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Welcome to the International Startup Office
at Leipzig University!

Symbolbild Team High Five Image by Freepik

We support and empower international students and researchers who aspire to create startups or become self-employed in Germany.

Situated within the vibrant and innovative ecosystem of Leipzig, the International Startup Office (ISO) is a special unit of the SMILE Gründungsinitiative at Leipzig University. It was created as part of the International Startup Campus project, which aims to foster entrepreneurship and support startup development.
Our office acts as a central hub for international students and researchers from diverse backgrounds who aspire to launch startups or pursue self-employment opportunities in Leipzig.
We are here to provide you with support, guidance, and a nurturing environment, helping you transform your innovative ideas into reality!

Augustusplatz Leipzig mit City-Campus Universität Leipzig, Urheber:in: Abenteuer Albanien auf Unspash

Our offer

Whether you have a business idea or are looking to join an existing startup team, we offer a range of services to support you at every stage of your entrepreneurial journey.

Offer of the International Startup Office
Symbolbild Workshop. Urheber:in: Parabol | The Agile Meeting Toolbox on Unsplash

Workshops & Seminars

Twice a year, we provide the „Business Ideation Bootcamp,“ a two-day training program designed to help you refine and perfect your business idea. Additionally, we offer regular workshops on various topics tailored to your needs, such as visa requirements, legal aspects, self-employment, business model canvas, funding opportunities and many more.

Coaching for Teams & Solo Entrepreneurs

We provide personalized guidance to assist you in developing your business model, crafting your business plan, and seeking initial financing. Our coaching services are divided into three phases:

  1. From business idea to business model.
  2. Prototype development and market testing.
  3. Finalizing the business plan, pitching, and securing initial capital.

Additionally, we offer support in identifying funding opportunities and preparing grant proposals, including programs such as EXIST, InnoStartBonus, and more.

Cosching at ISO. Urheber:in: SMILE/Universität Leipzig
Symbolbild Co-Founder. Ur-Heber: Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Co-founders Matching

Are you in search of the perfect co-founders to enhance your team? Or are you eager to join a dynamic startup venture? Our co-founder matchmaking service connects you with talented students, graduates, and researchers from Leipzig University, who come from diverse professional backgrounds. Strengthen your team with the right talents and embark on your entrepreneurial journey with confidence.

International founders Meetup

Discover inspiring stories in our expert talks featuring established international founders. Here, you will gain valuable insights, get inspired, and learn from those who have successfully launched their businesses or become self-employed in Germany.

Symbolbild ISO Founder Meetup. Urheber:in: Antenna on Unsplash

Born Global Startup Festival

Join us at our annual festival, where aspiring international entrepreneurs and researchers gather to kickstart their businesses in Central Germany. Experience captivating talks by international founders, participate in interactive workshops, and immerse yourself in a vibrant hub of knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities. Here, we embrace and celebrate the international community in the region!

Leipziger Gründungsnacht (Leipzig Founders Night)

The Leipzig startup scene celebrates and awards prizes to the most successful ideas and startups in four categories :

  • Idea (audience award with live voting)
  • StartUp (jury award)
  • Ten Years After (nomination award)
  • Lifetime achievement (nomination award)

English speaking submissions are welcome. More information at: https://www.leipziger-gruendungsnacht.de/idea-competition-en/

Logo Leipziger Gründungsnacht 2023


Embark on the exciting journey of starting your business in Germany. Contact us to take the first step.

Jazmín Ponce
0341 97-33765


Christian Hauke
0341 97-33754

Coming next

  • Individual consultation
    Every Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. SMILE. start-up consultation at „Leibnizladen” (Academic Lab) on the university’s central campus (Universitätsstraße 1, 04109 Leipzig). No prior booking is needed.
  • Competition
    25 September 2023 Deadline for submissions to the idea competition at the Leipziger Gründungsnacht
  • Event
    14 November 2023 Leipziger Gründungsnacht Final Event


Cover page How to start a Business in Germany

How to start a business in Germany

A 53-page PDF Guide (4.7 MB)

Download for free.

Success Stories

Real Surgical Training Technologies GmbH

Luis Bernal, Founder & CEO
Leipzig University, SEPT MBA 2003-2005

Realspine is a global operating surgical training provider that offers high-class solutions in the area of spine surgery. Its training systems are visually and haptically highly realistic. Together with its scientifically based training concept, they form a perfect unit and make every training session a successful learning experience.

Web: https://www.realists.de

Logo RSST GmbH
Logo Remoteplatz

Remoteplatz GmbH

Mohamed Hawass, Founder & CEO
Leipzig University, SEPT MBA 2011-2013

Remoteplatz helps companies build their teams from the ground up or expand their local tech teams with top-notch remote developers. It provides companies with the best remote developers and engineers, who are pre-vetted for their technical expertise and handpicked to fit each company’s culture.

Web: https://remoteplatz.de


Luana Cristina dos Santos Held, Founder & CEO
Leipzig University, Internationalen Trainerkurs 2010-2011

Brasilheroe is a family-owned business that combines Brazilian and German influences. They specialize in crafting premium beanbags using traditional methods, within their own family-operated factory in São Paulo, Brazil. With a rich heritage spanning more than three decades, their products are handmade, ecological, and sustainable.

Web: https://shop.brasilheroe.com

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Logo Trade Africa


Edwin Adjei, Founder and CEO
Leipzig University, SEPT MBA 2017-2019

TradeAfrika is an international business consulting, e-commerce trade, and logistics firm that aims to connect German and African companies for sustainable international trade. TradeAfrika provides African and German businesses with equal opportunities to engage in B2B and B2C trading, regardless of their business size or location, through their sales platform.

Web: https://tradeafrika.de