Business Start-Up Grant for Graduates in Germany

About to graduate and you have a business plan you would like to convert into a business? Then EXIST might be something you want to look into…

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

Who is eligible to receive funding?

  • Academics and non-university researchers
  • Graduates or former research assistants (up to five years after graduation/leaving the institutes)
  • Students who have completed at least half of their study at the time of application
  • Start-up teams of up to three people. One of the team members can be a person possessing a recognized vocational qualification or who completed university education more than five years ago.

What is eligible for funding?

  • Innovative technology-oriented start-up projects
  • Innovative services offering substantial benefit for the client based on scientific findings indicative of a unique selling point on the market

How does funding work?

  • Maximum period of funding: one year
  • Subsistence grant depending on degree already obtained:
    • Doctorate: € 3,000/month
    • Graduates: € 2,500/month
    • Non-graduate professionals with a recognized vocational qualification: € 2,000/month
    • Undergraduates or students: € 1,000/month
    • Extra support for parents: € 150/month/child
  • Material expenses: up to € 10,000 for start-ups set up by an individual (up to € 30,000 for teams)
  • Start-up-related coaching: € 5,000

How to apply for funding?

  • Applications for funding must be submitted by the university or research institute.
  • Applicants must provide a summary report outlining their business idea.
  • The university or research institute designates a mentor who commits to providing specialist advice. A start-up network ensures that the entrepreneurs receive the necessary support.
  • The university or research institute provides the entrepreneurs with the relevant infrastructure for one year

Application deadlines

Applications can be submitted at any time to Project Management Jülich, which has been commissioned to run the program on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

More Information at

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