01.07.2013 - 28.02.2017

Network coordinator:

  • Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability

Network partners:

  • ADT - German Association of Innovation, Technology and Business Incubation Centres
  • Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Prof. Innovation Management and Sustainability


  • Prof. Dr. Alexander Nicolai, Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship
  • EFNW GmbH
  • Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Oldenburg (TGO) 
  • Climate KIC German Center
  • The Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag, DIHK)
  • BPW: The Berlin-Brandenburg Business Plan Competition (Investitionsbank Berlin, IBB)

Reference regions:

  • Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Niedersachsen (Hannover, Oldenburg)



The German government has set a target of achieving an 80 to 95 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, compared with the 1990 baseline. 

This ambitious emissions goal can only be reached by taking major steps toward change and through fundamental innovation. As research has shown in the past, start-ups lead the way in pushing through innovation. 

A new initiative for green start-ups

StartUp4Climate is the world's first national start-up initiative for a green, low-carbon economy. Its goal is to mobilize the potential of new start-ups for climate mitigation in Germany. This will allow previously unexploited potential for decarbonization to be tapped.

StartUp4Climate develops and tests new incentive systems and tools for planning start-ups, carries out measures for awareness-raising, qualification, and consulting, and supports networking and exchange of start-up consultants, business development promoters, investors, financial supporters, and universities.
Accompanied by surveys of the Green Economy Start-Up Monitor, which are conducted at regular intervals by the Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability, start-up promotion is set to establish a focus on green markets of the future.

Research for green start-ups
Within the framework of the initiative, the team around Professor Klaus Fichter is tasked with identifying concrete starting points for increased integration of climate mitigation and sustainability requirements within the system of incentives for start-ups, thus creating the basis for further work packages. In addition, the team is to work out a concept for developing sustainable business models and develop suitable qualification modules for disseminating the concept. The university is also responsible for introducing and disseminating the Sustainable Business Canvas at universities, important disseminators involved in training entrepreneurs, in business incubators, at organizations consulting to and providing support for economic development, as well as other platforms.

Booklet: The support system for green start-up companies in Germany (Download)

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