Spin-off companies

Establishing direct spin-offs from research centers is an important transfer channel. These spin-offs are based on technologies and insights developed by scientists over the course of many years of outstanding research. Not only are these new services, products, and processes able to significantly improve the ones that currently exist, or make them more cost-effective, they also offer first-time solutions for pressing challenges.

Since 2005, over 175 spin-offs from the Helmholtz Association have been founded. Two thirds of them were funded by the Helmholtz Enterprise Program.

Funding program

Helmholtz Enterprise (HE) (Text kürzen)

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, 70 projects were set up successfully and 80 per cent of them are still actively involved in business today.

The HE program is organized in a way that allows founders to have the maximum freedom to try out their business ideas in a protected environment. During the twelve-month period, the team of founders is expected 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, carry out initial market tests, and develop an in-depth understanding of market conditions.

In the first six months, the HE teams attend an accelerator program, which is chosen in advance by the team of founders itself or selected by program management. In the process, we collaborate with several accelerator partners.

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 of up to 30,000 euros 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).

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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