Helmholtz Enterprise

Helmholtz Enterprise (HE) and the funding module Helmholtz Enterprise Plus (HE Plus) form the internal program for spin-offs from the Helmholtz Association. Over the past ten years, more than 100 start-up projects have benefited from the initiative. Of these, more than 70 projects were set up successfully and over 80 per cent of them are still actively involved in business today.

HE offers the founders the maximum freedom to try out their business ideas in a protected environment. During the twelve-month period, it is intended that the teams of founders should be able to focus on developing concrete practical solutions for their customers’ problems. The primary aim of this high-risk seed phase is to receive early feedback from customers, to carry out initial market tests, and to develop an in-depth understanding of market conditions.

Target groups:

  • Doctoral students
  • Technicians
  • Group managers/department heads
  • Professors and institute directors
  • External founders who recognize that a type of technology or a skill developed at a Helmholtz Center can provide a solution for a customer’s problem

Scope of support:

  • Up to 100,000 euros for personnel costs, travel expenses, and technical prototypes (subject to co-financing at the same level from the relevant Research Center)
  • Support in obtaining admission to a start-up accelerator program to learn about entrepreneurial methods
  • Exchange of ideas between founder teams within a cohort
  • Interaction with coaches and experts from industry
  • “HE Plus” funding providing an additional budget to cover the costs of external management/entrepreneurial support and participation in accelerator programs

HE Plus funding is also available to founders at Helmholtz Centers who have already taken advantage of other start-up funding programs (e.g. EXIST, GoBio).

Details can be found in the flyer​ and in the program guidelines.

Participation in an accelerator program:

HE teams have to participate in an accelerator program within the first 6 months. Teams can apply directly by an own selected accelerator or can contact the program management to access the accelerator network of external partners.

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  • Photo of Barbara Diehl
    • Barbara Diehl
    • Director Department Transfer and Innovation
      Helmholtz Association
  • Photo of Christopher Kerth
    • Christopher Kerth
    • Program Manager Transfer and Innovation
      Helmholtz Association