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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria?

Vision Health Pioneers Incubator is funded by the European Social Fund and the State of Berlin. Given that our program is 100% publicly funded, the following eligibility criteria must be satisfied. Please read them carefully below:

 

  1. Residency situation:
  • You must be a resident of Berlin, at the start of the program.
  • For Non-Europeans, you need to obtain the appropriate visa allowing you to stay in Germany for, at least, the time of the program. 

Note: A visa with a work permit (‘Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt’) OR a job-seeker visa valid for the whole program time is required. The student visa is NOT accepted. The process of obtention might take longer than 6 weeks! You might therefore want to consider applying early for our cohorts #6 and #7.

 

  1. Revenue:
  • You have not or are not receiving any other public or private subsidies/grants, such as EXIST or Berliner Startup Stipendium.  
  • As the program is a full-time commitment, you must not carry any other positions (e.g. part-time or full-time employment) and must not receive any other significant revenue than the scholarship grant for the time of the program. 

 

  1. Degree, team and occupation:
  • You have a university degree.
  • At least one of the team members that wants to join the incubator should have knowledge in the field of healthcare (as a physician, nurse, therapist, etc.) and/or the team has the support of relevant healthcare professionals/experts that take an active role in the strategy.
  • You need to be a first-time entrepreneur; we do not accept entrepreneur rockstars.
  • You need to apply with a team of two to four people that are eligible for the program. Note: You can have ‘extra’ team members that do not join the incubator as well.  
  • You have the time to commit to the program for at least 40 hours a week. No large side-projects accepted.

 

  1. If you have ALREADY incorporated your idea into a company:
  • Your company must not have received significant equity investment that influences your full control over the company. Note: Prize-money from private and public competitions – regardless of the amount – is accepted.
  • The company does not generate significant revenues.
  • If your company has already been incorporated in Berlin, the date of the business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung) should not be older than 3 months on the day of receipt of your completed application form. This must be proven by the trade license (Eintrag in das Handelsregister). 
  • If you have incorporated the company outside of Berlin, you must locate your head office in Berlin.

 

  1. If you have NOT YET incorporated your idea into a company:
  • You must have already discussed the envisioned shareholding structure between the founders.
  • You must be ready to found a company in Berlin during the time of the program.

Besides the eligibility criteria, what are the other criteria of selection?

  1. We exclusively support teams with an early-stage idea in the healthcare or medical sector and that can be implemented on the German market. 
  2. We look for teams that showcase a diverse background and expertise and are able to deal with technical, financial, medical, business and other questions within the team.
  3. We select teams that can show at least the beginnings of a prototype (such as a sketch or drawing) to explain their product idea. 
  4. We do not consider startups that have already launched on the German market and generated revenues.

What kind of ideas do we support?

We are looking for technical, digital and new solutions in the healthcare sector that can be implemented into the German healthcare system. We do not have a specific area we focus on within the life science and healthcare space – all early stage ideas and prototypes are welcome!

How can you apply?

Fill in your application form. 

After the completion of the application form, we will check your information and come back to you if we need more details. So, the earlier you complete it, the earlier you get feedback on your eligibility or not.

How does the selection process work?

The selection process has several steps: Your application form submission, an eligibility check, the evaluation by a jury, and a final interview with the Incubator team. Check out our application page for more information!

How will the collaboration between Vision Health Pioneers Incubator and you work legally?

Vision Health Pioneers is operated by Startup Colors UG. Before starting the program, each team member joining the program will need to sign a scholarship (like a “Stipendiumsvertrag”) with Startup Colors UG. This contract confirms all data provided in your application in regards to your eligibility, lists your legal status, and also provides a guarantee for the grant funding and its payment.

What are the benefits of the program?

Get access to:

  • Equity-free funding: €2,200/month/person, €40,000 to €80,000 per team (2 to 4 members per team).
  • Coworking space: The program will be hosted at The Drivery, a modern space located in central Berlin.
  • Training & Coaching: Acquire hands-on knowledge and skills to support your startup journey in the healthcare field thanks to our training and tailor-made coaching.
  • Network: Connect with our network of 150+ experts from various fields.

What are the expected results of the program?

Besides a flashy certificate, we will give you everything you need to start your company and build a strong product. So ideally at the end of the 9-month program, you will be investment-ready or be able to start Proof-of-Concept (PoC) projects with partners or other healthcare organisations. 

What financial support is provided? Do we take equity?

We provide up to €80,000 scholarship funding per team, and most importantly, we do not take any equity in exchange. (€2,200/month/person, €40,000 to €80,000 per team – 2 to 4 members per team).

Please note: Our program is a full-time-program. You may be able to keep punctual projects as long as they do not affect your participation and results in the program. You need to inform us about any side hustles when applying.

Can you combine this program with other sources of funding?

Unfortunately, we can not accept applications for our program if team members have or are receiving any other public or private subsidies/grants (such as EXIST or Berliner Startup Stipendium).

Also, if you have already incorproated your idea, your company must not have received significant equity investment that influences your full control over the company.

Good news: Prize money from private and public competitions, regardless of the amount, is accepted.

What happens if you receive funding during the program?

We will celebrate and be happy for you!

Your company must not have received significant equity investment that influences your full control over the company.

Which partners support the program?

More than 20 healthcare organisations and business networks support us pro bono, including:

  • Clinics and medical institutions such as Sana Kliniken, Charité, UK Essen
  • Pharma and healthcare companies such as Sandoz, Janssen
  • Startup and innovation hubs such as Flying Health, ROXHealth and Hacking Health
  • Business partners such as Taylor Wessing, Berlin Partner, Peppermint Ventures.
  • Cloud and IT services such as AWS 
  • And more!

Can you still apply if you are not a Berlin resident?

Yes, you can apply. However, you will need to register as a resident of Berlin as soon as we accept you into the program. This also includes your startup: In case you have already incorporated your idea outside of Berlin, the entity will also need to be relocated to Berlin. 

If you are non-European, you need to obtain the appropriate visa allowing you to stay in Germany for, at least, the time of the program. 

Note: Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Korea and Japan may enter Germany as a tourist, for 90 days, without a visa, and file their application in Germany. For other nationalities, please contact the German embassy in your country as soon as you consider to apply for this program (process of obtention might take longer than 6 weeks!), and apply for a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment.

Can you apply if you are currently working full-time?

Yes, you can apply, but you must focus on the program full-time once it starts. In order to make your idea ready for the market, you and your team will go through an extensive and elaborate program which requires a full-time commitment. We provide every team member with €2,200 per month to cover your living costs. We will also provide a co-working space for you to work from for free.

You are a solo entrepreneur? Can you apply?

To start the program we only accept teams with a minimum of two people. If you are solo, we can help you find a partner to get you on board. We cannot promise anything but we will try to assist – maybe you get lucky!

You have founded your startup already - either in Germany or abroad. Can you still apply or are you too mature for our incubator?

We only support early-stage ideas for the German market. Your company can be incorporated in Berlin but the date of your business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung) should not be older than 3 months at the date of receipt of your completed application form.

If you are an international startup that wants to launch a product new in Germany, we will consider you as an early-stage idea as well. Feel free to get in touch if you want to learn more about this topic!

What kind of coworking space can you expect?

We offer free coworking space for all participating team members. Our Coworking space is The Drivery – an innovative coworking space in the centre of Berlin and a hub for innovation. It comes with space for our entrepreneurs and Incubator team.

Most of the workshops, coaching & mentoring sessions and community events will take place at the space. We expect all team members working at the space and participating in the sessions and events.

What time commitment do you need?

We want to give you both the opportunity of being part of a supportive community AND individual time for your startup development. Vision Health Pioneers Incubator is a full-time program mixing group training on a weekly basis (2 days a week max.), on-demand mentoring and coaching sessions following your own needs, and individual time for teamwork at the coworking space. The icing on the cake: Community events like meetups with inspiring stories from entrepreneurs, breakfasts, visits and more, are also part of the package!

I am not a European citizen - can I still join the program?

Yes – we are open to international teams. If you are a non-European citizen, you will – like all the others – need to become a resident of Berlin. This implies that you most probably will need a visa. Visa requirements may vary according to your country of residence, so make sure you inform yourself and start your visa application process early.

For more information on visa procurement, contact the German embassy in your country.

When does the application period for cohort 7 start?

Cohort 7 begins in July 2024, so the next application process for the program opens in March 2024.