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EXIST-Women: Targeted support for female founders

Become a founder with us!

There is news! HHU has received approval for EXIST-Women from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. With this funding, the Female Entrepreneurship Incubator (FEIN) will start at CEDUS in January 2024, which is explicitly aimed at women at HHU who are interested in founding a company and is intended to support them in their startup project.

New funding programme launched

From January, 10 scholarship holders will receive the €2.000 awarded for material resources and the scholarship money. Each founder will be supported by an experienced mentor. All EXIST-Women scholarship holders will meet on 9th January to get to know each other and the workshop programme will start on 17th January.

Let's get started - your dates for the first half of the year

date time subject format
09.01.2024 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. HHU EXIST-Women Scholarship holders get to know each other Networking
17.01.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Finding personal strengths Workshop
24.01.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Agile Startup Methods & Lean Canvas Workshop
31.01.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Naming & Storytelling Workshop
01.02.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Scholarship holders x mentors Networking
06.02.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Selfbranding & Selfmarketing Workshop
14.02.2024 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Target group & customer segments Workshop
26.02.2024 from 6:30 p.m. Female Founders in Tech Networking
28.02.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Creativity workshop, design thinking & idea development Workshop
11.03.2024 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Post with a plan: SEO & content strategy Workshop (online)
20.03.2024 from 10 a.m. Network-Brunch Networking
21.03.2024 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Successful pitching - Input Workshop (online)
03.04.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Successful pitching in front of jury & investors Workshop
16.04.2024 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Financing & Pricing - Input Workshop (online)
17.04.2024 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Negotiations in front of investors & business angels Workshop
29.04.2024 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Financing & Pricing Workshop
26.06.2024 from 10 a.m. Network-Brunch Networking
01.07.2024 from 6:30 p.m. Female Founders Networking

The Female Entrepreneuership Incubator (FEIN)

  • At least two-month scholarship of up to €3.000 per month (depending on your educational qualification and additionally you may only work a maximum of 20 hours/week at the same time)*
  • €2.000 in material resources*
  • Support from a mentor with startup experience
  • Exciting workshops on startup-related topics
  • Numerous networking events together with the scholarship holders from Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences
     

*Unfortunately, the budget freeze has led to complications in the distribution and administration of funding, which means that we can currently only guarantee a two-month scholarship. Furthermore, the funds in kind must be spent by mid-February. With a timely release of the budget freeze, the scholarship will of course be extended to three months.

The only exclusion criteria are that the applicants have already received startup funding from the federal or state governments or that they have already founded a corporation and/or are already generating sales with their startup.

New startup funding 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 setting up a business in the phase prior to founding a company, particularly in the development of their entrepreneurial personality and the further development of their startup idea.

Strengthening the potential of female founders

The new EXIST-Women funding line gives women at Heinrich-Heine-Düsseldorf Düsseldorf who are interested in setting up a business and have an affinity for entrepreneurship the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the topics of startups and self-employment at an early stage. Even more than before, the startup networks at the universities are to be encouraged to motivate female graduates, scientists, students and women with professional qualifications and a connection to the university (e.g. technical assistants, chemical-technical assistants, administrative assistants) to become entrepreneurs.

The new EXIST-Women guidelines were therefore published on July 7th, 2023. The new EXIST funding line includes events, counselling and support services as well as a financial grant for prospective female founders.

FAQs:

With EXIST-Women, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection supports women at universities and research institutions who are interested in setting up a business in the phase prior to founding a company, particularly in the development of their entrepreneurial personality and the further development of their startup idea.

Female graduates (graduation can be more than 5 years ago), academics, 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 startups and want to take part in a 12-month qualification program. Participation is also possible while studying or working. A concrete startup 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 already received startup funding from the federal or state governments are excluded from funding.

  • Participation in our 12-month Female Entrepreneurship Incubator (FEIN)
  • Individual coaching by the startup consultants at CEDUS
  • 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 startup 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*

*The budget freeze unfortunately leads to complications in the distribution and administration of funding, i.e. we can currently only guarantee a 2-month scholarship. Furthermore, the material expenses must be spent by mid-February. With a timely release of the budget freeze, the scholarship will of course be extended to three months.

You will take part in EXIST-Women events and our Female Entrepreneurship Incubator. EXIST-Women is a startup sensitisation and qualification measure. There is no obligation to start a business. At the end of the programme, you will present your startup 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 startup support - great. But if you want to take more time with your startup, that's fine too, because entrepreneurial spirit is needed everywhere!

By completing our FEIN incubator programme, you will learn what is important when setting up a company and how it works. You will also get to know other female founders who will share their experiences of starting a business with you. You were able to develop a new, viable startup idea or further develop your existing idea and validate the business model. You know the next steps for your own startup and may even have already found co-founders or raised follow-up funding.

As an HHU institution, we are required to give preference to women who have a connection to HHU when applying. However, applications are also open to external applicants.

First, fill out the application form on our website and send it to . The application deadline for the 2024 batch is December 7th, 2023. If you meet the requirements for EXIST-Women, we will invite you to a personal meeting at CEDUS. The personal meeting will probably take place in the week from December 11th to 15th, 2023. The aim is to get to know you, your motivation and your start-up idea even better. You will find out whether you have made it into the first batch before Christmas.

Questions? Comments? Need to talk?

Do you have questions about our incubator program, your application or the rest of the process? Then please get in touch.

Isabell Nethke

Deputy Head of CEDUS & Consulting

Isabell Nethke
+49 211 81-11643

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