EXIST (support for graduates, scientists, students in preparing technology- and knowledge-based start-ups)


This programme aims at improving the entrepreneurial environment at universities and research institutes. It also aims at increasing the number and success of technology and knowledge based business start-ups.


The EXIST programme comprises three schemes:

  • EXIST Culture of Entrepreneurship
  • EXIST Business Start-up Grant
  • EXIST Transfer of Research 

The EXIST programme comprises three schemes:

EXIST Culture of Entrepreneurship supports universities in formulating and implementing a comprehensive and sustained university-wide strategy for increasing entrepreneurial culture and spirit. A bustling culture of entrepreneurship at the university is not only characterised by entrepreneurial and realistic range of courses and consulting services or a detailed entrepreneurial research.

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

EXIST Transfer of Research funds both the resource development necessary to prove the technical feasibility of start-up ideas based on research and the preparation necessary to launch a business. EXIST Transfer of Research supports outstanding research oriented projects that involve expensive and high-risk resource development.

Source: http://www.exist.de/EN/Programme/About-EXIST/content.html


German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), http://bmwi.de/

Co-Financing by European Social Fund (ESF)


The programme supports students, graduates and scientists from universities and research institutes who want to turn their business idea into a business plan and an actual company.


Programme started in 1998 and is still running as of today (January 2017).


Results have been published in a broschure (english): "15 Years of EXIST 'University-based start-up programmes' - Development of the EXIST funding programme between 1998 and 2013"

In 2016, the 1.500th EXIST Grant has been approved.


The fact that EXIST exists for quite a long time now proves that it is a successful programme. Nevertheless, EXIST can be referred to as a "learning programme", as there have been a lot of changes in the programme since it's start in 1998, always adapting it to new circumstances.


GEN Germany
GEN Germany