Global Horizon Program

Focus on internationalisation

The KIT start-up story goes to the next level – “Convincing Internationally”. The programme for the strategic internationalisation of start-up promotion aims to make KIT the most important interface between technology start-ups from southwest Germany and global markets.

Where are we going?

Why are we doing this?

GHPro aims to increase the number and quality of start-ups with an international orientation, be it through e.g. the origin, the teams, the partners or the markets. To this end, the national offer of the KIT- Gründerschmiede is being strategically supplemented and internationally expanded. Close co-operation and collaboration with excellent regional partners creates a cluster that combines enormous technological and infrastructural potential with a large talent pool. In international competition, this increases visibility vis-à-vis major metropolises such as San Francisco, Toronto, Singapore, London and the German metropolises. With the KIT-Gründerschmiede and GHPro, KIT not only has an internationally visible radiance, but is at the same time an active facilitator and amplifier of the regional start-up economy.

Who are we doing this with?

Initiative „DeepTech Startup Hub SouthWest“

Regional partners include, in particular, the internationally recognised universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim from the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region as well as the local universities and partners of the Gründerallianz Karlsruhe.


In addition, KIT has numerous strategic industrial partners such as ABB, BASF, BOSCH, Daimler, SAP or Zeiss, some of which run their own international accelerator and incubator programmes and are looking for co-operation. Building on this broad regional base, international alliances are being formed to support the development of DeepTech start-ups and the exchange “in both directions”. The development and establishment of the DeepTechHub is explicitly supported and promoted by the EXIST programme of the BMWK.



These offers are aimed at international start-ups and start-ups who want to get to know Germany as a location for start-ups, are looking for points of contact in the industry or simply want to conquer the German market with their product. We build bridges, put people in touch with each other and help with our know-how to make it easier for start-ups to get off the ground here in Germany.


Soft Landing

International start-ups can get to know KIT, the start-up ecosystem in Karlsruhe, the DeepTechHub and Baden-Württemberg at an early stage. The focus is on an initial examination of the business model and technology. At the same time, you will learn about the advantages of settling in Germany and the associated funding and financing opportunities.

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Is your start-up looking for accelerators that are individually tailored to your needs, regionally or internationally? Then come to ACCEL. Our focus is on middle- and later-stage accelerators that provide targeted support in scaling the business model and financing the company.

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It is often a great challenge for foreign start-ups to enter the European market. With our experience, networks and partners as well as the involvement of local scientists and students, we support start-ups to master these challenges.

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Start-ups from the KIT or KIT environment want to relocate abroad with their company, open another location or, for example, conquer the American, Asian or Indian market – we are happy to support you in this exciting and complex development step. See which offer suits you best here and if you don’t find one, please write to us directly.



The ACCEL module addresses the categories inbound and outbound in one dimension. Here, a concept is developed and implemented on how KIT can best place regional and international start-ups with middle- and later-stage accelerators. For international expansion, we work closely with selected partner accelerators.

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Soft Landing

Similar to Soft Landing-Inbound, we offer regionally based start-ups the opportunity to get to know incubators at international partner universities and the respective international market at an early stage. In concrete terms, regional start-ups are supported in positioning themselves internationally at an early stage and identifying internationally scalable business models.

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Enterprise Europe Network

The EU-funded Enterprise Europe Network program helps companies and start-ups with finding partners abroad, among other things. You will receive support in establishing international contacts or opening up new markets, information on the EU internal market or financing opportunities, you can take part in an innovation management check and enter into dialog with the EU.

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Offers from the KIT

Here you will find exciting programmes, events and accelerators especially for KIT students as well as KIT scientists and KIT employees.



The Joint Entrepreneurship School (JES) is an exchange programme for KIT students and is run by EnTechnon. As part of the already established JES, students from KIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) have the opportunity to work together on projects in an intercultural environment.

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You want to start-up, develop your own ideas and make them successful? You are already working on a project, but something is missing to really get started? Then apply to GROW and grow beyond yourself.

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Student Innovation Labs (SIL)

Are you studying and interested in the topic of applied innovation management? Then become part of SIL: two semesters of seminar and lab, from the idea to the demonstrator.

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You already have an idea for your own company and need a boost to make it a reality? Then our start-up catalyst upCAT is the right place for you. This accelerator is open to employees of partner universities and especially to international guest researchers. Apply now!

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Here you will find exciting events and trade fairs at which you can present your start-up or simply be there as a guest and meet interesting network partners or business contacts.


Viva Technology Paris 2023

Together with our German-French partners, we have had a large joint booth at Viva Technology in Paris for the last three years. As a KIT start-up, you have the opportunity to be part of Viva Technology in 2022 together with us. Apply now.



The Start-up BW Summit is one of the major highlight events for the start-up scene in Baden-Württemberg. As a KIT start-up, you have the opportunity to be part of our presence. Apply now.

Who accompanies us?

Our project partners


EXIST is a funding programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The aim is to improve the start-up climate at universities and non-university research institutions and to increase the number and success of technology-oriented and knowledge-based start-ups.

German Accelerator

German Accelerator empowers German start-ups to scale globally. We take high-potential companies on a fast-paced learning journey in some of the world’s leading innovation centres.


In the Gründermotor Master Class, each team develops its business model into a scalable and investable start-up. The master class brings together start-ups, corporates and academia to shape the founder personalities and growth companies of tomorrow.


GERMAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP promotes innovation in companies of all sizes – from DAX-listed corporations to medium-sized enterprises to start-ups (more than 730 start-ups accompanied). They run well-known accelerator programmes such as the German Accelerator and we help companies set up their own corporate accelerators.

Frauenhofer Venture

Fraunhofer Venture is responsible for the spin-off and investment management of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V. – Europe’s largest institution for applied research. We develop successful start-ups from world-class high tech and bring innovations to market.

regional platform

The Gründerallianz is the community of all the players who have standing and name in the entrepreneurship sector in Karlsruhe. As a regional platform, it bundles all offers and information for people interested in founding a company.

Softlanding South America

The institution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes the supply of Chilean goods and services in the world. Thanks to its extensive international network, they also support the spread of investment opportunities in Chile and promote tourism. Its mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of the country through the internationalisation of Chilean companies and the promotion of goods and services, among other things.

Region Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg International

Baden-Württemberg International is the central location promotion agency for business and science in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Its goal is to make Baden-Württemberg even more visible, attractive and resilient as a location for business and science in global competition.

Start-up BW

Start-up BW is a state campaign of Baden-Württemberg with the aim of maintaining the competitiveness and economic strength of the state and, on the other hand, to strengthen its reputation as a start-up state nationally and internationally.

Merck Accelerator

The Accelerator is aimed at start-ups working on real problems in the focus areas of bio-sensing and interfaces, liquid biopsy, clean meat or AI-based health solutions.

Hub Start-up Entrepreneurship
Deep Tech Hub

Together with our partners from the start-up region Karlsruhe-Mannheim-Heidelberg, we have founded the Deep Tech Hub.


ZEISS is a leading global technology company in the optical and optoelectronic industry. ZEISS develops, produces and sells highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and therapy in ophthalmology and microsurgery.