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What aspects of the concept paper are actually evaluated?

Three core topics are assessed: Team, innovation and market. The following aspects play a central role:


  • Scientific-technical skills of the team members
  • Business-administrative/entrepreneurial skills of the team
  • Industry knowledge, founding experience, freelancing activities
  • Relation of the project to the research at the university or research institution
  • Team constellation (studies, PhD, etc.)
  • Support network for the project (coaches, mentors etc.)
  • Letter of intent (a good instrument to highlight customer interest in your product or service)


  • (technological) innovation compared to state of the art
  • USPs (short-, medium- and long-term) and customer benefits
  • Corresponding prior research and development at the university / research institution
  • Product description is understandable
  • Project- or work plan (implementation plan)
  • Protection rights or strategy to ensure the USPs
  • Horizontal objectives of the ESF are considered (equality, non-discrimination, sustainability)


  • Business model
  • Competitive advantages (direct/indirect)
  • Market chances / Market entry barriers
  • Plausibility of financial planning

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