Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria?

As Vision Health Pioneers Incubator is 100% publicly funded by the European Social Fund and the Senate of Berlin, applications must fulfil the following eligibility criteria. So, before spending time on your application for the program, please read them carefully and assess your eligibility. Note that those criteria are legally binding in your scholarship contract if you get selected – so take it seriously 😉 

List of eligibility criteria that need to be satisfied by every team member that wants to join the incubator:

  1. Residency situation:
  • You need to be a resident of Berlin for, at least, the time 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: 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. 

  1. Revenue:
  • You have not or are not receiving any other public or private subsidies/grants, such as EXIST or Berliner Startup Stipendium.  
  • Note: Prize-money from private and public competitions – regardless of the amount – is accepted.
  • As the program is a full-time commitment, you must not carry any other positions (e.g. part 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 or gained relevant working experience in fields such as Design Thinking, and/or have other relevant certificates. 
  • Note: If one of the team members has no degree, please reach out to us to clarify if they can get funded.
  • At least one of the team members that wants to join the incubator has 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 side large projects accepted.
  1. If you have ALREADY incorporated your idea into a company:
  • The company must NOT have already received equity investments that prejudice the full control of the founders over the company. Also, note that those investments must only cover personnel and material costs; meaning the founders must not pay themselves a salary (income-expense overview).
  • The company does not generate 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 on f6s.com. This must be proven by the trade license (Eintrag in das Handelsregister). 
  • If you have incorporated the company outside of Berlin, be ready to open a branch 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, life sciences 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 on F6S.com. The form is divided into two parts:

  1. We check first if you are eligible (all the details in the first question of the FAQ). To do so, download the template via the form on F6S and answer the questions. Only the team members that want to join the incubator need to give their info. Your answers are for internal use only. Tip: don’t cheat or lie. The eligibility criteria will be legally binding in your contract if you got selected.  
  2. Complete the next questions about your idea and team – including a pitch deck and short video.

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 written application on F6S, an ideation session, 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 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 working contract (like a “Werkvertrag”) 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?

  • Stipend: €2,000 per month for the full 9 month-program – a total of up to €72,000 € for a team of 4 people. Please note: We do not take any equity in your idea or company.
  • Co-working space: You will share a co-working space in the heart of Berlin with the other participants of the program and our experts. 
  • Training, Team coaching, and Mentoring: We provide extensive training on all topics related to founding a company and getting your idea ready for market launch in healthcare. Also, benefit from tailored team coaching and mentoring. 
  • Access to partners: During the 9-month program, you will gain access to our partners, their prototyping facilities, and their technology. Last but not least, we will also get you in touch with potential investors and business partners.

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 our partners or other healthcare organisations. If we see that your idea can’t be validated, we will help you to pivot for greater results. Your Program Lead Coach will support and guide you throughout all the program phases to optimize your progress and results.

What financial support is provided? Do we take equity?

We provide up to €72,000 funding per team, and most importantly, we do not take any equity in exchange. We offer every team member €2,000 per month, which is a total of €72,000 per 4-person 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 your side hustles when applying.

Can you combine this program with other sources of funding?

Unfortunately, we can not accept applications for our program if you have already received any other public or private subsidies/grants, such as EXIST or Berliner Startup Stipendium, or any significant equity investments that prejudice your full control on the company. Also, please note that the program accepts equity investments that only cover personnel and material costs; meaning the founders must not pay themselves a salary (income-expense overview). 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!

But note that equity investments should not prejudice your full control of the company to get accepted.

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 Sanofi, Sandoz, Janssen
  • Research experts and technology providers such as Fraunhofer MEVIS, Fraunhofer Venture, DFKI,
  • Startup and innovation hubs such as Flying Health, DesignIT, Hacking Health, Signals Open Studio, Pfizer Healthcare Hub
  • Business partners such as Taylor Wessing, Berlin Partner, Peppermint Ventures.
  • Cloud and IT services such as AWS or Deutsche Telekom
  • For our incubator teams, they will provide access to users, mentoring, coaching and technology.

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, the entity will also need to be incorporated in 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 €2,000 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 on f6s.com.

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. The incubator is located in the heart of Berlin, in close vicinity to the most important healthcare organizations such as Charité or the Federal Ministry of Health. We have space for 20 entrepreneurs. 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. If you cannot participate in it or think it might not be relevant for you, you can align with the incubator team. Note that the program activities are condensed into 2 days a week maximum.

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 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.