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Financial support and methodical guidance for strong women on the path to self-employment

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What is Exist Women?

Support for female founders


Ready to change the game? EXIST Women, the funding program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK), is your answer to the path to self-employment! In a world in which the proportion of women in start-ups is still too low, we are sending a strong signal for female entrepreneurship. We not only offer financial support, but also targeted methods and government support to increase the proportion of women in the start-up sector and make entrepreneurship more accessible to women. Unfold your potential, become part of a network of inspiring female founders, and experience how EXIST Women is helping to sustainably change the start-up landscape. The first step into the world of successful female entrepreneurship starts here!

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How we support YOU in setting up a company


WHO can apply for Exist-WomEn

The Exist-Women programme is aimed specifically at women who are interested in starting their own business. In addition to the willingness to participate in our 12-month qualification programme, you will find further criteria for participation in the programme here.


You are a graduate (even if you graduated more than 5 years ago), a scientist, a student (and have completed half of your degree)

or you have a professional qualification.


AN IDEA for a start-up?

You can apply with or without a specific start-up idea. We can support you in developing a start-up idea.

Much more important for participation in Exist-Women is your motivation, your creativity and your innovative strength. Exist-Women is open to all topics and technologies and is open to all women who are interested in the topic of start-ups - regardless of their professional background.  



The formation of a corporation or the commencement of business activities must not have taken place before the start of participation in Exist-Women.


YOU have not yet received start-up funding

Women who have already received start-up funding from the federal or state governments are excluded from the programme.

Exist-Women Formular

The first step to self-employment

Are you interested in Exist-Women and the topic of founding companies? Then write to us. We will arrange an appointment with you for an initial introductory conversation. There we will discuss your idea, answer any questions you have about the program and clarify the next steps.

If you have any questions about Exist-WomenIt's best to write us an email.

On which days of the week do you have time for a meeting? (The appointments take place in the mornings between 9am and 12pm.)
Where should the first interview take place?

Thank you!
We'll get in touch with you soon!


WHICH IDEAS ARE SUPPORTED BY EXIST-WOMEN? We welcome all ideas - regardless of the topic or focus of your idea. In an initial introductory meeting, we will listen to your idea and look together at how we can work together. We are open to everything that is new and innovative!

HOW LONG DOES THE EXIST-WOMEN PROGRAMME LAST? The support programme lasts a total of 12 months. During this time, we will provide you with advice and support to help you realise your dream of starting a business.

DO I HAVE ANY OBLIGATIONS DURING THE PROGRAMME? Yes, you must attend the "Female Founder" seminar and the biannual founder conferences. We also expect you to take part in the events and regular counselling sessions.

WHAT DOES THE PROGRAMME CONTAIN? We will personalise your idea and goals. You will be given access to various workshops, specialist materials and methods to help you develop your product.

IS EXIST-WOMEN ALSO AIMED AT WOMEN WHO WORK FULL-TIME? Yes, we also support working women. The lump sum of €2000 is available to everyone. However, the 3-month scholarship is linked to certain conditions, including a maximum working time of 20 hours per week.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE EXIST-WOMEN START-UP GRANT? You can receive the 3-month start-up grant if you have no income or work a maximum of 20 hours per week. This means that you can realise your idea on a part-time basis. If you already receive a personal scholarship or a benefit to bridge your living expenses, please contact us. This is usually not a problem. If you are already receiving Exist funding or funding from Exist Research Transfer, we cannot fund you.

DO I HAVE TO PAY BACK THE GRANT IF I DON'T START A BUSINESS? No. With Exist-Women, you are not obliged to found a company. Neither the grant nor the lump sum for material resources have to be paid back.

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Contact persons

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Dr. Kareen Schlangen


Johanna Vargas

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Nina Eberhard

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