EXIST-Women funding program

EXIST-Women compact for female founders

With EXIST-Women, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection supports women at universities and research institutions who are interested in founding a company in the phase before they set up their own business, particularly in developing their entrepreneurial personality and further developing their start-up idea.

Here you will find a summary of the most important information for participants:

Who is EXIST-Women aimed at?

Female graduates (the degree can also be more than 5 years old), scientists, students (Bachelor's degree or ≥ half of the coursework completed) and women with vocational training and a connection to the university who are interested in the topic of start-ups and want to take part in a 12-month qualification program. Participation is also possible while studying or working. A concrete start-up idea can, but does not have to exist. Funding is also available for ideas that are not based on knowledge or research, but are geared towards later commercial activity. Women who have previously received start-up funding from the federal or state governments are not eligible for funding.

What does EXIST-Women offer me?

  • Participation in a 12-month qualification program for business start-ups
  • Individual coaching from the university's start-up network
  • entrepreneurial support from a mentor
  • nationwide network of female founders
  • One-off funding of € 2,000* (e.g. for coaching, travel expenses or validation of your start-up idea)
  • Optional 3-month scholarship if you have no income or work max. 20 h/week €1,000 - €3,000/month* (depending on qualifications) + child supplement

* depending on the open federal budget decision for 2023 and 2024

What are my obligations as a participant?

You will take part in the seminar Gründerin, regularly attend the events of the local start-up network that are relevant to you and attend appointments for individual advice from the start-up network and to exchange ideas with your mentor. If possible, you should also attend the centrally organized start-up forums and networking events. EXIST-Women is a measure to sensitize and qualify women to start-ups. There is no obligation to start a business. At the end of the funding period, you will present your start-up idea and the results you have achieved in a short and concise one-pager. If you set up a company during the 12-month qualification phase or during subsequent start-up support - great. But if you want to take more time with the start-up, that's also okay, because entrepreneurial spirit is needed everywhere!

Where will I be at the end of the 12-month qualification program?

Thanks to the courses offered by your local university and the events offered centrally, you will know what is important when starting a business and how to do it. And you got to know other female founders who shared their experiences of starting a business with you. You were able to develop a new, viable start-up idea or further develop your existing idea and validate the business model. You know the next steps for your own start-up and may even have already found co-founders or raised follow-up funding.

Where does the program take place?

The supervising university will train you online or on site, perhaps in cooperation with other universities in the region. You will also take part in up to four centrally organized EXIST-Women events where you will meet prospective female founders from all over Germany.

Who selects the participants?

This is what the participating universities do. You can find out whether EXIST-Women is something for you in a personal consultation with the start-up network of a university (i.e. with us in the GründungsWerkstatt) in your area. Female students and graduates from other universities can also apply. The Equal Opportunities Office (Initiative FocusFrauen) and the GründungsWerkstatt are responsible for the implementation at Worms University of Applied Sciences.

Important information on the procedure and application process at Worms University of Applied Sciences:

First step: Apply!

Write or create something individual that shows us your inclination and motivation to found a company (e.g. a letter of motivation, an application video)! Convince us!

Who are you?

What do you do?

What are you studying? What did you study?

Where are you currently working?

Why are you interested in founding a company?

Do you have a role model for founding a company?

And finally: Please send us your contact details!

Your application format is open, as a letter of motivation, as an e-mail, as a short video. The important thing is that we find out more about you and your start-up motivation. Any form is fine, just as you like! Show us briefly and concisely that you are serious!

Places for funding are limited, which is why there is a two-stage selection process. After reviewing the applications, we will invite the most convincing applicants to a personal interview.

Please note that some events, especially the mandatory events of the EXIST project management organization, will be held in German. A basic knowledge of German would be necessary for EXIST funding. Mentoring and coaching are of course also available in English.

Send your application now to FocusFrauen (focusfrauen@hs-worms.de) or Gründungswerkstatt (gruenden@hs-worms.de), preferably by the end of the year for the first round.

Where can I find more information about EXIST-Women?

On our website https://www.exist.de/EXIST/Navigation/DE/Gruendungsfoerderung/EXIST-WO-MEN/EXIST-WOMEN/exist-women.html we have answered frequently asked questions about EXIST-Women in detail in the FAQs. You will also find all the important documents for the application process as well as topics and dates relating to EXIST-Women.

Status: Sept. 4th 2023


This program is funded by: