About this good practice
Start-ups develop in preseed and seed stages. Innovations are often made in the deep tech sector and can be linked to sustainability. For that reason, there is a funding system that covers the preseed and seed stage for (sustainable) deep-tech solutions at aws (Austria Wirtschaftsservice).
The 'Preseed Deep Tech' funding program has been implemented in 2006 (as an earlier stage version of the Seedfinancing Deep Tech program, which was established in 1989). Deep tech businesses in preseed stage face the problem that the development of innovative solutions are very expensive. Therefore, aws funds innovative deep tech solutions in preseed stage.
The max. funding amount is 200.000 € per project (if a woman is part of the founding team) and max. 170.000 € per project (if a woman is not part of the founding team). R&D costs, proof of concept, product development costs, personnel costs, material costs etc. get funded. The aws IP department provides IP coaching to support innovation protection.
Beneficiaries are innovators in preseed stage from the following branches: deep tech industries like digitalization, ICT, physical science, Green Tech, quantum technology, life science (pharma/Biotech, MedTech incl. Digital Health).
Deep tech solutions that support the EU Green Deal (e.g. businesses/services that contribute to European climate neutrality by 2050) are addressed as well.
The supplementary funding programs are 'aws Seed Deep Tech' and 'aws Green IP' (SMEs).
The funding of the program is provided by the Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology and Ministry of Labour and Economy. From 2015 to 2022 the average annual budget was 2.500.000 €.
For the program management 2-3 employees (full-time) are needed.
Evidence of success
An average of 15 new projects annually were funded (average funding of 170.000 € per project). Grantees are attracted by the high funding amount. The application has to be made in the pre-formation phase of the company. Almost all companies are consequently formally founded and incorporated in the companies register.
Potential for learning or transfer
The funding system covers the stages preseed, seed and SME. Preseed funding is the complementary funding program to seedfunding. Seedfunding can result in SME funding.
Preseed funding covers the cost-intensive preseed development stages of a company and can contribute to (EU) sustainability goals.
A maximum of 200.000 € per project is granted if a woman is part of the founding team. This works as a lever to support equal rights for women in the working sector.