The EXIST Grant

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant is a program set up by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to support students, graduates and scientists from universities and research institutes who want to turn their business idea into a business plan.

Start-up ideas should be innovative and either technology or knowledge-based projects with significant unique features and good commercial prospects of success. 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. With the HHL DIGITAL SPACE’s coaching, potential founders develop their founding idea and prepare an EXIST start-up grant application.

What are requirements for EXIST applicants?

You are based in Germany? Do you have the intent to found your first company based on knowledge or technology innovation?
HHL DIGITAL SPACE supports you with your EXIST application.

Up to three people in your founding team can get supported. The majority needs to have a university background. The last university degree or occupation as a research associate should not be older than 5 years (exceptions possible). You can also apply, if you are still studying.

Your founding idea focuses either on a technology-oriented innovation or on knowledge-based innovative services.

The intended legal company has not been founded before the EXIST  scholarship has started.

  • No other personal funding programs are used to finance the living expenses of the founding team (e.g. BAföG).
  • Founders must not be employed (full-time or part-time) during the funding period as they should be able to concentrate full-time on the startup development (exception: a maximum of 5 hours of part-time employment per week are permitted).
  • The founders have not yet made prior use of any other funding within the framework of the EXIST programs (e.g. EXIST founder’s grant)
Contact us
Get supported for your EXIST application and the subsequent process!

Once you have decided to apply for the EXIST Business Startup Grant through HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, 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. Contact us for your first coaching session with Philip!