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Press release

10 Scholarships awarded in the EXIST-Women Funding Programme

Pinkes Bild mit erhobener Faust, Blumen und Schriftzug EXIST-Women

In summer 2023, EXIST-Women, a new funding line of the BMWK – Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, came into force. It supports women at universities and research institutions who are interested in setting up a business in the initial phase of founding a company, particularly in developing their entrepreneurial personality and further developing their start-up idea. 10 female scholarship holders began their individual 12-month qualification programme for setting up a business at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in December.

For the first time, EXIST-Women gives women interested in starting their own business the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the topics of start-ups and self-employment at an early stage. Female graduates, scientists, students and women with a professional qualification and a connection to a University of Applied Sciences can be supported for a period of 12 months. The EXIST-Women funding line includes events, counselling and support services as well as various financial grants for prospective female founders.

EXIST-Women scholarship holders 2023:

  • Lea Fleck, alumna (Department of Design)
  • Katja Ilona Grahl, alumna (Department of Design)
  • Julia Klinski, Alumna (Department of CITY I BUILDING I CULTURE)
  • Sophie Persigehl, student (Department of CITY I BUILDING I CULTURE)
  • Luisa Reissmann, Alumna (Department of Design)
  • Julia Scholz, student (Department of Design)
  • Sophie Warmbrunn, alumna (Department of Social and Educational Sciences)
  • Wenke Wulf, student (Department of Social and Educational Sciences)
  • Betty Zepernick, student (Department of Design)
  • Carolin Zeyher, alumna (Department of Design)

All participants in this year's funding period will receive benefits in kind totalling EUR 2,000 and will have access to mentoring and various networking events for 12 months. Nine women will receive further financial support for a period of three months. In addition, four of them will receive a child supplement during this time.

Anke Lüers-Salzmann, project coordinator at the Centre for Start-ups, Enterprise and Management Qualifications at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam: "Supporting women in the start-up sector is not just a question of equality, but a strategic investment in the diversity and innovative progress of our society. With the nationwide launch of EXIST-Women in summer 2023 and the successful start for the first participants at FHP, a significant step towards equal opportunities and empowerment is being taken. EXIST-Women creates a necessary platform on which women interested in founding a company can immerse themselves in the world of business start-ups at an early stage. The funding also marks a milestone on the path to an inclusive and future-oriented corporate culture."

The most important facts about EXIST-Women:

  • Duration of funding: 12 months
  • Who is EXIST-Women aimed at? Female graduates (even if they graduated more than 5 years ago), female academics, female students (Bachelor's degree or ≥ half of the coursework completed) and women with vocational training and a connection to the university
  • Start-up idea: open to all topics and technologies, existence not a prerequisite
  • Possible alongside studies and work

What EXIST-Women offers:

  • Participation in a 12-month qualification programme for business start-ups
  • Individual coaching
  • entrepreneurial support from a mentor
  • nationwide network of female founders
  • One-off funding of 2,000 euros (e.g. for coaching, travel expenses, etc.)
  • optional 3-month grant (to bridge a lack of income or low income) of 1,000 – 3,000 euros/month (depending on qualifications) + child allowance

Further information about starting a business at the FH Potsdam can be found at: