FHWS building at Sanderheinrichsleitenweg Würzburg

Conditions for the EXIST & FLÜGGE funding programmes

Funding programme – EXIST grant for business founders


What is the EXIST grant for business founders?

The nationwide funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supports innovative, technology- and knowledge-based start-ups from higher education institutions in the early stages. The aim is to support graduates (in exceptional cases also students) in the development of a product or service idea and in the preparation of a viable business plan until the company is founded.

Who can apply for an EXIST grant?

  • Scientists and academics from higher education institutions and non-university research institutions 
  • Graduates from higher education institutions or former academic staff (up to 5 years after graduation or retirement) - Recently, the participation of a founding member whose graduation was more than five years ago or who has a qualified (technical) vocational training is possible
  • Students who have completed at least half of their studies at the time of application. 
  • Founder teams up to a maximum of three persons

What is funded by EXIST?

  • Innovative technology-oriented start-up projects 
  • Innovative services with high customer benefit, which are based on scientific findings and are expected to have unique selling propositions on the market.

What is the scope of funding under EXIST?

  • Securing living expenses via a scholarship depending on graduation: 
    • Doctorate: 3,000 Euro/Month 
    • University degree: 2,500 Euro/Month 
    • Technical staff: 2,000 Euro/Month 
    • Students: 1,000 Euro/Month 
    • Children’s allowance: 100 Euro/Month 
  • Material expenses: Up to 30,000 Euro for forming a team 
  • Coaching for founding a start-up: 5,000 Euro 
  • Max. funding period: One year

Visit the EXIST website to see current funding conditions.
Link to the EXIST website

Videos by EXIST
Link to the EXIST start-up grant video
Link to the EXIST research transfer video


The FLÜGGE funding programme

The Bavarian funding programme to facilitate the transition to a start-up existence of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology pursues the goal of supporting start-ups from universities in Bavaria. 

Who is supported?

  • Young graduates and higher education institution staff at Bavarian state institutions of higher education 
  • Teams with an innovative business idea from the production and service sectors 
  • with a clearly identifiable market volume
  • Not eligible for funding: The area of professions which are self-employed by tradition (architect, dentist, ...)

How is funding provided?

  • Scholarship for up to 12 months, parallel to setting up the business; 
  • If required, use of the institution's resources (e. g. rooms, laboratories) (workstation, computer, laboratory) 
  • Supplementary material resources and funds for business coaching 


It should also be noted:

  • The project is in the pre-establishment phase and the intention must be to establish a company after the end of the funding.
  • Applications can usually be submitted once or twice a year.

Current funding conditions can be found on the FLÜGGE website
Link to the FLÜGGE website


You will be supported in the application process by:

Ulrike Machalett-Gehring
Room T.0.12
Tiepolostraße 6
97070 Würzburg 
Phone +49 931 3511–8992
E-mail ulrike.machalett-gehring[at]thws.de