About Science4Life

What is Science4Life?

Science4Life is a German initiative to support founders of start-up companies in the field of Life Sciences, Chemistry and Energy.

Main sponsors of Science4Life are the Government of the State of Hesse and by the global healthcare leader Sanofi. For over 20 years the mission of the Science4Life team has been to bring new ideas to entrepreneurial success.

Activities of Science4Life are centered around the Science4Life Venture Cup, an annual business plan competition for start-ups in the Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Energy area. Start-ups active in the Energy field have also the chance to win a special prize, the Science4Life Energy Award.
More than 300 expert advisers from over 200 institutions are supporting the initiative by acting as coaches. The spectrum of partners covers all areas, which are essential for entrepreneurs to establish their new company. This includes lawyers, consultants and managing directors of biotech companies, as well as renowned researchers from academia and industry. The exchange of information with these experienced professionals helps to highlight and address potential problems already at an early stage. Moreover, the early interaction is beneficial for both, future entrepreneurs get easy access to economic, scientific and legal information and coaches get to know people on the cutting edge of science and can experience the newest trends in the field.

The business plan competition

  • encourages future entrepreneurs to bring forward their ideas in the field of Life Sciences, Chemistry or Energy.
  • supports the development of an idea into a business plan.
  • provides a platform to help to achieve professional independence


The dates for the 21th round of competition

09/01/2018 Kick-off
10/12/2018 Deadline for submission of ideas
11/23/2018 One-Day-Workshop for best ideas in Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
01/18/2019 Deadline for submission of business concepts
03/18/2019 Two-Day-Workshop for best business concepts in Berlin
03/19/2019 Award ceremony in Berlin
04/12/2019 Deadline for submission of business plans
06/13/2019 Three-Day-Workshop in Rüdesheim
06/17/2019 Final award ceremony in Frankfurt am Main

The Nationwide Business Plan Competition Science4Life Venture Cup

The idea is as easy as it is successful: The initiative Science4Life brings together young entrepreneurs with experts in the fields of Life Sciences, Chemistry and Energy.
Participants get detailed feedback on their submitted ideas, business concepts or business plans. Experts from many sectors essential for the establishment of a new company such as lawyers, investors, researchers and marketing experts act as coaches and reviewers.
Established in 1998, the Science4Life Venture Cup is awarded annually and has been an important tool for helping young entrepreneurs to get their business started. In addition, participants of the Venture Cup with a business idea in the field of energy have the chance to win a special prize, the Science4Life Energy Award.

Key facts:

  • Students, postgraduates and scientific assistants, as well as employees and young entrepreneurs in the branches of Life Science and Chemistry are invited to participate
  • The competition consist of three phases: idea phase (Phase I), conceptual phase (Phase II), and business plan phase (Phase III)
  • Main sponsors are the provincial government of Hesse and Sanofi
  • The competition is supported voluntarily by more than 200 companies
  • Participation and consultation is free of charge


Phase 1: Your idea

In this first stage of the competition, you submit a short (~ 3 pages), concise description of your idea and your potential customers. Your ideas are evaluated by scientists and economists and you will receive written feedback from different reviewers.

Closing date phase I: 10/12/2018


Science4Life Venture Cup:
30 x participation in one-day-workshop with experts from the Science4Life network
5 x € 500

Science4Life Energy Award:
3x € 500

Phase 2: Your business concept

Aim of this phase is to generate a brief, concise description of your future business. This includes your company’s representation and a forecasting market evaluation. A convincing executive summary is the key part of the business concept. Again, you will receive written feedback from different reviewers. Winners are invited to Berlin for our two-day workshop.

Closing date phase II: 01/18/2019


Science4Life Venture Cup:
20 x two-day workshop with individual coaching by experts of the Science4Life network
10 x € 1,000

Science4Life Energy Award:
2 x € 1,000

Phase 3: Your business plan

In the third phase of the competition you establish your complete business plan. Our panel of experts is evaluating all submitted business plans and written feedback is being provided. In addition, the winners have the chance to participate in individual workshops and to win valuable price money.

Closing date phase III: 04/12/2019


Science4Life Venture Cup:
1st – 5th place participation four-day-workshop (founders’ workshop)
1st place € 25,000
2nd place € 10,000
3rd place € 5,000
4th and 5th places € 3,000
6th –10th place € 2,000 each

Science4Life Energy Award:
1st – Individual workshop
1st place € 10,000


What is Science4Life?

Science4Life is a society that supports founders and young entrepreneurs in the field of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Energy. It is supported by the Government of the State of Hesse in Germany, by the global healthcare leader Sanofi and by more than 200 companies and institutions. Science4Life was established in 1998 with the annual business plan competition, the Science4Life Venture Cup, as its core activity. The  total price money of the Science4Life Venture Cup is 82.000€.

What is the Science4Life Energy Award?

This a special prize within the business plan competition honoring the best business ideas in the field of energy with a total prize money of 13.500€. The Science4Life Energy Award intends to support founders with innovative ideas from different energy sectors like renewable energy, energy storage, power efficiency, digitalization, systems and network technologies, e-mobility, and many more.

My company has not been founded yet, can I participate in the business plan competition?

Anyone having an idea in the field of Life Sciences, Chemistry or Energy can participate. Young companies entering the Science4Life Venture Cup contest must not have been founded more than one year ago. The foundation of the company should therefore not have been earlier than 1stof September 2017.

How much does the participation cost?

Participation is free of charge.

Are there regional limitations to the competition?

Participation is not restricted to Germany. Participants have come from West and East European countries as well as from the USA. In 2003, the winning team came from Austria.

How do I apply for the competition?

Registration is possible under www.science4life.de. Participation is strictly confidential.

How many levels are there in the business plan competition?

There are three levels: Idea phase (Phase I), conceptual phase (Phase II), business plan phase (Phase III). You can take part on all three phase or pick the phase(s) which is (are) most suitable for you.

Can I apply for the competition after the idea or conceptual phase?

It is possible to skip the first and or second level.

How does participation pay off for me?

The main benefit is the detailed written feedback on your submission giving you important guidance on your further business strategy. This feedback comes from experienced coaches and experts from industry and science. In addition, each participant is provided with a comprehensive business plan manual guiding the preparation of your documents. You will have access to seminars, workshops and other activities for founders organized by Science4Life and our partners. Last but not least you have the chance to meet actual and former participants, successful founders, our experts and coaches and to become part of our growing network. Finally, a price money with the total sum of 82.000€ is at stake.


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