Female Entrepreneure im Gespräch - Motiv

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This website provides information on developments and activities around funding and support for female entrepreneurs at higher education and research institutions.

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One of the objectives of the Federal Government’s Startup Strategy is to strengthen female entrepreneurship and diversity in startups. At 20%, the share of women receiving startup funding from EXIST stands above the national average and has continued to increase, particularly in recent years. The work of startup networks has also contributed to this positive development, delivering a diverse range of services aimed at raising awareness among women and at providing funding and networking support for female entrepreneurs.

New funding line

EXIST Women allows women at higher education institutions who are interested in setting up a business expand their knowledge about starting up and self-employment at an early stage. University startup networks are to be given even more encouragement to interest female graduates, scientists, students and women with a vocational qualification and a connection to a higher education institution (e.g. technical assistants, chemical-technical assistants, administrative specialists) in starting their own business. On 7 July 2023, the new EXIST Women guideline was published. This new EXIST funding line offers events, advisory and support services as well as financial support to budding female entrepreneurs. Applications are accepted from higher education and research institutions whose startup network has already established advisory services dedicated especially to women or is planning to do so and, optionally, wants to conclude grant agreements with female entrepreneurs. Applications have to be submitted by 30 September 2023.

Dialogue formats

The EXIST team wants to provide input and opportunities for dialogue also beyond the EXIST workshops focusing on support for female entrepreneurs. We therefore invite all startup networks at German higher education and research institutions to share information on the dialogue formats they offer and to draw inspiration from the diverse range of services that exist.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, project management agency Jülich has created the ‘survey on good practice measures’ in the area of female entrepreneurship, which you can access via this link. The results of this survey are continuously updated and listed in a table that can be downloaded here.

EXIST is a funding programme provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Latest news

In 2023, 110 EXIST Women applications from higher education institutions around Germany were approved (see list of EXIST Women higher education institutions). Some of the institutions have already selected their participants, the first of whom have already travelled to Munich or Berlin for their seminar on female entrepreneurs. Other higher education institutions are still in the midst of the selection process. Interested women can apply to the startup centre of a participating higher education institution in their region – even if they are not studying / have not studied there. The list contains the links to the startup services of the higher education institutions, although these services may not have included EXIST Women in their lists yet because the programme is so new. However, the contacts listed there do provide information about EXIST Women.

under EXIST Women
Project stages
under EXIST Women
on EXIST Women


In the section below, we will notify you of important events relating to EXIST Women and female founders.

Kalenderblatt mit Datum

© S&F

The next EXIST workshop will take place in Cologne on 12 and 13 March 2024. It will offer more sessions on EXIST Women and Female Entrepreneurship. Please make a note of the date in your diary.

Kalenderblatt mit Datum

© S&F

The “25 years of EXIST” conference will include the first EXIST Female Entrepreneurs Forum in Berlin on 7 June 2024. The focus here is to be on business skills development and networking with peers and with role model female entrepreneurs. More information will follow soon.

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