The exist Business Start-Up Grant


The 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/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: 100 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?

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.


Is it possible to launch the business during the funding phase?

  • Yes, but the launch should not take place at the beginning of the funding.


Who submits the application?

  • Universities
  • Research institutes


When can the application be submitted?

The application may be submitted at any time.

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