Support for start-ups that contribute to a green economy
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IMPACT of sustainability-oriented start-up support

The project IMPACT will develop a model to assess and improve the holistic impact of a start-up support programme. A holistic impact model is particularly useful for innovative funding approaches. Thus tax and funding resources can be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Green start-ups have more difficulties in raising capital than non-green ones (see Green Startup Monitor 2018). At the same time, they are particularly attractive high potentials who can develop a great deal of potential in terms of both economic factors and environmental impact.

In view of the necessary transformation towards a sustainable economic system, the promotion of these innovative start-ups is therefore of great importance both in terms of environmental and economic policy.

Innovative approaches to recording and monitoring start-up support programmes

With the Green Start-up Special Programme, the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) is for the first time in Germany setting up a national funding programme that specifically supports those start-ups that contribute to a green economy. The DBU has the following requirements for funded projects:

  • They should achieve sustainable effects in practice,
  • giving impulses and
  • develop a multiplier effect.

However, there is no suitable impact model for funding activities with these criteria. Such a model would be of great benefit, however, especially for innovative funding approaches such as the DBU’s Green Start-up Special Programme. To date, there is a lack of important, reliable findings on how the holistic effect of a start-up support programme can be systematically recorded and maximised in terms of the best possible use of public funds.

The project strengthens the transformation to a sustainable economy and supports the achievement of the objectives of the Energy system transformation, the Climate Protection Plan 2050 and other sustainability policy objectives in Germany.

In addition, the IMPACT project improves the possibility for start-up support actors, such as the DBU, to monitor and control the achievement of the above-mentioned self-imposed goal.


To date, there is a lack of analysis on the long-term impact of start-up support programmes on the economy, society and the environment. The IMPACT Guide: Moving from evaluation to impact management of start-up support programmes offers start-up supporters, programme managers and accompanying research impulses, orientation and approaches to assess and manage the long-term impact of start-up support programmes.

The Impact Guide and supplementary material are available for download free of charge: