aws First International Incubator

Questions and Answers

Target group
Persons who

  • have an idea and either by themselves or with a team of up to 4 people would like to become self-employed
  • internationals and international start-up teams - at least 50% of the team consists of internationals with max. 5 years of residence in Austria

Module A

  • Module A is aimed at persons who have not yet established a company with the project to be submitted and are/were thus economically active.
  • Persons submitting an application for aws First Incubator Module A must also not yet be entrepreneurially active in the business area of the project or have holdings in partnerships or corporations in this business area.

Module B

  • Companies founded no longer than 6 months ago (max. net turnover EUR 10,000)

How will I be supported as part of the aws First International Incubator?

  • Financially: Each project can be supported with up to EUR 55,000. This includes allowances for project, rental, travel and personnel costs. The personnel cost allowance is limited to a maximum of EUR 4,800 per project member and is paid out in a maximum of 6 monthly instalments.
  • Further details can be found in the call information in the download area.
  • Mentoring: For the duration of the programme year, the projects are entitled to at least six mentoring units by experienced founders.
  • Training & workshops: Experts provide help in numerous workshops, e.g. on how to develop a business model from an idea. Details on the topics and further content can be found below.
  • Workplaces: renting co-working spaces, workshops or office space in the federal states
  • Networking: Excursions and participation in events of the start-up scene as well as the regular aws First Community Meet Ups give you the chance to exchange ideas with other young entrepreneurs.

Does participation in the aws First International Incubator cost anything?
No, aws First Incubator is a support programme. Costs for services offered within the framework of the aws First Incubator are covered in full.

What costs can be funded by aws First International Incubator?
Eligible costs are all direct and actually incurred costs attributable to the project for the duration of the funded project that are necessary to achieve the agreed objectives in a comprehensible manner, provided that they are economical, efficient and expedient. Possible eligible costs include: personnel costs, travel costs to the aws First Incubator events, rental costs for workstations as well as material costs and third-party services within the project costs.

All costs required for the development of the project within the framework of the aws First Incubator as well as current or future personnel resources must be taken into account in the project budget plan.

More detailed information on the eligible costs can be found in the programme document and in the call documents guideline specifications as well as in the tender documents of the respective call.

Please note: Project costs cannot be changed at will after approval. Therefore, budget planning must be carefully finalised even before the application is submitted.

Do I need to have a team to participate in the aws First International Incubator Programme?
No, you can apply either alone or in a project team of up to 4 people. In order to be able to optimally divide the work in a project, it of course helps if the project does not have to be developed alone. In order to be able to financially support people who join the project team at a later stage, they must be taken into account in advance in the budget planning under personnel costs.

How much time do I need to set aside to participate in the aws First International Incubator Programme?
After the application documents have been reviewed, you will be notified whether you have made it to the second application round and thus automatically participate in the aws First Start-up Preschool. The Start-up Preschool is compulsory for all project members. Only those who participate can also be accepted into the aws First Incubator Programme.

With the start of the programme, training sessions (mostly Friday - Saturday) and workshops on start-up-related topics take place over the course of a year.

The costs for this are covered by the travel cost allowance within the project budget. Outside of the training sessions, you will work intensively on the further development of the project.

In addition, monthly project progress reports must be prepared - on the one hand, to set goals for each month, and on the other hand, to reflect the current status quo of the project.

Which contents are covered in the trainings?
Possible topics for the training sessions:

  • Customer analysis and customer benefits
  • Competition analysis & prototyping
  • Solution development & value proposition
  • Business model creation
  • Market analysis, market entry & financials

Possible topics for the workshops:

  • Storytelling & pitch training
  • Patent, copyright & trademark law
  • Taxes & corporate forms
  • Financing & funding
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Fundraising
  • Negotiation
  • Customer journey
  • Accounting duties

Do I have to found a company after or during the aws First International Incubator Programme?
No, you are not obliged to found a company. 

However, the following applies to

  • Module A: a foundation in Austria must be intended and a possible foundation with the submitted project must take place in Austria within 3 years after completion of the programme.
  • Module B: the company or at least a branch thereof must be founded in Austria.

Can I study or work alongside the aws First International Incubator Programme?
Yes. It is of course up to our grantees what they do besides participating in the programme. But please remember that participation in workshops and training sessions as part of the aws First International Incubator is mandatory and developing a business idea is not a part-time job.

Do I have to attend the workshops & training?
Yes, participation in the training is mandatory for all project members. The workshops must additionally be completed by at least one project member who is responsible for the respective topic area in the team.

With acceptance into the aws First International Incubator, we require a high level of motivation and commitment to further develop the project within the programme and to further educate oneself. Our workshops, training and coaching sessions are an important part of the programme.

Do I need to live in Vienna to participate in the aws First International Incubator Programme?
No, since the aws is a national funding agency, its goal is to promote all federal states equally. We therefore also try to offer our workshops in bundled form as well as partly online and to coordinate the mentors with the places where the grant recipients live.

However, the majority of the workshops and training will have to be attended physically in Vienna. For all programme-specific events requiring travel within Austria, travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the requested grant within the project budget.

When can I apply?
All relevant information concerning the application process can be found on the website of the aws First International Incubator.

Additional information about the programme as well as interesting facts about entrepreneurial thinking can also be found on our Facebook page and Instagram page.

How is the application for funding submitted?
Funding can only be applied for online via aws funding manager. More detailed information on the required application documents can be found in the call documents under “Downloads“.

In order to be able to meet all requirements for a successful application, we require a careful examination of the call documents. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

In which language can I write the application?
The application documents should preferably be written in English.

How does the selection process work?
Once the application for funding has been submitted on time via the aws Funding Manager, the application will be reviewed by the aws and an external jury at the end of the submission period for compliance with the formal criteria and evaluated in terms of content. The evaluation criteria are set out in the guideline specifications of the aws First Incubator.

Based on the content evaluation, a pre-selection of projects is made that will be invited to the aws First Start-up Preschool. Participation in the aws First Start-up Preschool is mandatory in order to be accepted into the programme. After the Start-up Preschool, the final decision is made as to which projects will be accepted into the aws First International Incubator Programme.

What happens at the Start-up Preschool?
At the aws First Start-up Preschool, we want to give our jury the opportunity to get to know the people behind the project in person.

During this period, there is an opportunity to prove to the jury who really has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. This will be elaborated through various workshops. In addition, the funding applicants get to know each other better and can thus also benefit from the direct feedback of the other participants.

In which language are the workshops and training as well as the aws First Start-up Preschool held?
Our workshops, trainings & coaching sessions are held in English.

Similarly, the content in the aws First Start-up Preschool is conveyed in English.

Will my idea be treated confidentially?
Yes. aws as well as the external jury will treat the submitted projects and ideas with due regard for the requirement of data protection and confidentiality.

Can aws First International Incubator funding be combined with other funding?
Provided that the de-minimis cap G (applies exclusively to Module B) is not exceeded and there is no double funding with regard to the submitted costs, a combination with other funding is possible. The costs of the project approved at the aws First International Incubator cannot be additionally financed through other funding.

An independent review of whether certain funding is mutually exclusive is required at an early stage and prior to application. The information on this can be found in the legal bases and guideline specifications of the respective funding.

How is funding to be handled under tax law?
The tax treatment of funding from aws First International Incubator must be assessed individually according to the current legal situation and the situation of the grant recipient(s). Tax issues can therefore explicitly not be clarified with the aws. It is therefore recommended to consult a qualified tax consultant.

Can I withdraw from aws First International Incubator early?
Yes. Should it become clear during the course of the programme that self-employment is not the right path for you or that the project cannot be continued for any other reason, you can leave the programme at any time. The aws First International Incubator programme management must be informed immediately in writing of any planned withdrawal.