The Start-up Centers contributes to start-ups development and their acceleration via a sector and regional focussed approach.
Lower Saxony wants to develop its territory by enhancing the success rates of technology orientated start-ups and their successful introduction and sustainable establishment at the market. This enhancement is made through the funding for setting up Start-up Centers across Lower Saxony.
The grant is addressed to establish new Start-up Centers and expansion of existing Start-up Centers. A maximum of 50% of the cost (max. 100.000 Euro p.a.) for the Start-up Center can be funded for max. two years.
Funding is available for any natural or legal person who will act as responsible body of the Start-up Center.
The grants can be used to:
- Finance the facilities of the Start-up Centers
- Personnel cost for staff members of the Start-up Center to intensively accompany and support start-up in seed and pre-seed phase as well as set-up of an individual coaching and mentoring process.
The selected Start-up Centers should focus on a specific sector or sector groups in line with the RIS 3 strategy and the regional strengths. Regional and sector-related actors have to be imbedded in the Start-up Centers approach and the regional start-up ecosystem.
The institution responsible for the grant is Investitions- und Foerderbank Niedersachsen - NBank.

Resources needed

- Max. 100.000 EUR per year, per Start-up Center, which covers max. 50% of the eligible expenses.
- The grant can be provided for max two years.
Eligible expenses:
- Personnel cost (Management and own consultants of the Start-up Center)
- Cost for external consultants
- Office / room rental

Evidence of success

- Eight Start-up Centers had been selected for funding
- Max. time of acceleration per start-up: 6 months
- Min. three start-ups have to be accelerated per batch
- Min. twelve start-ups have to be accelerated during the 2 years per Start-up Center
Furthermore Start-up Centers must:
- be integrated in the local networks and support structure
- have a sectoral focus which is not yet covered by another funded Start-up Center
- Show a concept for the post funding period

Difficulties encountered

The number of applications for this grant was much higher than expected in the planning period. Finally the amount of money dedicated to this funding instrument had been increased.

Potential for learning or transfer

The programme may deliver figures based on experiences of an initial public funding for setting-up sectoral focussed accelerators and their transfer to a self-(re)financing structure.
With this analysis regions may receive information on establishing support structures by a small amount money in combination with an and limited time frame / budget allocation.
The sectoral approach of the start-up centers may be interesting for other European regions to learn about living start-up scenery in specific sectors.

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Main institution
State Development Bank of Lower Saxony
Hannover, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
September 2017
End Date
December 2019


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