Successful support for start-ups

25. May 2020

Young companies are economically much more at risk in the corona crisis than companies that have already been established on the market for years or even decades. Therefore, TFU GmbH, the start-up and innovation centre of the Ulm/Neu-Ulm region, is particularly committed to start-ups that have successfully mastered the first start-up phase, but are not yet “saddled”.

In order to give them quick and efficient access to state aid, the TFU has digitized its application processes and intensified individual counseling. “Digitization gives us more time for individual counseling.” Says TFU director Ulrike Hudelmaier. She appeals to young companies to make use of this form of assistance.

For older start-ups in particular, the state has expanded its existing “Start-up BW Pre-Seed” support programme, in which the TFU has been involved since 2018 as one of four pilot partners at the time and with 16 support projects in the meantime, and is providing a further 25 million euros, which are intended to benefit above all these start-ups, which are no longer entirely new. “Start-up BW Pro-Tect” is the name of the expansion – protect means protecting.

The TFU is currently particularly committed to these start-ups. Ulrike Hudelmaier recently reported that five of them have already been successful and another four are in the running. “Promising start-ups with the potential to play a decisive role in shaping the region in the future must not be allowed to go under in this crisis”, emphasised the TFU Managing Director. “We want to prevent the Corona pandemic from being the end of many good business ideas.

Start-ups can, if they are in a corona-related crisis, receive up to 160,000 euros in the short term to bridge liquidity bottlenecks in the form of a repayable grant. Similar to an interest-free loan, the money must be repaid to the land by investors in the event of a successful financing round, but if this is not successful, the founder is not liable for the amount. Hudelmaier is well aware that the problem of liability is a major deterrent to many young companies applying for aid. The highly successful programme is aimed at start-ups whose business model is highly scalable and innovative. A co-investor must be convinced that the programme is sustainable enough to provide 20 percent of the funding as a loan. One of the programme’s advantages is that valuable support is provided completely free of charge.

The shareholders of the TFU, i.e. the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm, the Alb-Danube district and the district of Neu-Ulm, the Ulm Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the University of Ulm, support this course. “The region needs innovative young companies”, says Lord Mayor Gunter Czisch as chairman of the TFU’s partners’ meeting. “The TFU offers young companies and business start-ups a launch pad and the basis for a successful future. We therefore think it is only logical to support these enterprises, which we have accompanied so far, also now.

Interested parties can find detailed information and the digitalised application procedure at

At the informal meeting of the TFU shareholders in Ulm City Hall, Janet Qin was appointed “Special Representative of the TFU Shareholders for Chinese Affairs”. According to the TFU, the honorary title is an expression of mutual solidarity and recognition for the trustful cooperation between the TFU and Qin. The Chinese woman, who has excellent contacts both in Germany and in China, commutes regularly between Ulm/Neu-Ulm and her home country. For years she has been committed to establishing regional cooperation between the Ulm/Neu-Ulm region and the southern Chinese region of Shenzhen.

Die Chinesin Janet Qin wird per Urkunde zur "Sonderbeauftragten der Gesellschafter der TFU für chinesische Angelegenheiten" ernannt. Foto: TFU GmbH