RWTH IS TOP START-UP UNIVERSITY 2019
In 2019, RWTH Aachen University is the top location in North Rhine-Westphalia for funding of start-up projects within the framework of the EXIST program. As can be extracted from the data in the federal funding catalogue, RWTH Aachen University (including the University Hospital RWTH Aachen) also ranks second in the nationwide comparison of universities with a total of 12 approved EXIST grants in 2019. With this, RWTH Aachen University underlines the importance of North Rhine-Westphalia as an attractive and fast-growing location for start-ups alongside other states such as Bavaria and Berlin. With two funded research transfer projects and 10 approved start-up scholarships, RWTH Aachen University is the only higher education institution in North Rhine-Westphalia that has made it into the top 10 most funded universities. So, if you' re thinking of founding a start-up in North Rhine-Westphalia, Aachen is the place to be.
THE EXIST FUNDING PROGRAM
EXIST - Existenzgründungen aus der Wissenschaft (business start-ups from science) is a program of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), which consists of three program areas: EXIST-Gründerstipendium (start-up grant), EXIST-Forschungstransfer (research transfer) and EXIST-Gründungskultur (start-up culture). While the start-up grant supports founders from universities and non-academic research institutions in the actual implementation of their ideas, the research transfer provides funding for particularly research-intensive start-up projects. The third pillar of the EXIST program, the establishment of start-up cultures at universities, serves to create optimal conditions for founders at the respective university.
EXIST SUCCESS STORIES AT RWTH AACHEN UNIVERSITY
There are numerous examples of successful EXIST funding at RWTH Aachen University. One of these success stories is the start-up gridX, which emerged from RWTH and after one year of support by the EXIST start-up grant was founded in 2017. gridX provides flexible, scalable and reliable solutions in the field of Internet of Things (IoT) for various application areas. Likewise, the EXIST research transfer has come to fruition: The founding team of PerAGraft GmbH, which in 2018 set out with the goal to develop individual implants using a continuous digital process chain, realized the implementation of their research idea into an innovative start-up just one year after the start of funding through the research transfer.
The current report "Das ist EXIST 2019" proves that these two projects are outstanding examples of the EXIST successes at the RWTH. In the report, the BMWi takes stock of 21 years of EXIST and honours GridX and PerAGraft as start-ups that have successfully emerged from the EXIST programs and have a promising future ahead of them with their highly innovative products.
ONE OF ONLY TWELVE GERMAN UNIVERSITIES WITH AN EXIST-INTERNATIONALISATION CONCEPT
In addition to the numerous grants in the programs start-up grant and research transfer, RWTH Aachen University successfully expanded its range of services for founders this year in the area of start-up culture. At the beginning of 2020, after more than 13 years as an EXIST start-up university, RWTH entered the "EXIST-Potentials" program, a funding measure for the advancement of start-up networks at universities. Depending on the level of development of their start-up culture and experience, the universities could choose between three funding priorities when applying for grants: "Potentiale heben" (lifting potentials), "Regional vernetzen" (networking regionally) and "International überzeugen" (convincing internationally). Out of a total of 220 applications, 142 universities received grants from the BMWi.
START-UP LOCATION NRW – EXZELLENZ START-UP CENTER.NRW
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy (MWIDE) of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia launched the initiative Exzellenz Start-up Center.NRW (ESC.NRW for short) in 2019. With 23 million euros, RWTH Aachen University is the most funded university in NRW within the ESC.NRW. The funding will be used to establish a vibrant, state-of-the-art tech incubator at RWTH Aachen University that is well established throughout Europe, to create a physical hotspot for founders, to professionalise start-up consulting and support, and to facilitate networking with external supporters from industry. The start-up support measures for university members and students are managed by RWTH Innovation. The activities of the ESC.NRW project are realised through the hybrid construct of the subsidiary for technology transfer and the Entrepreneurship Center of the Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (WIN) at RWTH Aachen University.
The current figures prove: RWTH Aachen University is not only the top address for start-up projects in NRW, but also one of the leading start-up universities in Germany, offering a wide range of support to those interested in founding a start-up - from research transfer to foundation through to internationalisation.
More information about the EXIST grant program and the funding opportunities for founders and researchers at the RWTH can be found here.