What is EXIST Start-Up Germany

EXIST Start-Up Germany fosters the cooperation and exchange between German and Israeli entrepreneurs. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology, the program supports tech-entrepreneurs willing to apply for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant. This grant supports teams in the development of their start-up idea while living in Berlin or Munich for the period of one year.

The application for EXIST Start-up Germany is a three-step process:

  1. Application for the Berlin/Munich Visit: during the first phase, you apply via our website to take part in the Berlin/Munich Visit -an intensive three-day program to immerse you in the thriving start-up scenes of these two cities. The event concludes with a Live Pitch Competition! Find out more about the Berlin and the Munich jury.
  2. Coaching phase: chosen teams will be closely assisted in preparing their application for the EXIST Business Start-Up Grant. The support ranges from assistance with the administrative process to coaching tailored to the requirements of each team. During this process, which will take about three months, you will not have to live in Germany full-time.
  3. Final application for the EXIST Start-up Business Grant: at the end of this process, your team will submit its final application for the EXIST Business Start-Up Grant. If your application succeeds, your project will receive financial support (€120,000 on average, up to €150,000 max. for 12 months), office space, mentoring, coaching, access to VC networks and other vital resources for the successful growth of your start-up! Note that no equity is taken. 


So what is the catch? There is no catch.

You won’t have to worry about funding during your first year in Berlin or Munich, nor about giving anything in return. Neither the EXIST Grant, nor EXIST Start-Up Germany have any stake interest in your company. 


The exist Business Start-Up Grant

Exist Existenzgründungen aus der WissenschaftThe EXIST Business Start-up Grant supports students, graduates and scientists from universities and research institutes who want to start-up and develop their innovative business idea. The start-up projects should be technology or knowledge-based projects with significant unique features and good commercial prospects of success.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Scientists from public, non-profit research institutes and universities
  • University graduates and former academic staff members (up to five years after getting a degree or dropping out).
  • Students who have completed at least half of their studies at the time of applying.
  • Entrepreneur Teams of up to three people. Teams that are made up of a majority of students are only funded in exceptional cases.
  • One of the maximum of three team members may have a qualifying professional education and can be funded as the technical staff or one of the team members may have a degree that is more than five years old.


What kind of projects are we looking for?

The “EXIST Business Start-Up Grant” funds

  • Innovative technology based start-up projects.
  • Innovative knowledge based services based on scientific findings.


How does the funding work?

The grant covers personal living expenses:

  • Entrepreneurs with a doctorate receive 3,000 euro/month
  • Graduates with a university degree receive 2,500 euro/month
  • Students receive 1,000 euro/month
  • Child benefit: 150 euro/month per child
  • Materials and equipment: worth up to 10,000 euro for solo start-ups (for teams max. 30,000 euro)
  • Coaching: 5,000 euro
  • The maximum period of funding is one year.


What do the university, research institute and entrepreneurs have to achieve in Germany?

The university or research institute

  • is involved in an Entrepreneurial Network.
  • provides the entrepreneur with a mentor, a workplace and guarantees free use of infrastructure.
  • manages the grant


The entrepreneurs

  • receive coaching services from the Entrepreneurial Network.
  • participate in a one-day “Entrepreneurial Personality” Seminar.
  • present a first draft of the business plan after five months.
  • submit the business plan after ten months.
  • take on the responsibility of making tax and national insurance payments.

apply now