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Becoming a successful female start-up incubator with the EXIST start-up grant

Only around 20 percent of start-ups in Germany are founded by women or with female participation in the team. The start-up world is still heavily dominated by men. To change this, Claire Siegert and Victoria Arnhold founded “Businettes ” in 2019, a startup incubator specifically for women. Although the two founders live in Munich and Paris and studied in Berlin, their success story began in Hof in Upper Franconia. Since its foundation five years ago, the startup has developed into a successful company and Claire Siegert has become an inspiring and encouraging role model for other women entrepreneurs.

Claire Siegert, co-founder of Businettes; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Visiting the High Franconian start-up ecosystem last week, Siegert reported on her success story at an evening event at Einstein1 and passed on her knowledge in a workshop for female founders. “The fact that women are severely underrepresented in the business world is an old shoe, but it’s no less problematic because a lot of potential is lost as a result,” says Siegert.

“I’ve experienced this several times in my own environment, that women don’t have the confidence to start a business and many good ideas come to nothing and are never implemented. We wanted to change that.”

Claire Siegert, founder

Businettes is a digital hub that offers women interested in starting a business a protected environment and a platform to find each other, learn from each other and support each other. The platform offers many tools, including pitch training, a free incubator program, a kind of accompanying guide to founding or modules for personal development. The team of six regularly organizes events and workshops throughout Germany and works together with large companies such as Dell, LinkedIn, Lexware and Techniker Krankenkasse. The Businettes community now comprises more than 1,000 women.

The project was also launched in 2019 with the support of Hof University of Applied Sciences. Claire Siegert and her co-founder Victoria Arnhold found their mentor and supporter for the EXIST start-up grant in Professor Michael Seidel, who teaches entrepreneurship at Hof – after being rejected by their own university. EXIST offers founders one year of financial and professional support. Claire and Victoria used this to further develop their idea and ultimately found their company.

Full rows at the talk with Claire Siegert: The 33-year-old from Munich founded her Startupab in 2019 with the support of Hof University of Applied Sciences. Image: Einstein1;

The positive response to the evening event at the Einstein1 digital start-up center shows that the topic of female entrepreneurship also concerns many women in the region. More than 60 interested participants, predominantly women, attended. The event took place as part of the “meet & eat” event series, which is organized by the StartUpLab at Hof University of Applied Sciences and this time – like the start-up workshop – was supported by a broad regional alliance: These include the economic development agencies of the district and the city of Hof, as well as the digital start-up center Einstein1 and the women’s network Frauen.Stärken.Hof.

Claire Siegert in conversation with moderator and Startuplab employee Camilla Lenz. Image: Einstein1;
In addition to the evening event, there was also a workshop for female founders. Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;
Jörg Raithel

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