Strong women, Strong SMEs: Interview with the BVMW

terraplasma sees great potential for cold plasma solutions, for example in the form of sustainable hygiene and disinfection, rapid wound healing and effective skin treatment and effective treatment of air and water, among the many innovative SMEs in Germany. CEO Dr Julia Zimmermann revealed her personal motivation for founding a greentech company in an interview with the BVMW - Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft e.V. (German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises).

terraplasma sees great potential for cold plasma solutions, for example in the form of sustainable hygiene and disinfection, rapid wound healing and effective skin treatment and effective treatment of air and water, among the many innovative SMEs in Germany. CEO Dr Julia Zimmermann revealed her personal motivation for founding a greentech company in an interview with the BVMW – Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft e.V. (German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises).

How did you come to become an entrepreneur/manager?

The process of becoming a founder and manager was exciting, but not completely foreseeable for me: As a scientist at the Max Planck Institute, I was asked after some time whether we wanted to do a technology transfer with the promising results of our basic research in the field of cold plasmas. After a short period of reflection, it was clear to me that we also wanted to apply our findings in practice – and so I founded the company terraplasma (together with my father Gregor Morfill).

If you could go back in time, would you go down the same path again? Or would you do something different?

As a scientist, I don’t believe in time travel – but even if it were possible, I would generally do everything the same way as we did. We are operating in a very dynamic market and our technology is still very young – so yes.

Which decision would you describe as the most groundbreaking or the one from which you have learnt the most?

Moving out of my comfort zone of basic research into the free (and often exhausting) economy was the most important decision for me.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Dealing with people in a team as a manager and entrepreneur – especially in times when there weren’t always just nice and conflict-free days (and I don’t just mean corona). I’ve always enjoyed working in a team both professionally and objectively – and as an entrepreneur, I also grew in my responsibility as a role model and sometimes had to make difficult decisions.

What are you particularly focussed on at the moment?

Ever since my time as a researcher, I have been convinced of the many benefits of cold plasma and its sustainability – and it is precisely this sustainability that is important to me and that I want to bring closer to all our partners and customers. As an entrepreneur and mother, I want to leave behind an environment worth living in for all future generations and I believe that we can make a small contribution to this with our solutions. Innovative solutions for rapid wound healing, dispensing with conventional chemicals in hygiene or fertilising without conventional fertilisers – these are just three of many examples of how we can use cold plasma to make the world a better place.

How do you experience special appreciation for your work?

I have learnt to experience and accept appreciation in many areas in addition to criticism: whether it’s the customer who is positively surprised in a conversation and spontaneously expresses this or a business partner who is satisfied with the progress of the project – that also makes me happy. But I am particularly pleased when my team is motivated and in a good mood and I can feel this positive energy – then I know that I have done a good job and that is the most important appreciation for me.

What message would you like to pass on to new female entrepreneurs or founders/executives?

It may sound like phrasey advice – but it really is true: “Firstly, things turn out differently and secondly, things turn out differently than you think”. You should prepare yourself for the fact that, for all your love of planning, you should have even more flexibility when you have founded a company. I don’t believe in fate, but it’s good to remain flexible in your mind and heart in order to cope with sometimes completely unexpected situations. And: a large portion of empathy and at least a pinch of humour don’t just make business life easier.

What key measures do you use in your company to specifically promote female empowerment and give your female employees a boost?

We have no gender gaps at terraplasma and we try to offer the same conditions to all genders and age groups without a tense or artificial approach. As a small but colourful company, this is reflected in our team – nobody is left out. As a single mum, I am aware of the challenging multiple roles of my team members with families and try to remove as many obstacles as possible.

In terms of greater support for female entrepreneurs and the development of women in business in general, I expect politicians to …

… more encouragement to take the path to becoming an entrepreneur and to give women in companies in general more courage and self-confidence in all those “old-fashioned” (and unpleasant) situations that have to become less and less. I also think that we should all work towards the new normality where women can hold all the same functions and positions as men and that no one sees this as particularly remarkable any more.

What do you do in your free time to balance out your working day?

I find a balance to my working day by doing sport with my daughter – hiking, playing tennis or climbing.

For me, a good day starts with …

… a smile from my daughter, a “good morning” from my boyfriend, sunshine, a coffee and a motivated, cheerful team at work.

… and without traffic jams …

Who was your most important mentor on the path to self-employment/management?

My father, Gregor Morfill. We were already researching cold plasmas and their applications in medicine, hygiene, water treatment and odour management together at the Max Planck Institute. When we then decided together to found terraplasma, we also embarked on the path to “self-employment” together.

What career aspirations did you have as a child?

At first I wanted to be a ballerina and then an astronaut.

What makes you a good boss?

I’m a good boss because I always have an open ear for my employees. I also try to resolve any problems or conflicts that arise in the team quickly – because without a good and strong team, I believe that every company is doomed to failure.

Curious? You can find the whole interview here or click on the picture.

Press release

Aerosol-assisted cold plasma technology from terraplasma for disinfecting surfaces reaches important milestone

Cold atmospheric plasma (cold plasma for short) is already proving its effectiveness in the treatment of chronic and acute wounds by reducing microorganisms without contact or chemicals. Viruses, fungi and bacteria, including multi-resistant pathogens (MRE), are efficiently and sustainably destroyed by cold plasma. It therefore made sense to extend this active principle to other areas of application, such as the disinfection of objects and surfaces. With a prototype called “tpTop”, a handy and mobile cold plasma decontamination device with aerosol support, it has now been possible to deactivate up to 99.9% of microorganisms within a few seconds of treatment. This opens up new application possibilities for the future, such as the fast and sustainable disinfection of surfaces of all kinds.

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Event notice

Cold plasma, biotech and life science: terraplasma shows sustainable innovations in Munich

“replacing chemicals. the sustainable way.” Under this motto, the innovation leader from Garching near Munich promotes the many different possible uses of cold plasma technology in the areas of biotech and life science. Cold plasma is perfect for replacing conventional disinfection solutions with chemicals, UV, heat or radiation, for example, and thus enables true sustainability. An excellently suitable platform is the BayOConnect event, in which terraplasma actively participates as an exhibitor.

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Press release

Effective against PFAS: terraplasma successfully tests its own cold plasma technology for water treatment

Successful initial attempts to treat drinking water contaminated with PFAS: this is how terraplasma, the innovation leader in the area of development and implementation of applications with cold atmospheric plasma (in short: cold plasma or cold plasma), succeeded with its self-developed energy-saving cold plasma technology for water treatment alongside other substances such as For example, microorganisms and PFAS can be significantly reduced in a measurable way. In a first, larger series of tests with real water samples from a southern Bavarian PFAS hotspot, some of the so-called “forever chemicals” were reduced by up to almost 30%. Reason enough for the company to further optimize its technology and, together with potential partners, develop it into a ready-made solution for water treatment.

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