Funding for startups |


  1. Business start-ups as the nucleus of scientific and technical progress
  2. Federal states that offer start-up grants for start-ups and business start-ups
  3. Various models and start-up grant programs for start-ups
    1. Existing goodwill concession
    2. NRW start-up grant for North Rhine-Westphalia
    3. Berlin Startup Scholarship for Berlin
    4. Scholarship for Hessian Ideas
    5. Funding opportunity through the NBank investment and development bank for Lower Saxony
    6. Financed through a start-up grant from for Rhineland-Palatinate
    7. Funding through a scholarship from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  4. Prerequisites for start-ups for start-up grants
  5. Formal procedure for the application process
  6. Basic application for startups and entrepreneurs
  7. First example of a company that emerged from an Exist startup grant
  8. Conclusion

1. Business start-ups as nuclei of scientific and technical progress

Every modern industrial country depends on the scientific and technical progress taking place. Scientific and technical progress comes from new ideas, coupled with a good dose of determination and perseverance. New ideas arise in the minds of people who are usually younger or younger at heart, either as individuals or in small groups.

2. Federal states that offer start-up grants for business start-ups and start-ups

The following federal states offer their own start-up grants:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Hesse
  • Rhineland-Palatinate
  • Schleswig Holstein
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt

3. Different start-up grant models and programs for start-ups

3.1 Existing start-up contribution

The best-known model of start-up grant is an Exist start-up grant, awarded by the Federal Ministry of Economy, Energy and Environmental Protection (BMWI). This Exist start-up grant is financed in part by the Federal Ministry of Economy and Environmental Protection and in part by the European Social Fund (ESF).

3.2 NRW start-up grant for North Rhine-Westphalia

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia supports the founders in the following ways:

  • Start-up fee of € 1,000 per month for up to 1 year
  • Individual coaching provision
  • Exchange of experiences and support from a start-up network

3.3 Berlin Boot Scholarship for Berlin

Founders can apply for a start-up grant from one of the Berlin universities. Berlin universities offer the following support options for founders:

  • Teams of 2 to 3 founders are supported with € 2,000 per month and per team for up to 6 months.
  • During the funding period, teams can use the Berlin Start-up Incubator (SIB) prototype workshop, workplaces and existing infrastructure.
  • The founding teams are supported by experienced employees from an internal SIB coaching team for professional advice.
  • As an additional funding option for the BSS Scholarship, the Berlin School of Economics and Law (HWR) offers € 1,000 external specialist coaching per startup team.

3.4 Hessian Ideas Grant

In the federal state of Hesse, the following distinction exists with regard to start-up support for business founders:

  • full time scholarship
    Full-time scholarships are provided for graduates. The highest possible funding is € 2,000 per person per month. The deadline here is 6 months.
  • part-time scholarship
    Students are eligible for part-time scholarships. The highest possible funding is € 1,000 per person per month. In these cases, the funding period is also 6 months.

3.5 Financing options through the NBank investment and development bank for Lower Saxony

This type of start-up support is only possible for start-ups wishing to set up a business in Lower Saxony.

The largest possible grant for founders who have completed their studies or training is € 2,000 per month and per person if the founders reside in Lower Saxony.

Founders who apply for funding during their studies receive a grant of € 1,000 per month and per person.

3.6 Financing through a start-up grant from for Rhineland-Palatinate

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the amount of this support from is a maximum of € 1,000 per month and per person and is granted for a maximum of 1 year.

3.7 Financing through the start-up contribution of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry

This start-up support is mainly intended for the unemployed who want to become self-employed.

The start-up grant has a maximum duration of 15 months and is divided into two phases as follows:

  • In the first stage, the unemployed receive a benefit equal to the unemployment benefit (ALG I) for 6 months plus a monthly allowance of 300 euros.
  • The second phase of this support consists of a possible lump sum of € 300 per month for a further nine months. However, this second phase is subject to the condition that the entrepreneurial activity must be proven with detailed documents.

4. Prerequisites for start-ups for start-up contributions

To be eligible for start-up grants for business start-up, the following requirements must be met:

  • The business idea on which it is based must have a recognizable usability and usefulness which, once implemented, gives at least a certain guarantee of success on the existing and highly competitive world market.
  • The business idea to be implemented must have at least some special features that show clear advantages over existing and similar models and solutions.
  • The expected advantage of the business idea must be verifiable and demonstrable from an economic and scientific point of view.
  • In the case of business ideas for knowledge-based and innovative services, the scientific background must always be presented in detail.

5. Formal procedure for the application process

The procedure for applying for a start-up grant is as follows:

  • The actual application is always submitted via the respective university or a non-university research institute.
  • However, the preparation of the application takes place with the participation of the founders, the university, the research bodies and the network of responsible start-ups.
  • The founders of the enterprise create a written concept showing all the special features of their business idea and send this idea paper to the relevant university, research institute or start-up network.
  • A tutor from the university or research institute takes care of the technical and professional support of the founders of the start-up for the entire preparation of the start-up.
  • A coach provided by the start-up network accompanies team members during the preparation of the business plan.
  • Entrepreneurs need to be placed in a start-up network and prove this at the university or research institute. An Exist network or an Exist partner region is best suited for this. In case there is no start-up network at the university or research institute, the founders of the company can also switch to a network at another university.
  • It is essential that there has been a consultation between the founders and the start-up initiative of the respective university or research institute.
  • Once the application for a start-up grant has been fully developed, the respective university or research institution forwards it to Project Management Jülich (PTJ).
  • After reviewing these founding documents, the PTJ informs both the university and the founding team of the decision made for or against approving the funding measures.
  • If the approval is positive, the approved funds are paid directly to the respective university or research institute.

6. Basic application for start-ups and entrepreneurs

Should every potential entrepreneur really aim for a start-up grant?

Benefits of the start-up contribution

The grant awarded for a start-up grant does not have to be repaid by the beneficiary, i.e. by those who intend to start a business or by the founding team. This means that subsistence and the necessary technical supplies are no longer a problem for founders during the development and introduction phase.

The technical and organizational support during the development and launch phase of the business idea on the market is extremely broad and helps in particular the founder or the founding team.

Disadvantages granting goodwill

The amount of work required for the preparation of all the technical documentation for the submission of the start-up grant application is very high. In addition, applicants must study at a university or must themselves be employed at a university or research institution. Only then is it possible to apply for a start-up contribution.

The possible field of applicants who may also be considered for the approval of a start-up grant is significantly limited by these obstacles.

7. First example of a company that emerged from an Exist startup grant

Upcoming power plants

The idea behind the Nextkraftwerke company is based on the effort to always ensure that the electricity taken from the public grid comes exclusively from renewable energy. These are made up of wind, sun and other renewable energy sources. It is about solving a fundamental problem of securing the power supply, even when there is no sun shining locally and no wind is blowing. However, this energy deficit is limited both in terms of location and time and can therefore be compensated for by simultaneously drawing electricity from other locations. It’s just a matter of precise power switching and control. And it is precisely with the solution of this extremely demanding task that we take care of our company Netzkraftwerke.

At its core, grid power plants are virtual power plants that can regulate local electricity demand as precisely as possible so that it is always covered by renewable energy. We achieve this through the most diverse network of thousands of electricity producers, electricity consumers and electricity storage facilities, which can also be distant in terms of location and area. This network is based on the latest technology in digital and wireless form. This way you can ensure that electricity always comes from renewable energy sources.

Another startup that arises from the Exist financing is voto. Here you can find more information about this startup.

8. Conclusion

New ideas usually arise in the minds of young people, who often work together in smaller teams. University students are especially predestined for this, especially if they are about to graduate and want to start their professional life with a lot of motivation.

The offers to support start-up grants for business start-ups are aimed specifically at this group of people. Often it is not the lack of new and useful ideas, but the lack of financial implementation options. Especially in the initial stage of starting a business, this quickly leads to bankruptcy.

To effectively counter such unwanted negative developments, the state’s primary concern is to provide start-up grants to young graduates with financial opportunities to implement good and useful ideas for starting businesses.

A particularly useful facility for this, which has already proven itself several times in practice, is an Exist start-up grant, made available by BMWI.

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