Science-based Start-up Project Application 2024

AGEA is accepting submissions of innovative start-up concepts resulting from scientific research conducted by scientists, lecturers, researchers, and research students at African universities in Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tunisia.

The application window is open until 31 March 2024.

Scope: Science-based Start-up Projects

Science-based technology start-ups challenge orthodoxies and traditional business models and can significantly transform industrial and service operations through ground-breaking innovative approaches. In recent times, technology has witnessed enormous inroads, which has had a significant impact on the lives of human beings. Due to the paramount importance of the inclusion of technology into various ways of solving problems, businesses are trying to include technology-related components into their models, and the entrepreneurship or business creation field is not an exception. 

HEIs in Africa are encouraged to explore opportunities to unearth their entrepreneurial abilities by building businesses from their research that provide sustainable solutions to pressing societal challenges. We believe African researchers and scientists conduct high-quality research, generating exceptional solutions for today’s challenges. AGEA thus seeks to use its platform to identify and support such science-based technology start-up projects to increase the capabilities of African scientists to transfer their knowledge and technologies from the laboratories and shelves into viable business products and services. The focus here is on the unique technological solutions that are not easily replicable with commercial potential.

We aim to support such start-up projects to obtain resources in Germany, such as the EXIST grants for the further development of the start-up project based on the technology developed.



The EXIST business start-up grant supports students, graduates, and scientists from universities and research institutes who want to turn their business ideas into business plans. The start-up project should be technologically innovative or a knowledge-based project with significant unique features and good commercial prospects of success.

The start-up teams receive an EXIST start-up grant at attractive conditions for 12 months to develop a business plan and prepare for their business start-up with the support of their university or research institution. Read more about EXIST here.

Who can participate?

  • Scientists (lecturers, professors, and researchers)
  • Research students (Masters and Doctoral)
  • Graduates (Masters or Doctorate)
  • Must be from AGEA/ACCESS universities in Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Kenya, Rwanda and Tunisia
  • Participation can be as an individual or a team of students, scientists, and graduates.
  • The participation of women is highly encouraged, either as individuals or in teams.
  • An initial “laboratory” prototype, product model, or MVP is required for this application. This must not necessarily be a market-ready prototype.

How to participate

To participate, provide the details of your start-up project using the Application form:

Alternatively, you can send the underlisted information about the start-up project to Bismark Agyei Yeboah via email at

Important Information

Applicants should provide relevant information about the innovative start-up project. The information should be brief and concise, highlighting the uniqueness of the technology and the solution it offers.

  1. Problem:What is the main challenge that your business idea seeks to address? Why is the issue a problem?
  2. Proof of Scientific Research: Describethe underpinning scientific research conducted by you or a member of your team that has resulted in this business idea. If available, include publications (journal, thesis, etc.) on the research results.
  3. Solution (product/service):Describe the product and/or service and how the product solves the identified problem. Present prototypes, product or service models, or minimum viable products (MVP). Include photos or videos of the prototype or product model in the submission.
  4. Innovativeness:What is “new” about the technology developed? What makes your solution unique from competitors or current solutions?
  5. Customers and Market Opportunities:Who are the potential customers of the solution? What is the market potential of the start-up project?
  6. Current stage and Future potential: What is the current development stage of the business idea? How do you see the growth trajectory of the business idea?  What are the critical next steps planned for this idea?

Next steps and Timelines

The next significant steps include:

  1. Application and submission of start-up projects: 31.03.2024
  2. Identification and selection of qualified start-up projects by Leipzig University: 31.03.2024
  3. Joint online meeting with the start-up coaches of Leipzig University to analyze the start-up projects:  01. – 12.04.2024
  4. Final decision on the strategic fit of the start-up projects with funding schemes in Germany: 15.04.2024
  5. Informing selected start-up project of final decision: 15.04.2024
  6. Preparation for trip to Leipzig: 16.04.2024 – 26.05.2024
  7. Trip to Leipzig for training and proposal development in 2024: 27.05.2024 –  07.06.2024

Deadline Countdown

The deadline has expired. Registrations can no longer be accepted.

Prizes and Support

Selected start-up projects will receive a fully funded trip for at least one team member for a two-week training on start-up development from our business development experts at Leipzig University, Germany. This is to help build a viable start-up and be awarded an EXIST Scholarship for one year to further develop the prototype and business plan and later enter the market.

Selected start-up projects could send one or two team members to Leipzig/Germany to develop a proposal for funding the prototype development in the EXIST funding scheme. The EXIST grant includes monthly stipends (up to 3,000 €) for team members to cover living expenses for 12 months. The team could also obtain funds for materials to support the prototype development.

About the Competition

The African German Entrepreneurship Academy (AGEA) is an initiative that collaborates closely with committed academic and business partners in Africa and Germany to advance practice-oriented entrepreneurship education and the creation of start-ups in Africa to build and sustain the entrepreneurial orientation at African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The AGEA Business Idea Competition is a channel to promote innovative research-based start-up ideas and projects from African universities.

The AGEA Business Idea Competition aims to identify innovative business ideas generated from academic/scientific research results from which spinoff start-ups can be developed.


Bismark Agyei Yeboah


SEPT Competence Center
Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences
Ritterstr. 9-13
04109 Leipzig, Germany
Telephone: +49 341 97-39765

Contact our AGEA/ACCESS coordinators at the respective universities for further clarifications.

Benin: Robertson Klaingar (IRGIB Africa University)

Ghana: Dr. Ralph Nyadu-Addo (KNUST)

Kenya: Dr. Henry Yatich (Mount Kenya University)

Nigeria: Dr. Ademola Lawal (University of Ibadan)

Rwanda: Dr. Gonzalves Nshimiyimana (INES Ruhengeri)

Tunisia: Dr. Marwa Cherif (University of Tunis)

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