CIA, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton
  • Mike Espy: former US Minister and Congressman
  • George Reyes: CFO Google
  • Dee Dee Myers: Press Secretary for Bill Clinton
German Entrepreneurship GmbH is a Munich-based innovation company working at the interface between business, science and startups. Above all, GE's German Accelerator Program specializes in scaling up German companies in Silicon Valley. The SVP offers an ideal preparation / pre-qualification for it!


An Extract of Mentors


  • Prof. Albert Bruno
  • William T. Cleary

    SC Professor

Founding Director of Center of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

  • Patrick Guerra

Founder and Principal, Lions Peak LLC. Co-Founder Accelerators:

      Global Social Benefit Incubator, SCU

      Encore Venture Accelerator

German Accelerator Selection  Committee and Mentor

Band of Angels: ‘Art of Deal’ Program

  • Prof. Peter Schmieder

Human Skills and Leadership, Deggendorf Institute of Technology

Founder of the Silicon Valley Program

  • Ron Weissman, PhD

Marketing at NeXT (direct report to Steve Jobs)

Partner bei Apax (Venture Capital Investment) 

Chairman Software Special Interest Group Band of Angels

  • Dr. Tobias Strobl

Strategy Designer bei Business Models Inc.

Mentor German Accelerator Silicon Valley

  • Geoff Baum

CMO/VP Marketing Standord University

Mentor German Accelerator Silicon Valley


Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or individual advice.