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of startup projects

You have an innovative startup project and are looking for funding or seed capital to implement your startup idea?

The supervisors in the CEDUS team help to identify suitable funding programs and mediate financing options as well as investors during the process of setting up an enterprise. They connect entrepreneurs to funding institutions, banks, business angels and venture capital organizations.

In addition to state and federal funding programs, the Heinrich Heine University offers additional financing options for HHU startup projects. For technology-based startups, regional and national seed funds for external seed capital are also available.

Subsidies for founders

We support you in finding the right funding program and help you with the application process.

The EXIST subsidy supports students, graduates and scientists from universities and non-university research institutions who would like to turn their founding idea into a business plan.

The EXIST Business Start-up Grant promotes ambitious innovative start-up projects in the early stages. Founders from universities are supported in the conception of a business plan for their founding idea.

It should be about

  • innovative technology-oriented start-up projects or innovative
  • knowledge-based services based on scientific evidence.

The maximum funding period is one year.

For further information regarding EXIST Business Start-up Grant please click here.

EXIST Research Transfer supports outstanding research oriented projects that involve expensive and high-risk resource development.

The program has two phases of funding:

  • In the first phase, results of research that have the potential of becoming the basis of a start-up business are developed further. The objective is to carry out further resource development to clarify fundamental problems involved in converting academic findings into technical products and processes. The business concept based on these findings should be made into a business plan and the planned business start-up should be prepared systematically.
  • In the second phase of funding further resource development, measures to start business operations and meeting the prerequisites for external business financing are at the centre of interest.

For further information regarding EXIST Research Transfer please click here.

HHU has received approval for EXIST-Women from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. This funding will enable the Female Entrepreneurship Incubator (FEIN) to be launched 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 start-up project.

All interested women can apply until December 7, 2023 using the following form: EXIST-Women application form

All information about EXIST-Women at HHU can be found here: https://www.cedus.hhu.de/exist-women

With the biotechnology start-up initiative, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds start-up research teams with a life science orientation. The funded working groups will use GO-Bio to pursue new research approaches in life sciences and to prepare their commercial exploitation in a targeted manner.

The selection and decision-making process is two-tiered:

  • First, the applicants will present project drafts in German or English for the respective submission deadline.
  • In a second stage of the procedure, the selected candidates are invited to submit a formal application.

For further information regarding Biotechnology start-up initiative please click here.

The funding is intended to support people from NRW who are willing to set up their own company in order to further develop research results/know-how with great market potential and a convincing business concept and to implement them in the establishment of their own company. The program supports projects based on technological, business or social innovations.

The application procedure is a one-step, six-monthly process.

The maximum funding period is 18 months.

For further information regarding Start-up Transfer.NRW please click here.

The funding initiative VIP+ promotes scientists to examine and prove their research results potential and to open new scopes.

The validation is supported by theories of natural and technical  scientific fields as well as by humanities, social sciences and cultural studies.

The application procedure is a single-level process.

The maximum funding term is three years.

For further information regarding VIP+ please click here.

The object of the funding is the identification and further development of life science exploitation ideas, preferably from the fields of "therapeutics", "diagnostics", "platform technologies" and "research tools", from their conceptual design to the verification of feasibility ("proof-of-principle", abbreviated to "PoP") and possible exploitation options.

The program consists of two funding phases:

1. exploratory phase, max. 1 year

2. feasibility phase, max. 24 months

For further information regarding Go-Bio-Initial please click here.

Participation of TTHU GmbH

Via its subsidiary TTHU GmbH, the HHU can participate in its university spin-offs.

TTHU GmbH fundamentally strives to secure an initial participation in a spin-off and in return receives shares in the company or a share of turnover or profit. It generally acts as a minority shareholder.

Other seed financing then takes place, for example, through the High-Tech Gründerfonds and/or the Sirius Seedfonds Düsseldorf.

External Financing

You can find a listing of some Düsseldorf investors here.

For many years the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf supports research and teaching at universities of the state capital. As one of the regional most successful founders bank they offer promoted by other strong partners like state capital Düsseldorf and the NRW.BANK individual solutions for innovative financing projects.


  • Feedback on business plan
  • Individual finance solutions
  • Use of public subsidies
  • Business insurances
  • Private additional insurance
  • Company pension
  • Mediation of collaboration partners

For further information please click here.

The High-Tech Gründerfonds is a common project of the federal government, the german industry and the KfW Banking Group to finance the initial capital of technology-based founding projects.

Since 2005 the High-Tech Gründerfonds finances young technology companies at good rates and actively assists the management with a strong network and entrepreneurial knowledge.

For further information please click here.

Sirius Venture Partners invests directly in entrepreneur-led companies from the late seed phase to the expansion phase in technological growth markets through its own funds. Investment decisions are not only made according to opportunities, but also pro-actively based on own continuous market monitoring and presence.

Sirius Venture Partners' investments are structured as follows:

  • Minority investments
  • Equity investments in several financing rounds with an initial minimum investment of EUR 500k up to total financing rounds of up to EUR 5 million per investee company
  • Private and public investment syndicates to form larger financing rounds of up to EUR 15 million
  • Lead or co-lead investor
  • Seat on the supervisory board or advisory board as well as support and coaching until exit (e.g. IPO or trade sale)

For further information please click here.

1stMOVER is an incubator for start-ups who develop innovative products and services of mobile web: a mobile web incubator. They collaborate with a network of experts in the field of business development, product and project management, coding, design, marketing, PR and sales.

For further information please click here.

Companisto is the investment platform for startups and growth companies. Business angels and investors participate in groundbreaking innovations, promising companies, and ideas that write history through venture capital. As a fintech company, Companisto stands for lean processes, specialized knowledge and efficient solutions and is the innovation driver in the field of professional online business financing. In a diverse society, Companisto takes responsibility for the founding culture in Germany and Europe.

For further information please click here.

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