News Federal government's "Startup Factories"competition: Berlin-Brandenburg project "UNITE" in the final

Consortium with ASH Berlin is one of the selected finalists, announces Dr. Robert Habeck

On June 6, 2024, Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Dr. Robert Habeck announced in Berlin as part of the anniversary congress "25 Years of Successful EXIST Programs" that the "UNITE" project, along with fourteen other projects nationwide, was one of the finalists in the "Startup Factories Lighthouse Competition".

The project brings together over 30 universities, colleges and research institutions as well as players from business, associations and venture capital companies from the Berlin-Brandenburg region, including the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. As one of a total of 26 applications submitted, it was able to qualify for the concept phase that is now beginning. A decision on which concepts will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK) will be made in February 2025. A condition for funding is that at least 50 percent of the required financing amount is provided by private donors.

The Freie Universität Berlin was the lead applicant for "UNITE". In addition to ASH Berlin, the "UNITE" consortium of science and research also includes: Technische Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, ESCP Business School Berlin, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berliner Hochschule für Technik, CODE University of Applied Sciences, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Berlin , Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Max Delbrück Center für Molekulare Medizin, Leibniz Forschungsverbund Berlin e. V. - as well as other partners from industry and society.

A boost for science start-ups

Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, on the EXIST competition: "The selection of 15 projects for the concept phase of the Startup Factories is a milestone in Germany's development into a leading start-up nation. Together with industry and private investors, we want to give the support landscape for start-ups from science a boost."

With the EXIST lighthouse competition Startup Factories, the BMWK promotes the establishment of start-up centers that are close to universities and at the same time organized under private law and managed by entrepreneurs. In the first phase of the competition, a total of 26 alliances of entrepreneurial universities, research institutions and private players took part. A jury of experts selected the most promising projects for the concept phase at the end of May. The 15 projects selected for the lighthouse competition represent around 100 universities and scientific institutions as well as many private partners, in particular regional companies. With the detailed concepts to be developed over the next eight months, the future start-up factories can apply for a multi-year project phase. The final selection will then be made in the first quarter of 2025.

The EXIST program is the most successful and most important federal funding instrument for start-ups from science. The beginnings of the program date back to 1998.

Further details on the "25 years of EXIST" congress and the award-winning projects can be found at and at Startup Factories.