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ProNTI, Berlin Grant for non-technical startups & SMEs

Updated: May 15, 2023

You think it is impossible to get a grant because you have to be unusually innovative, super technical, using artificial intelligence or crypto etc? Well this has changed. Since April 2023 the state of Berlin has introduced a new Grant. It is called ProNTI (Programm zur Förderung von nichttechnischen Innovationen). In plain English ProNTI stands for grants for non-technical innovation. Topics that can be subsidized are: 1) innovative business models or solutions, novel services or products, 2) new processes and organisational methods or 3)

innovative marketing concepts are developed. The grant is focused on startups with revenues and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A maximum of 140.000 euro of free cash / subsidy is available per company (see section how much can I get). Last but not least, experience shows that the criteria or scope of a new grant might change over time. Due to the amount of successful applications!

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Who is eligible

Innovative startups with revenues and SMEs with its headquarters or branch office in Berlin, whose business model is predominantly aimed at generating market income in competition with other providers (foundations etc are excluded).

What is granted

Funding is available for projects that are in at least one of the following three project phases.

Validation Phase

In this phase, a practical, quasi-experimental context is used to investigate whether the project is practically applicable or whether the creative, non-technical innovation is feasible.

Test the Product-Market Fit Phase

In the second phase there are projects that test the product-market fit. For example, with early-users and potential customers, how well the product or services can be used or whether it is already ready for the market.

Commercialisation phase

In this phase, the non-technical innovation is to be transferred to commercial implementation.

Projects for which an application is submitted should be in one of these three phases. After successful project completion, it should be possible to submit a follow-up application for further development of the project results. Projects that are planned from the outset over two successive phases can also be applied for in parallel.

How much…

The ProNTI funding is a share-based funding. This means that each applicant company must contribute an appropriate share of its own and pre-finance the costs / project. So the costs are being refunded…

Startups younger than 5 years, the maximum funding amount is 75% of the total eligible expenditure.

SMEs older than 5 years, the maximum funding is 50% of the total eligible expenditure.

Funding is provided in the form of share funding as a non-repayable grant of the following eligible expenses:

  • Personnel expenses

  • External services (expert opinions, training/coaching, research contracts, studies, market research services, external development services)

  • Participation expenses

  • Material and travel expenses

  • Innovation funding through grants is

Validation phase is limited to a maximum of 60.000 euro per project.

Test the Product-Market Fit phase is limited to a maximum of 120,000 euro per project. .

Commercialisation phase is limited to a maximum of 120.000 euro per project.

Combining two phases is possible. Is limited to a maximum of 140.000 euro per project in the case of projects that extend over two phases.

Application, pay out process and required documentation

We are still in Germany and the application must be in German…

1. Online application (in German).

2. ProNTI team reviews the application.

3. An external third party reviews the project.

4. A meeting between ProNTI team, third party and you the applicant

5. Decision is taken

If 5. is positive

6. Project start / execution

7. Mid term Presentation

8. Call for funds to be paid ou (Applicants pre-finance the project / costs)

9. At the last call for funds a final check is carried out.

ProNTI grant is provided according to the expense reimbursement principle. This means that you initially bear the costs in full yourself and provide proof of the payment made by means of an invoice and payment receipt. After verification by the IBB Business Team, the funding amount is paid proportionately to the company account.

Required documents

In order to fully assess your application for a grant from the "ProNTI Innovation Funding", various documents, declarations and evidence documents must be handed in. You submit the documents listed below in the electronic application. The documents must be uploaded as PDF files and must not be larger than 10 MB each.

During the application process, the following documents must be submitted online:

  • Commercial register excerpt (not older than 1 year) / business registration / GbR contract / association register excerpt, etc...,

  • Valid identification document of the legal representative(s) of the applying company

  • Transparency database number and entries in the transparency database of the State of Berlin (10 min application and 1 day to get registered)

  • Project description (incl. financial and milestone planning) of the respective project phase (templates from the application system are to be used).

If applicable, power of representation, there is a template in the application system.

Mind the small letters

The following requirements are the basis for funding projects:

  • The project must be carried out in the Land of Berlin.

  • The applicant company's secure financing must be presented in a comprehensible manner using suitable documents and, upon request, must also be proven during the duration of the project.

  • The appropriateness of the project's work, time and expenditure planning must be demonstrated in a suitable form.

  • Double funding is excluded: Eligible expenditure cannot be combined with other funding.

  • The planned project results must be a plausible basis for increasing company-related or regional value creation and employment or generate social added value.

  • The project cannot be realized at all without funding, or only with a time delay and on a significantly smaller scale.

  • The project must be risky in a positive sense and innovative at the same time.

  • The company and/or its products and/or services have a concrete unique selling proposition.

  • A registration number is required for the application, which documents the registration in the transparency database of the State of Berlin with all mandatory information. Not to worry as a Berlin registered you are (should be) registered. Look here what this means.

  • The economic, ecological and social sustainability of a project and its results must be given.

  • The project duration should not exceed 12 months and can be extended to a maximum of 18 months in individual cases with sufficient justification.

More background readings or application (in German):

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