KIT Gründerschmiede


Over the past years, the startup environment at KIT has developed positively. We work continuously on expanding startup funding in order to provide ideal framework conditions to motivated funders. This improvement was made possible for KIT thanks to public funding.

Pioneers and sponsors

As early as 1998, the former research center (today Campus Nord) and Karlsruhe University (today Campus Süd) took the initiative to promote startups. Within the framework of the promoting instruments EXIST I and II, spin-off politics were advanced together with regional partners through the association KEIM e.V. (later KEIMforum). This project promotion through the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) laid the foundation for today’s work.

Center for Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship (CIE)

In order to provide a central contact point for all people interested in founding and for founders at KIT, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was founded in 2008 as a cross-faculty founder platform. The project that emerged from EXIST-III funds with the installation of a permanent glass pavilion on Campus Süd has established itself as a founder center and provides consultation and community management in the founder network.

In this context, project promotion of the State Ministry of Finances and Economics with funds from the European Social Fund is also very important. In the project Inkubatoren 2, events and consultation offerings are promoted at CIE. The Karlsruhe business network CyberForum e.V. and the NETSYNO Software GmbH (former NWEBS) have contributed significantly to intensifying the offerings of CIE.


KIT high-tech incubator

In parallel, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has supported KIT on multiple occasions. This way, for instance, the building of the KIT high-tech incubator founded in 2008 as part of the INKA project was funded. Currently, another project PROBE is being implemented to work on professionalizing the participation strategy – another important element for the planned sustainability.


Funding the EXIST IV makes it possible for us to bundle the previous activities of startup promotion and develop new measures. We face this task in the project "KIT Founders Forge".

We are grateful for the support and sponsors of the past years – with this, we have the chance to establish KIT as a Founders Forge today.