Application process

Next round starts in August 2020.

Disclaimer: The funding is the subject to the provision of funds by the funding organization!

DesignFarmBerlin grants funding to design-driven start-ups. Individuals as well as teams, up to three members, can apply for grants: please see the exact requirements at the bottom of the page. The main applicant (founder) must have a background in design.
The DesignFarm’s application process consists of three stages:

1. apply with a short outline of your ambition

2. if our feedback is successful, apply with a full description of your project (cover letter, CV, design study certificate, reference letter from your professor)

3. participate in our application workshop.


Short Outline
> by 21.08.2020

Please submit a short outline of your start-up:

  1. yourself (or your team) and your design-in-tech idea
  2. your business strategy
  3. naming your potential mentor (professor). Your mentor should be from the school where you graduated.

as an email with max. 600 characters to


Full Application / max. 2 MB
> 4.09.2020

Upon our initial feedback on your outline, we will invite you to submit your full application, containing:

  1. Cover letter* / max. 1 A4 page
  2. CV
  3. Design study certificate
  4. Reference letter from your design professor / max. 2,000 characters


*Please describe in the cover letter:

  1. yourself, your team or your network;
  2. the innovation behind your design-in-tech undertaking;
  3. a suitable exploitation strategy for your undertaking;
  4. work plan including milestones for a nine-month stay at DesignFarmBerlin;
  5. your expectations from DesignFarmBerlin;
  6. you can attach additional visual material to your application.


Online workshop
>30.09. 2020 and 1.10.2020

For the selected applicants we organize a two-day workshop.

This workshop with experts from the design & tech scene is a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, get the first feedback on your product and start building your network. Due to the current situation, the whole workshop will take place online. It may be also reduced to one day. Our goal is to design an event that is beneficial and enjoyable for all participants.

Please reserve this date in your calendar today!

Eligibility criteria

Formal criteria

You have a Diploma/Bachelor or Master degree in Design and graduated no more than 5 years ago.*

You plan to set up your own business based on your design-in-tech project. The date of your business registration is not more than 3 months before your application to DesignFarmBerlin.

You have already developed a proof-of-concept for your idea, ideally during your Diploma, Bachelor or Master thesis.

You have a mentor/professor who will coach the progress of your start-up initiative at DesignFarmBerlin.

Your place of residence is Berlin.

You don’t receive and haven’t received any grants through other German start-up programs (e. g. EXIST).

It is expected that you invest 100 % of your time in your start-up.


Project criteria

DesignFarm supports harvesting and start-up strategies for Design-in-Tech concepts in three different fields:

1. Product-related innovations
2. Innovative manufacturing processes
3. Competence-based start-ups

In all three directions, the development of the product, process or proof of competence must already have taken place and must be verifiable, e. g. by means of prototypes, samples, relevant activities, etc… Together with mentors and coaches, sustainable and effective economic models are then developed on the farm.


What we mean by Design-in-Tech

The new digital technologies allow designers to radically rethink their role. Design, manufacturing, and distribution models are changing: Designers are developing new digital tools and innovative manufacturing methods that enable different products, open up new aesthetic fields and reconfigure production chains. We expect that this comprehensive innovation impetus will not only enable new, innovative products and services but also create meaningful start-up initiatives and fulfilling employment opportunities. DesignFarm – as a new vehicle to traditional business development strategies – supports the instinct of designers to open up qualitatively different perspectives for start-ups.

We look forward to receiving your application!

*Exceptions are made for applicants from the excellence cluster “Image, Knowledge, Design”.