One of the goals of the German Federal Government’s start-up strategy is to strengthen female start-up founders and diversity. The EXIST Women is an aid program of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) dedicated to encourage women at universities and research institutions to venture into self-employment, so that in future more women will act as managing directors and shareholders of innovative start-ups.

The program aims to boost startup networks, motivating female graduates, scientists, students, and professionals associated with the university. EXIST Women provides a supportive environment for women to connect, share ideas, and collaborate without pressure. Join us to envision business ideas with inspiring female coaches, fostering growth for you and your projects.


Participants can apply for the programme via the online application form and answer the key questions about their start-up project by 25th of February 2024.

The initial application is assessed according to the following qualitative requirements:
– Competences of the female founders: This evaluates the expertise, experience and ability of female applicants to start and run a successful business.
– Ecological relevance: The contribution of the start-up project to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is assessed here.
– Initial market and competitive assessment: This assesses how well the applicants have understood the market and the competitive situation and how they would like to position themselves there.
– Economic prospects of success: This involves assessing the potential profitability and long-term success of the proposed business model.

Once all applications have been assessed, the most qualified applicants are invited to a pitch event. Here they are given the opportunity to present their projects in a three-minute presentation to a selected panel of experts from the Berliner Hochschule für Technik.

In the following, we outline our procedure for applying for an EXIST Women scholarship via the BHT Startup Hub. We will be happy to answer any detailed questions about your individual situation at any time. Participants can apply for the programme via the online application form (button “Apply now”) and answer the key questions about their start-up project.


Who is supported by the scholarship?

  • EXIST Women is aimed at female graduates (degree also older than 5 years), female scientists, female students (Bachelor’s degree or ≥ half of the coursework completed) and women with vocational training and a connection to the university who are interested in the topic of start-ups and want to take part in a 12-month qualification programme.
  • Participation is also possible while studying or working. A concrete start-up idea can, but does not have to exist. Funding is also available for ideas that are not science or research-based, but are geared towards later commercial activity.
  • The aim of EXIST Women is to increase the proportion of female founders in the start-up scene.
  • In addition to the founding of innovative start-ups, the programme also supports the path to self-employment for women.
  • Both individual female founders and team start-ups can apply. In mixed teams, however, only women can receive funding.

What will be funded?

  • Innovative technology based start-up projects.
  • Innovative knowledge based services based on scientific findings.
  • It is not necessary to have a specific start-up idea to apply. This can be developed and tested during the course of the programme.


How does the funding work?

  • Female founders receive a grant for three months depending on their qualifications:

– Female students: 1,000 euros (gross)
– Completed vocational training: 2,000 euros (gross)
– Completed degree: 2,500 euros (gross)
– Doctorate: 3,000 euros (gross)

  • The BHT Startup Hub provides workstations and other infrastructure for 12 months.
  • Support from our internal BHT Startup Hub coaching team and an experienced mentor from our network for 12 months.
  • Participation in the EXIST Women Workshop Programme

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 coach, mentor, a workplace and guarantees free use of infrastructure.
    • manages the grant
  • Future Female entrepreneurs should know:
    • EXIST Women can be used specifically to prepare for an EXIST start-up grant and the application can be submitted during the programme.
    • Participation in EXIST Women can exclude participation in the Berlin Startup Scholarship programme, as participants are qualified as entrepreneurs through the programme.


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

Yes, it is possible.

Who submits the application?

  • Female applicants via BHT Startup Hub

When can the application be submitted?

Please apply by 25th of February 2024.