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Are you still a student, but already have a good idea for your own start-up?

The EXIST startup scholarship supports start-ups in the field of science. This enables you to become self-employed, regardless of whether you are a student, graduate or research assistant. Start a business directly from university. This is the EXIST start-up scholarship. The scholarship can provide you with monthly financial support. In addition to financial support, the start-up coaches will help you with difficult decisions.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Financial support: 1000 to 3000 euros per month for the development of your idea.
  • Child allowance: An additional 150 euros per month for dependent children.
  • Funding for equipment: Up to 30,000 euros for equipment costs, depending on team size.
  • Coaching and training: Up to 5,000 euros for coaching, qualification measures, and startup consultations.
  • Infrastructure: Access to various coaching and an extensive network.
  • Duration: Support and mentoring over a period of 12 months.

The program is funded by:

Application process

State universities and non-university research institutions can submit your application for funding at any time. You and your university are equally involved in the preparation of the application. In order to submit your application for the EXIST start-up scholarship, you must complete the following tasks.

  1. You must submit your finished and well-formulated concept paper to your university.

  2. You must nominate a mentor from the university who will provide guidance.

  3. The responsible startup network will assign you a coach to accompany you on your journey.

  4. the university must provide evidence that you are part of a start-up network.

  5. You must attend a consultation session with your university's startup initiative.

  6. The university forwards your application to the Project Management Agency Jülich (Projektträger Jülich PTJ).

As soon as the project management organization has received your application, it will be assessed in accordance with the requirements and a decision will be made on your funding after a subsequent review. You will then be informed directly. The funds will be paid directly to your university or research institution.

Contact and materials


If you are now interested in the "EXIST" program, we look forward to your application! Here, we provide you with all the relevant information:

If you have any questions about the process or further details, you can always contact us at


What is funded?

The entrepreneurial project must be innovative and technology-oriented. The EXIST Business Start-up Grant supports ideas from the manufacturing sector that are based on scientific knowledge. The EXIST Business Start-up Grant promotes innovative and knowledge-based high-tech start-ups. A unique selling proposition is essential for funding under the EXIST Business Start-up Grant.

Who is supported?

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant supports all founders from universities and other research institutions who want to realize a knowledge-based start-up idea. At the time of funding, the founders should have completed at least half of their studies. The graduation of graduates and former research assistants must not be longer than five years ago. Founder teams may consist of up to three people and, in cases where the majority are students, are only funded in exceptional cases.

I'm not affiliated with any university. What should I do?

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant is open to anyone who wants to start a business in Germany and meets the other requirements. Where you completed your university degree does not matter for the EXIST Business Start-up Grant.

What is the funding like?

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant primarily provides financial support to founders. Students can receive up to €1,000 per month. Technical staff can receive up to €2,000 per month. Graduates from a university can receive up to €2,500 per month from the EXIST Business Start-up Grant, and doctoral scholarship holders can be supported with up to €3,000 per month.

If you have dependent children, the EXIST Business Start-up Grant includes a child allowance of €150 per month.

In addition, material costs are covered. For individual founders, these costs can reach up to €10,000, and for team founders, they can reach up to €30,000.

Furthermore, the EXIST Business Start-up Grant offers an additional €5,000 for coaching, qualification measures, and start-up consulting. Coaching sessions can include courses on topics such as public relations, corporate law, commercial law, legal advice, or rhetoric courses for entrepreneurs.

What do I have to do for the Exist Start-up Grant?

The universities must be part of the start-up network. From there, you will be provided with a mentor and a workspace. This, as well as the use of infrastructure, is guaranteed to be free of charge.

It is expected that once you are being funded, you attend various seminars. After five months, you will present the initial results for the business plan. Participation in a seminar on entrepreneurial personality is mandatory.

After another five months, a complete business plan must be available.

What else needs to be considered?

You can start your company during the funding period. However, your founding should not take place before the funding period or at the beginning of the funding period.

The focus of the program is to support the creation of a business plan. If you receive funding from the EXIST start-up scholarship, you may not be part of another funding program or scholarship. You may also not be in any employment relationship. This also includes that no remunerated secondary activities of more than five hours per week may be performed.

The EXIST start-up scholarship is subject to taxation. This means that you must independently ensure the proper payment of taxes and social security contributions.

Are there other scholarships from Exist?

Yes, in addition to the EXIST start-up scholarship (EXIST-Gründerstipendium), there are other scholarships offered by EXIST. This includes the EXIST Research Transfer scholarship (EXIST-Forschungstransfer).