Entrepreneurial solutions for a circular society

The funding program for impact startups

Batch II starting November 2022

Funded by the European Union (European Social Fund) and the State of Berlin

 Our independently funded startups contribute to the following solution approaches:

Creation of material loops, recycling infrastructures and plastic recycling concepts;
Prevention and reduction of waste production and pollution;
Introduction of new materials made from renewables, raw or biodegradable materials ;
Economic, political and social transformation:
Awareness raising, knowledge transfer, participation, consulting, coaching as well as change management 

Your next step as an Impact Startup. 

Benefits at a glance

We live New Work: development at eye level.

100% publicly funded - independent and transparent. 

Coaching & trainings worth > 1.500 EUR per person 

12.000 Euro scholarship per person 

Large network and connection to the impact & social economy

Organic veggie lunch from the in-house chef 

Own coworking and community space,  regular startup events

Personal certificate of participation

Shall we travel a bit together?

We will accompany startups like yourself for 6 months with our in-depth program.

Phase 1: Presence 

Month 1-2

Intensive training program,

two workshops per week.

You will receive practical input on 


Business Devolopment
Personality & Mindset 
Impact

Phase 2: Practice

Month 3-4

User testing, cooperations, pilot customers - time to realize your product and get out there. You go proactively into the acquisition, are at events and meet with potential partners.


Regular pitch events & feedback

Peer learning

Networking

Fairs, events, festivals

Phase 3: Perspective

 Month 5-6

Time for reflection and outlook: "What are our plans for the time after the soulincubator?" You discover possibilities for follow-up financing and get clarity about your future 


Closing event, Impact Investment Day

Coachings

Fundraising 

What can we offer you?

A strong community and lots of resources.
Get to know our program modules here.

 Scholarships

You will receive a total of 12,000 euros for your living expenses during the program (2,000 euros per month).

 

...because we know: Berlin is no longer the cheapest place to live.

So you can better concentrate on the essentials: Your startup.

 

We are supported by the European Social Fund (ESF), which finances the program and the scholarships together with the state of Berlin. 

 

Coworking

No startup without a workspace with a community!

With us you get a desk and co. as well as lots of opportunities for exchange.

 

The 400m² coworking space is located in the Berlin headquarters of soulbottles in Berlin-Tempelhof - south and not far from Tempelhofer Feld.

 

*Stage incl. technology, kitchen, balcony, chill areas, storage space, phone booths, sports room and meeting rooms to be more precise ;-)

Lunch

Brainfood for Entrepreneurs: you will receive a free vegetarian or vegan lunch from our in-house chef.

 

Insider Knowledge: One of our chefs is called Kitchen Wizard and we only use organic quality.

 

* Everybody needs some time off - that's why we can't always guarantee a lunch.

Trainings

For the jump into clear water -

Our workshops are practice and impact oriented and are constantly being developed.

 

The training program has been designed based on the founding experiences of soulbottles. It helps you to master the many challenges on the way to a successful social enterprise. This includes topics that are not well represented in other programs, e.g. impact measurement, personal development, ownership of responsibility, non-violent communication and anti-discrimination. 

Events

With us you are not guests, but protagonists:

Pitch your ideas in different settings: Mutual, in front of an audience, experts and investors.

 

In 2020, for example, the soulincubator hosted its own Impact Investment Day (here is a report from last time).

 

We always invite a broad spectrum of potential funding partners - from private angel investors to family offices and large impact funds.

 



Mentoring

Our mentors are experienced founders and will support you on an equal footing with expertise, feedback and networking.

 

Your development partners are also an important interface to further resources. They have themselves contributed creatively to the sustainable growth of a company.

 

Get to know them here:




Our Mentors

Paul Kupfer

Founder and CEO at soulbottles, Founder at suits for good 

Johanna Ebeling

Former COO at soulbottles, Lecturer Entrepreneurship HTW Berlin

Waldemar Zeiler

Founder and CEO at einhorn products

Patrick Boadu

CEO at soulbottles

David Löwe

Founder at Everdrop

Georg Tarne

Founder at soulbottles & core partner at dwarfs and Giants 

Jessica Könnecke 

Founder at Mit Ecken und Kanten 

Heiko Butz

Founder & shareholder at Koawach,
Founder & Managing Director at Diametos 

FAQ

Applying and participating in the soulincubator.

 

1. General

Are there any costs associated with participation?

No, participation in the soulincubator is free of charge



Können wir euch vor unserer  

Can we contact you before our application and clarify further questions?

Yes, you can contact us via the contact form. It is also possible to have a preliminary conversation with the project team in advance of the application to ask questions. 

 


Is the program conducted in German or English?

The program is mainly conducted in English.  However, for administration, documentation and reporting during participation and specific workshops, it is helpful if you have advanced German language skills available in your founding team. We are happy to support international teams, also with visa issues.

 

How many teams are supported in total?

Within a batch of 6 months we support a total of 17 participants. The number of teams per batch depends on the suitability of the applications. We expect 4-8 founding teams. 



 How long does the program last?

The soulincubator is a 6-month intensive program. There is no possibility to extend the scholarship until further notice. 

 

Can we reapply if we have already been rejected once?

Yes, you can reapply for the next batch. 



Are we socially insured during the sponsorship?

No, you are not socially insured through us, as you have a scholarship and not an employment relationship with the soulincubator. You will have to cover the costs for health insurance etc. yourself. 

Can we work in the home office?

Yes and no - as long as the pandemic situation allows it and your project deadlines allow it, you should be present on site at the coworking space every day.


What happens if our team changes during the program?

If your team changes, you have to inform us, the soulincubator team, immediately. If a scholarship holder leaves the program, he/she may be replaced by a new co-founder. 


What can we spend the scholarship on?

The main purpose of the scholarship is to cover your living expenses.

You do not have to provide us with any information or proof of your expenses.

You have to take care of the taxation of your scholarship, your health insurance etc. on your own.

 

FAQ 

2. Applicants

How many members does our startup team need to participate in the soulincubator?  

You need to be at least two founders to participate in the soulincubator*. A maximum of 4 founders can be supported per team.

Our team also includes students and part-timers. Can they also be sponsored?

No, all team members supported by the grant must be working full-time on the project. I.e. students or part-timers in your project cannot be funded.

Non-funded team members can still remain part of your project team and work on it!

Do applicants for the scholarship need a university degree?
No, you do not need a university degree to apply to the soulincubator.

 


How far should our business idea be developed?

To apply for the soulincubator, you usually need a prototype for your business model/product. It is not enough to just have an idea. 

 

One of our startup's team members was previously working commercially as an individual.

Is there anything to consider?

Yes, if one of your team members was commercially active in the closely related field of the startup project before applying. In this case, the date of the business registration** is decisive for the admissibility of the application, even if no formal company foundation took place.





Can we work or freelance during the program?

Your fellowship is to be considered as your main job. You must work on the project for at least 40h/week on average. You may not be enrolled as a student or be employed, even part-time. This does not apply to minor secondary employment (mini-job) and small-scale voluntary or freelance work. 


Can I apply alone?

Yes, you can apply alone.

However, participation is only possible if you find at least one:n co-founder:in time*. 

 


* at the time of the conclusion of the scholarship contract, October 2022 at the latest.

** date on which the trade license was issued.

 

FAQ 

3.Founding, residence & company domicile 

When is our startup/company considered "founded"?

Your startup/company is considered founded for our funding criteria from the date on which the trade license was issued. The date of the notary's office or the date of entry in the commercial register does not apply. 


Is it possible to apply if our startup is already established?

Yes, but your startup must have been founded less than 3 months before we receive your application. No significant revenue should have been generated yet. 

We are already founded, but in a different state than Berlin.

Is this a problem?

Yes, the headquarters of eligible* founded startups/companies must be registered in Berlin during the entire program.

This also means that you may need to relocate the headquarters before the start of the fellowship. 




Do all our team members have to live in Berlin during the program?

At the latest at the beginning of the program, all of your funded team members must live in Berlin. Unfunded team members are not affected by this.

You must provide proof of your primary residence in Berlin early on - alternatively, a residence permit (“Unternehmer:innen visa” is sufficient).

If you have a non-EU passport, you would have to show a residence permit that allows you to work as a self-employed person or entrepreneur in Germany.

 

*3 months deadline, see above

FAQ 

4. Our program & offers

Do you give us feedback on a cancellation?

Unfortunately, we cannot usually provide feedback on your rejection. Due to the volume of applications and the large number of criteria, we are usually unable to provide individual feedback.

However, it is possible to have a preliminary interview with the project team in advance of the application to ask questions. 


Do we also get (corporate) consulting services?

No, you will not receive consulting services in the strict sense. Your coaches, mentors and speakers in the training program are experienced experts who can give you advice and challenge you. The more concrete your concern, challenge or need for help, the better our experts can help you.


Do we get coaching or mentoring?

Every team gets a mentor and has access to a large network of coaches and experienced entrepreneurs as well as numerous other resources.


What does coaching and mentoring mean to you?

For us, coaching and mentoring means helping people to help themselves. You will be personally supported in your challenges through targeted questions and suggestions and will have experienced sparring partners in a coach and mentor.

Do we have to take care of resources like workshops, coachings, etc. ourselves?

Yes and no. You will receive a pre-planned training program in the first phase of the program (month 1-2), a mentor for the entire duration of the program and access to a large pool of experts and networks.

The pre-planned trainings cannot fully cover your individual needs, as all teams are at different stages/situations.

You should continuously inform us about your needs and ask for and acquire the appropriate resources for you through our networks. We will gladly support you in this, establish contacts or suggest people, resources or opportunities.

The initiative comes from you, the costs of suitable offers and the administrative handling we take over as soulincubator.


 

Any questions? Contact us! 

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soulincubator Portfolio


Batch I: April - September 2022

Nights Glow Dark

makes unique light frames from upcycled material with sustainable messages.

wiederfabrik

creating new hobbies and mindsets: upcycling in modular design and educational kits according to Open Circular Design - for children and adults. 

Gooddrop

brings tap water and organizations together. Water dispenser systems with impact measurement for emissions, hydration and consumption costs.

realmatters

transforming the food industry

through its own strategic design approach

conscious living

providing body and skin with care products from few raw materials, sustainably packaged, reusable.

kinderBday

make birthdays sustainable: a platform for perfect gifts and organization without waste.

Burner Helmet

makes cycling safe (and) sustainable: the first bike helmet made from recycled and vegan materials

monocéros

are putting new materials on their feet: ethically produced shoes made from innovative vegan fabrics, on-demand.

soulincubator 2020

kornwerk

regionally produces oat milk in glass bottles

kulero

manufactures edible cutlery for the to-go market

wildplastc

close the materials loop by developing products from collected plastic

circolution

build a pool system for reusable food packaging

pack&satt

vegan organic ready meals packed in reusable deposit jar

merijaan

conquer the waves with the world's first recycled surfboard

mimycri

together with ANKAA produce high-quality bags and backpacks from broken refugee rubber boats

ooohne

cleans dishes 100% vegetable and plastic-free with organic powder dishwashing detergent

zerowasteyour
life

help companies, organizations and events become more sustainable

zero waste berlin festival

the festival for transformative change in everyday life and business 

geco

support the reduction of everyday plastic consumption in a playful way with their app

dressponsible

reduces the consumption and waste of plastics in the fashion industry

tasini

saves 400 plastic bags per reusable bag in Indonesia

calypso

analyzes waste management data in real time and thus educates about waste separation

crafting future

replaces unnecessary single-use packaging with user-friendly reusable products

cyclicdesign

fills cosmetic products such as soap or shower gel into sustainable, innovative containers

unverpackt für alle

create access to unpackaged food and cleaning products for all with a reusable deposit system

projectwings

build a recycling village in Indonesia from plastic waste

wayks

produces modular and sustainably manufactured travel and outdoor equipment

dycle

create a new baby diaper cycle by collecting 100% compostable diapers and converting them into humus

einmal ohne bitte

makes sustainable shopping options visible through its label for waste-free shopping

ocean now

raise awareness of Sustainable Development Goal 14 with art and aim to rebuild the marine ecosystem

replace plastic app

feedback manufacturers' desire for plastic-free packaging by scanning product barcodes

letzte werbung

rid German mailboxes of unwanted advertising mail

holypoly

rethink the use of plastics in products and close value-added loops

circulate

facilitates decentralized recycling of plastics through collection and processing at the source of material flows

foldie

offers an alternative to disposable containers for the take-away sector

smartwod

develops sythestic wood to relieve the global forests

 Quotes

Jan • Crafting Future GmbH

“For us, it was fulfilling to see so many different projects with the same vision. That really sets soulincubator apart from others. In the purpose-driven network, we have found an incredible amount of support. Everyone helps each other as they all share the same vision. Thank you so much for everything!"

Coral • Zero Waste Berlin 


"Being a part of soulincubator has helped us to develop our project, not only with the financial support, but also through the network we could access. Being able to connect with a wide network of impact entrepreneurs* is what makes the Zero Waste Berlin Festival possible..."

Felix  • Foldie 

"The workshops were great. The incubator and soulbottles were totally cordial and it was fun to be there. A great community and very good help for budding and existing startups."

Marc • Project Wings

"The soulincubator has managed to connect many initiatives in a meaningful way in a very short period of time and provide a lot of added value to all participants. Especially the scholarship and the investor pitch were excellent."

Jan • ooohne

"For us, the soulincubator is start-up assistance, a network and, above all, a whole lot of resources that we can fall back on. Without the soulincubator, we would never be as far along as we are today."

Founding with soul

A project from soulbottles

The idea behind soulbottles is to motivate people to behave in a more sustainable way
and to produce all products as ecologically and socially compatible as possible.
With a soulbottle you can avoid a lot of waste - and make sure that there is more swimming in our oceans than just plastic.


 

With the soulincubator we support social entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and diverse solutions, to network with each other,
increase their impact and thus contribute to social change. 

Our Partners

Our main partner in terms of Open Social Innovation - has been specializing for years in organizing actions on major challenges and supporting founders in the best possible way.

A foundation that emerged from the Röchling company with the goal of advancing "a responsible and environmentally friendly use of plastics". The Röchling Foundation supports us particularly with its network and expertise.

The European Social Fund is the European Union's most important labor market policy instrument for promoting employment and social integration of its citizens in Europe. The ESF and the state of Berlin provide financial support for the soulincubator.
 

 

Our program takes place within the framework of priority axis A of the ESF: Sustainable and Quality Employment:

Workers, companies and the self-employed are better qualified for the rapidly changing labor market through ESF-funded projects in this area. In particular, women are supported in achieving professional equality. In order for innovative company foundations and startups to sustainably establish themselves on the market, female and male founders of new businesses receive support for their entrepreneurial skills.


The soulincubator is part of funding instrument 5: Promotion of innovative start-ups:

We support founders with a technology-based start-up concept, provided that the prototype or prototype-like process already developed requires further constructive development in order to realize market entry. 

We are part of Circular Futures

ProjectTogether is a pioneer for social progress. With their Open Social Innovation approach, they solve problems bottom-up, combining the wealth of ideas of civil society with the implementation power of institutions and companies. This approach also underlies the new innovation program on the Circular Economy: Circular Futures. Together, we are designing a social test bed to bring circular solutions to implementation. 

Become a partner of the soulincubator

Get in touch!

We will get back to you!

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Adress

soulincubator
C/o soulbottles

Volkmarstraße 1-7

12099 Berlin

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