Parliamentary State Secretary Brigitte Zypries from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy today launched the new EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel programme in Tel Aviv. The programme, which sees Israel become the first partnering country to participate in Germany's EXIST programme, is directed at young Israelis at universities and research institutes who are starting up a new business. These entrepreneurs can apply to take part in the EXIST programme and to join the EXIST start-up networks for Berlin and nearby Potsdam.
State Secretary Zypries said: "We want to intensify the level of exchange taking place between Germany and Israel in the area of start-ups. I am therefore delighted that we can join with our Israeli partners - the BETATEC initiative operated by the German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the StarTau initiative run by Tel Aviv University - to extend and internationalise our EXIST programme, which has already become a real success. The new EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel programme will provide students from foreign universities with access to funding from the EXIST programme for the very first time. The initiative will serve to intensify the level of our exchange in business and science and will also deepen our friendship. We hope that the programme will become a further showcase of our culture of welcome, and will help make Germany even more attractive for skilled professionals from abroad."
The EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel programme is directed at young entrepreneurs from universities and research institutes in Israel who are starting up their own business. Both individual entrepreneurs and groups will be able to join the existing start-up networks in science that are located in and around Berlin, and will receive the best possible support as they look for suitable German partners and complete their application for the programme. The aim of the programme is to strengthen German-Israeli cooperation in the areas of start-ups, innovation, and science. The launch of the EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel programme was attended by seven university presidents and vice-presidents from Germany and Israel, the presidents of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and of the German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, as well as the ambassadors of both countries. The programme will serve as a pilot project which, if successful, will be extended to other regions in Germany that are already participating in EXIST, as well as to other partnering countries. The EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel programme is being operated by the universities in Berlin and Potsdam under the lead responsibility of the Technische Universität Berlin, and is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Its official launch took place just ahead of the German-Israeli Innovation Day, which is being hosted today.
Since 2007, the EXIST programme has been supporting students, graduates, and scientists from universities and research institutes across Germany as they work to get highly innovative start-up projects off the ground. The EXIST grant for start-ups and support for research transfer are in principle open to all aspiring entrepreneurs with a university degree. In improving the EXIST programme's terms of funding at the end of 2014, Germany has created first-rate conditions for business start-ups in science during the seed stage. The launch of the EXIST Start-up Germany-Israel is the first time that Germany's EXIST programme has been opened up to another country. The aim is to develop cooperation between Israeli start-ups in the area of science and research and, at the same time, to make Berlin even more attractive to Israeli entrepreneurs as a launching pad for entering the European market.