13.02.2023 | Financing & Promotion, Funding Programs

Idea promotion & coaching worth up to 7,500 euros.
*** Application deadline for the next round: April 24, 2024 ***

What is KickStart@HFU?

Furtwangen University promotes inventive and entrepreneurial spirit and has launched KickStart@HFU, a funding program that starts at a very early stage of a potential start-up – during the development of ideas or prototypes. Within the framework of KickStart@HFU, we (together with the BMBF – Federal Ministry of Education and Research) support innovative (business) ideas with up to 7,500 euros per project. So if you have an innovative idea and want to develop it further, apply now!

Who is sponsored?

The funding program is aimed at all members of Furtwangen University (students, professors, employees) at all locations. Individuals or teams can apply. The funding explicitly refers to the pre-founding phase of the potential founders. The company must not have been founded yet.

What is promoted?

Funding is provided for innovative (technology-oriented) ideas with development and growth potential as well as innovative services with high customer benefits that are expected to have unique selling points on the market. The funding includes consulting and in-kind services worth up to €7,500 per project. In addition to financial support, the winners can expect an individual consulting program on the path to a possible start-up as well as access to the services of the HFU start-up consulting startUPcampus, such as makerspaces and creative spaces.

In general, funds to cover the living expenses of applicants or expenses for personnel are NOT eligible. Also ineligible are expenses for material or consulting services that are already available to all members of the university as general and freely accessible infrastructure. Priority should be given to the use of resources already available at HFU (e.g. creative spaces, makerspaces, laboratories, free consulting services provided by the HFU startup consulting service startUPcampus, computer/technology rooms, etc.).

How can I apply?

Applications for the next round of KickStart@HFU are open until April 24, 2024! Apply by sending the completed application form (i.e. including the list of required financial resources and the attachment for each team member) and, if applicable, a professorial letter of recommendation (optional) to:

Click here for the FELIX course “KickStart@HFU

Further procedure

All applications are first subjected to a formal review (are all the required contents present?). This is followed by a qualitative review by the KickStart@HFU team (is it an innovative idea that can be tested within six months?).
The selected teams or individuals receive an invitation to pitch (3 minutes + max. 10 minutes of jury questions) in front of an independent jury consisting of representatives of Furtwangen University and external experts.
Decisive criteria for the evaluation are innovation content & USP, feasibility, market opportunities, motivation & team composition as well as the plausibility of the planned expenditure within the funding program.

The pitches of the past three rounds took place in December 2021, June 2022, December 2022 and May 2023 (online). A total of 13 teams have managed to receive KickStart funding so far.

The following points should be considered in the pitch:

  • Introduce yourself as a person / team and describe your motivation for your idea (motivation & team composition).
  • Describe your product / service (functionality & innovation content)
  • What problem does it solve / what customer need is satisfied? (Customer Need & Market Potential)
  • What is the USP? (What can your product / service do that existing solutions cannot?)
  • What will the requested funding be used for (list of required financial resources)?
  • What is your roadmap for the prototype phase (milestone planning)?
  • The approval or rejection will be made promptly and is subject to the approval of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

After approval, you have six months to develop your prototype. During this time, you can take advantage of coaching by the HFU startup consulting service startUPcampus. All funded KickStart teams take part in the monthly startup consultation and report here on the current status of their projects. At the end of the funding period, each team shows what it has been able to achieve in a final presentation.