Funding & Financing

EXIST Business Start-up Grant

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant is a nationwide funding program that supports innovative business start-ups from universities and research institutions in the early stages. The project should be a technologically innovative startup approach with good prospects of economic success. Founders are financed for one year in order to turn their startup idea into a business plan.

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Who is being funded?

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant scheme supports startup teams of up to 3 people for one year. People eligible for funding are:

  • University graduates and research assistants (up to 5 years after graduation)
  • Max. 1 student who has completed at least half of his/her studies at the time of application
  • Max. 1 person with qualified vocational training (technical employee without university degree) or whose university degree was awarded more than 5 years ago

What is being funded?

  • Innovative startup idea that is technology-oriented and/or knowledge-based
  • Scalable business model
  • First positive market feedback can be presented, e.g. in the form of LOIs (Letters of Intent)
  • A professor of the supporting university accompanies the start-up project as a mentor

How is support provided?

Scholarship to secure livelihood; amount depends on graduate status (GDP in each case):

  • PhD students: 3,000 euros per month
  • University graduates: 2,500 euros per month
  • Technical employee: 2,000 euros per month
  • Students: 1,000 euros per month
  • Child supplement: 150 Euro per month per child
  • Material resources: EUR 30 000
  • Coaching funds: 5.000 Euro
  • Infrastructure: Free office space in the Startup-Incubator Mitte or Adlershof as well as free use of laboratory space at the university if required
  • Know-how: Free coaching and consulting by the start-up service and integration into the start-up ecosystem of the Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Duration of scheme: 12 months

How do I apply?

3 steps to apply for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant:

  • Make an initial consultation appointment with us
  • Develop and submit application documents together with Startup Consultant - especially idea paper (max. 25 pages)
  • Wait for a positive assessment by the project executing agency and, if necessary, fulfill additional requirements

More Information


Thomas Wagner
+49 30 2093 70773
Katharina Heinrich
+49 30 2093 70765