EXIST Business Start-up Grant

The EXIST Business Startup Grant is an aid program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) and is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF).

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

EXIST Business Start-up Grant

Stay updated with the latest news by visiting the offical website of EXIST program

The grant covers personal living, material, and coaching expenses over 12 months, allowing founders to focus on developing their founding idea. While graduates receive personal funding of 2.500€, students can receive 1.000€ a month, additionally up to 30.000€ material and 5.000€ coaching budget that can be used to develop the founding project further.

Once you have decided to apply for the EXIST Business Startup Grant through BHT Startup Hub, we are here to support you. While guiding you through the formal side of the application process, we also work with you in a collaborative feedback format to help you bring your idea to life.


Who is supported by the scholarship?

  • 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 will be funded?

  • 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?

  • 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
  • Gründer/in
    • receives coaching services from the Entrepreneurial Network.
    • participates in a one-day “Entrepreneurial Personality” Seminar.
    • presents a first draft of the business plan after five months.
    • submits the business plan after ten months.
    • takes 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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