Supporting start-ups at Lower Austrian universities and research organizations by establishing the Creative Pre-Incubator Program.
Since 2005 the entrepreneurship agency Accent Gründerservice GmbH is supporting start-ups at Lower Austrian universities and research organisations. In 2014 the University of Applied Sciences in St. Pölten and Accent decided to complete the entrepreneurship support by establishing the Creative Pre-Incubator Program (CPI) Lower Austria in order to close an identified gap in approaching potential entrepreneurs and support them in the pre-startup phase.
At the same time CPI aims at strengthening the entrepreneurship mentality. The target group are students, recently graduates within the last 12 months and employees at the R&D departments of Universities of Applied Sciences in Lower Austria.
Interested teams with 3 to 5 members can apply with their business idea at the CPI. The preselected project groups have the opportunity to pitch in front of an external jury. Every year 3 to 4 teams are awarded and supported over 2 semesters (September to July) to develop and realise their business idea. The support is a combination of professional workshops and individual coaching with weekly meetings with the CPI coaches from Accent. 7 workshops are held by external experts from private business with themes like financing, IP strategy, market research, pitch trainings, law or sales. The teams have access to the infrastructure and laboratories like computer rooms with equipment of the university as well as to Lower Austria’s entrepreneurship.

Resources needed

To set up the program in Lower Austria 3 FTE are needed.
Program value approx. 900K for 4 years. Same amount ist needed as input from the Universities in charge.

Evidence of success

more than 52 applications (130 persons)
21 projects participated (64 persons)
16 ideas from St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences
4 ideas from IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems
5 teams successfully entered the accent incubation
8 projects founded their own company
2 ideas failed, 5 are running their own company and 1 exit

Potential for learning or transfer

For regions with an underdeveloped entrepreneurial culture at universities and missing support services in the pre-startup phase, the CPI program is an effective first step on the way to establish an entrepreneurial culture at universities as well as to identify and develop students’ potentials to start their own business. At the same time the programs facilitates the access to universities’ infrastructure for these potential entrepreneurs-
For the transfer of the Lower Austrian CPI program and the adaptation to own regional particularities no specific structural requirements and only a comparable small budget are required in the importing region.
With the broad target group of students, recently graduates and employees the CPI program is addressing high potentials for business startups.

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Main institution
accent Gründerservice
Niederösterreich, Austria (Österreich)
Start Date
October 2017
End Date


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Angelina Todorova

Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria