New guidelines for the EXIST Start-up Grant and EXIST Research Transfer programmes were published in the Federal Gazette to increase the quality and quantity of start-ups from science. The aim is to increase the proportion of women and diversity in the start-up teams and to strengthen the alignment of the start-up projects with the German sustainability goals.
The two funding guidelines EXIST Research Transfer and EXIST Start-up Grant of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection were announced in the Federal Gazette. The new guidelines replace the previously valid funding guidelines and will be co-financed via the European Social Fund until 31 December 2027.
The new version and the changes to the content of the two programme guidelines stem from the Startup Strategy adopted by the Federal Government on 27 July 2022: The new guidelines aim to further increase the quality and quantity of start-ups from science by increasing the proportion of women and diversity in start-ups and strengthening the alignment of start-up projects with the German Sustainable Development Goals. Start-ups are an important driver of innovation and transformation towards a sustainable and climate-neutral society.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection: BMWK has always considered the promotion of women and family-friendliness of the EXIST funding programme to be an important concern and has made gradual adjustments to the funding guidelines and programme support over the past 25 years in order to increase the proportion of female founders in the start-up teams to 23 % at last count. In spring 2021, the evaluators of the EXIST funding programme, Ramboll Management Consulting, confirmed the positive development of the proportion of women in the funded start-ups.
The new guidelines are now even more family-friendly. For projects approved from 1 May, it is possible to extend the duration of the projects if female team members have offspring. In addition, universities and research institutions will be rewarded more strongly in the future if they make an effort to recruit more female or diverse teams of founders.
The most important points at a glance:
EXIST start-up scholarship:
Renaming of start-up grant to start-up scholarship. Funding programme to contribute to the implementation of the High-Tech Strategy 2025 and the German government’s Agenda 2030 sustainability strategy. Funding programme to increase the proportion of women and diversity in start-up teams At the request of the funding recipient, the project term can be extended once by three months with continued payment of the founding team’s grant, provided one of the team members gives birth to a child during the term. Incentive bonus: The amount is increased by €2,500 if the founding team is diverse (in the sense of different gender distribution and nationality). The amount is also increased by €2,500 if a female mentor can be recruited to provide professional support. Genuine lump sum for material resources in the start-up grant – simplification of project processing and accounting, processing comparable to the incentive grant, planning of material resources takes place with the application, the corresponding milestone is omitted. After about one month, a kick-off meeting takes place with the founding team, network, mentor and PtJ supervisors. Phase II for KI as a model project in planning
Download Guideline Start-up Scholarship
EXIST Research Transfer:
Funding programme is intended to contribute to the implementation of the High-Tech Strategy 2025 and the Federal Government’s Agenda 2030 sustainability strategy. If delays occur during the project period due to maternity leave regulations, an additional extension of the project period by up to 3 months is possible with an increase in personnel funds for the start-up team. The incentive bonus increases by 2,500 € if the founding team is diverse (in the sense of different gender distribution, origin and nationality). The amount is also increased by €2,500 if a female mentor can be recruited to provide professional support. Download Research Transfer Guideline