The EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation

The EU Commission’s call for proposals for the period 2014 to 2020 combines Horizont 2020’s previous research framework programs with the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and the programs of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). At almost €80 billion, the program has a significantly higher budget than the 7th Framework Program (approx. €50.5 billion). The priorities are:

  • Scientific excellence
  • Leading role of industry
  • Social challenges

Digital innovations in the field of mobility

With the mFUND, the BMVI promotes the early development of digital innovations in the field of mobility. Founders and start-ups are also supported – from the concept to development and marketability.

  • Funding line 1: “Preparation of project proposals / preliminary studies” – up to 100,000 € funding over 12 months.
  • Funding line 2: “Applied research and experimental development” – up to 3 million € funding over 3 years.
  • The funding rate for large companies is 50 percent, for small and medium-sized companies and co-operations it can be up to 80 percent.
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Research & development of new IT security solutions based on AI.

The BMBF supports application-oriented research and development of IT security technologies and processes based on artificial intelligence.

The aim is to link research in the field of AI and IT security more closely in order to strengthen Germany as a location for innovative IT security solutions. In addition, the funding is intended to intensify cooperation between companies and research institutions in the university and non-university sectors and in particular to support the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in scientific results.

Sub-theme areas:

  • CI-supported IT security solutions with limited resources
  • KI-supported IT security solutions for network security
  • Further development of KI-supported IT security solutions

The funding procedure consists of two stages.

Investors & Funding – Capital for startups.

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Research & Development

Promotion of high-tech research projects

In addition to the funding competitions described above, we also have experience in the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) and within the KMU Innovativ funding initiative.

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advisory support

Start-up consulting and coaching

Our consulting services can also be partially financed through various funding instruments.

Beratungsprogramm Wirtschaft (Business Advisory Programme)

  • Funding is provided for advice on the development, review and implementation of start-up projects prior to their realization.
  • As a rule, the scope of funding is 50% of a day’s work, but a maximum of 400 € per day’s work and a total of 4 days’ work.

Promotion of entrepreneurial know-how

  • The support is aimed at young companies, i.e. companies that have been on the market for no more than two years, existing companies from the third year after their establishment and companies in economic difficulties.
  • Support is provided for general advice on all economic, financial, personnel and organizational issues relating to company management, special advice, for example on recruiting skilled workers or integrating people with a migration background, and advice on corporate security.
  • Funding is possible up to an assessment basis of 4,000 € with a funding rate of between 50 and 80% (depending on the company location).

start-up support

interest subsidies

There are several ways in which you can get financial support during your start-up phase. We will show you a selection of possibilities.

KfW StartGeld

  • KfW StartGeld acts as (start-up) capital for start-ups, freelancers and small companies that have been active in the market for less than five years.
  • Subsidies are also available for sideline business if the activity is to become the main occupation in the medium term.
  • Financing of up to 100,000 € is possible.


  • Mit dem Gründungskredit der NRW Bank werden Existenzgründer, Freiberufler und in- und ausländische Unternehmen der gewerblichen Wirtschaft (max. 500 Mio. € Jahresumsatz) bis 5 Jahre nach Geschäftsaufnahme gefördert.
  • Voraussetzung ist das Potenzial, einen nachhaltigen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg erzielen zu können und dass die Gesamtfinanzierung gesichert ist. Der Gründungsort muss in Nordrhein-Westfalen liegen.
  • Eine Finanzierung ist bis zu 10 Mio. € möglich.


  • Mit dem NRW/EU.Mikrodarlehen werden Existenzgründungen gefördert, sofern sie einen nachhaltigen Erfolg erwarten lassen, und darüber hinaus Vorhaben zur Erweiterung / Wachstum innerhalb von 5 Jahren nach Aufnahme der Geschäftstätigkeit.
  • Eine Finanzierung ist bis zu 25.000 € möglich
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Prof. Dr. Kai Thierhoff - Investors & Funding - Capital for Startups

Research & Development

Promotion of innovative projects

Investors & Funding – Capital for Startups. One focus of our consulting services is primarily concerned with the Operational Program NRW 2014 – 2020 for the European Regional Development Fund “Investments in Growth and Employment” (OP EFRE NRW), for which funding competitions have been launched in eight lead markets. The funding takes the form of a non-repayable grant of 25 to 80% of the project volume. In principle, smaller companies and joint projects can expect higher funding rates.
The exact submission dates for the next calls will be published here as soon as they are known.


  • The leading market for media and creative industries in NRW is looking for sustainable business models in the areas of Internet, low-tech and / or social innovation.
  • Funding is available for “digital technologies”, “media and creative industries as innovation drivers in other branches of industry”, “networking and innovative forms of participation” and new concepts in the sense of “creative spaces and networks”.

Energy & Environment.NRW

  • The lead market energy and environmental economy in NRW is looking for innovative projects in the fields of “sustainable energy conversion, energy transport and energy storage”, “raw material, material and energy efficiency” and “environmental technologies”.
  • The aim is to contribute to the promotion of sustainable and future-oriented development in the federal state.

New Materials.NRW

  • For the materials industry, the funding priorities “Materials for lightweight construction”, “Materials to increase energy and resource efficiency”, “Materials to support energy system transformation” and “New materials with high lead market-relevant potential” have been announced.
  • In addition to innovative materials and processes, completely new technology routes will be pursued, which should lead to more efficient and sustainable solutions.


  • The lead market health is looking for technological and above all social innovations and solutions that have the potential to further expand the market advantages for a high-performance health economy in NRW.
  • Another focus is the overcoming of sectoral borders, i.e. the improved cross-border coordination of processes and procedures in medical care in order to prevent underuse, overuse and misuse.


  • The leading market for mechanical and plant engineering / production technology in NRW addresses the main topics of industry 4.0 and efficiency in production.
  • In the area of Industry 4.0, networked production facilities for future “Smart Factories” are to be promoted by using cyber-physical production systems.
  • The area of efficiency in production should focus on efficient manufacturing processes and on products with improved efficiency.
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Mobility & Logistics.NRW

  • The lead market Mobility and Logistics aims at the sustainable and efficient mobility of people and goods.
  • The funding priority Innovative / Integrated Mobility Concepts / Logistics Services is intended to lay the (technical) foundations for new business models.
  • In the area of technological innovations, the focus is on the digitalization of mobility and logistics.


  • The lead market for life sciences is primarily looking for solutions to the major social challenge of “health and well-being in demographic change”.
  • Contributions can also be submitted to the funding priorities “(bio-)medical research”, ” research-intensive medical technologies”, “food analysis and safety”, “integration of medical technologies in system and healthcare solutions” and “preservation and improvement of quality of life and social participation”.


  • The lead market Information and Communication Economy addresses innovative projects of the digital transformation under the keyword Industry 4.0.
  • Proposals for solutions can be presented in particular on topics such as “Cyber Physical Systems”, “Sustainable Mobility”, “IT Security” and “Digital Transformation as Enabler to Industry 4.0”.
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