About 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 business plan competition for start-ups in the Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Energy area. Start-ups in the field of life sciences paticipate in the Science4Life Venture Cup, whereas founders whereas start-ups active in the area of energy have the chance to compete for the Science4Life Energy Cup. More than 300 expert advisers from over 200 institutions are supporting the initiative by acting as coaches, peer reviewers or general experts for the start-up businesses. The spectrum of these network partners covers all areas being 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 Science4Life network partners 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 which helps to incorporate start-up companies.


The dates for the 24th round of competition

09/01/2021 Kick-off

10/22/2021 Deadline for submission of ideas

11/26/2021 Phase-1 Academy Day for best business ideas

11/26/2021 Award ceremony

01/14/2022 Deadline for submission of business concepts

03/16-17/2022 Phase-2 Academy Days for best business concepts

03/17/2022 Award ceremony in Berlin

04/29/2022 Deadline for submission of business plans

07/16-17/2022 Phase-3 Academy-Days for best business plans Energy Cup

07/15-17/2022: Phase-3 Academy-Days for best business plans Venture Cup

07/18/2022 Final award ceremony in Frankfurt am Main

The Nationwide Science4Life Business Plan Competition

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 for start-ups from the areas of life sciences and chemistry is awarded annually and has been an important tool for helping young entrepreneurs to get their business started. In addition, participants of the business paln competition with a business idea in the field of energy have the chance to win the dedicated Science4Life Energy Cup.

Key facts:

  • Students, postgraduates and scientific assistants, as well as employees and young entrepreneurs in the branches of Life Sciences, Chemistry and Energy are invited to participate
  • The competition consist of three phases: idea phase (Phase 1), concept phase (Phase 2), and business plan phase (Phase 3)
  • Main sponsors are the federal state government of Hesse and Sanofi
  • The competition is supported by more than 300 experts on a pro-bono basis
  • Participation in the competition 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 will be reviewed by scientists, lawyers, investors and industry experts and you will receive several written feedbacks from different reviewers.

Closing date phase I: 10/23/2020 

Rewards: Participation in the Phase-1 Academy Day for best business ideas, further prize money of € 500 for each winning team

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: 01/15/2021

Rewards: Participation in the Phase-2 Academy Days for best business concepts, further prize money of € 1,000 for each winning team

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: 04/23/2021

Rewards: Participation in the Phase-3 Academy Days for best business plans, prize money

Science4Life Venture Cup:

1st place € 25,000

2nd place € 10,000

3rd place € 5,000

4th and 5th places € 2,500

6th –10th place € 1,000 each

Science4Life Energy Cup:

1st place € 10,000

2nd place € 5,000

3rd place € 2.500



What is Science4Life?

Science4Life is a registered 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 as its core activity. The total price money of the business plan competition is 85.000€.

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, it is not necessary that you have your company already incorporated. However, if you have already founded your company, you can participate as well provided your company is not older than one year. The foundation of the company should therefore not have been earlier than 1stof September 2018.

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.

How is the business plan competition structured?

There are three phases in the business plan competition: Idea phase (Phase 1), concept phase (Phase 2), business plan phase (Phase 3). You can take part in all three phases or just pick the phase(s) which is (are) most suitable for you.

Can I apply for the competition if I missed or skipped the idea or the concept phase?

It is possible to skip the first and or second phase. You can enter the competition just to participate in the last two phases or to participate only in the business plan phase. There will be no kind of disadvantage in the assessment or rating of your submission since the review procedures for the different phases are completely separated and independent from each other.

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 current 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 85.000€ is at stake.

Startschuss Businessplan-Wettbewerb 2023

Zurück nach oben