Since 2013, the idyllic small city of Freiburg in southwestern Germany has been home to a networking center called Grünhof for sustainability-oriented innovators, creative minds and start-up enthusiasts.
Two years ago, together with the city, Grünhof launched a new funding system for start-ups. The Green Smart Accelerator. Fledgling companies can apply for financing assistance ranging from 50,000 to 200,000, in exceptional cases 400,000, euros. 80 percent of the money comes from the regional state bank, while 20 percent is supplied by co-investors.
The help is offered to companies at various stages of development from “Seed” to “Camp” to “Grow.” The initiative also offers various types of support, including expert coaching, office space, corporate networking and industry collaboration.
“Such cooperative ventures enable firms to tap into new areas of business or kick-start innovations in-house,” says Grünhof cofounder and sociologist Martina Knittel.