FAU and Zollhof receive award for startup hub concept

Group photo
Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Benjamin Bauer and Judit Klein from ZOLLHOF, Christoph Heynen from FAU and Anna Christmann, Federal Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Startups. (Image: Jan Welchering)

As one of 15 universities in Germany, FAU has received an award for its concept for a startup hub in the Startup Factories competition held by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). This means the University has moved onto the next stage of the competition, which is the concept phase. For the competition, FAU is working closely with its startup hub and tech incubator ZOLLHOF, which is playing a decisive role in the concept.

A startup hub for the whole of northern Bavaria

The plan is to scale up the success of ZOLLHOF as a startup factory called “ZOHO Factory” for the entire region of northern Bavaria. FAU and ZOLLHOF are therefore collaborating with a series of universities and research institutions located between Bayreuth, Würzburg, Coburg and Nuremberg.

FAU hopes to transform ZOLLHOF into one of the best startup hubs in the whole of Germany. It would be a huge investment in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of northern Bavaria.

The concept is designed to support entrepreneurs in all phases of starting a business and includes scholarships, innovation scouting, a tech space for digital and physical prototyping, training and its own venture capital fund.

Startup centers receive funding of up to 10 million euros

The Startup Factories flagship competition is a priority measure as part of the Federal Government’s startup strategy and supplements the Exist funding program with which the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action provides support to research-based startups. The aim of the competition is to set up startup centers that are close to universities and are operated privately as businesses and that will receive funding of up to 10 million euros for a period of five years.

This funding is for 50% of the total, which means that the prospective startup centers must find at least the same amount of funding from the private sector.

The detailed concept will be drawn up during the next eight months. The finalists will be chosen in the second quarter of 2025 and five to ten Startup Factories will be selected at the end of the competition.

Further information

Starting Business IdeasThe Digital Tech Academy is the interdisciplinary hub for digitalization and entrepreneurship at FAU