Austria’s new pilot region for GREEN startups

With six million euros, Upper Styria will become the “Green Startupmark” and thus Austria’s pilot region for green startups.
Launch of the Green Startupmark on 24 November 2023 in Kapfenberg (from left): Helmut Antrekowitsch (Vice-Rector for Research and Sustainability at the University of Leoben), Kurt Wallner (Mayor of Leoben), Barbara Eibinger-Miedl (State Councillor for Economics and Science), Friedrich Kratzer (Mayor of Kapfenberg), Martin Payer (Commercial Director of FH JOANNEUM). Photo: FH JOANNEUM/Seidl

With six million euros, Upper Styria will become the “Green Startupmark” and thus Austria’s pilot region for green startups. Pupils, students and researchers will receive financial and technical support on the path to their sustainable business. With five strong “pillars”, green startups are supported in their growth and regional companies in their green transformation. Submissions for the first round are possible from now until 15 February 2024. 

When it comes to green tech start-ups, the young companies in Styria are at the top of the list throughout Austria. This makes it all the more important to raise and promote this know-how, this inventive spirit, this motivation for sustainable entrepreneurship and to bring it to market maturity through expertise and scientific and economic cooperation. This is why the Centre for Applied Technology (ZAT), the Montanuniversität Leoben and the Centre for IT Start-ups KAIT (at the FH Joanneum in Kapfenberg), together with the province of Styria and Green Tech Valley, have now launched Austria’s pilot region for green start-ups – the “Green Startupmark”.

The new, strong network for young entrepreneurs focussing on green tech will be bundled in the “Startupmark” area of strength of the Styrian Business Promotion Agency SFG. There is strong support from the state, with six million euros being made available from the Just Transition Funds (JTF), which the EU has proclaimed as part of the Green Deal.

Up to 3,500 euros for a green business plan – submit by 15 February!

The starting signal was given today in Kapfenberg with the so-called “Startup Combo”. In addition to scientific and economic expertise, this also offers financial support for pupils, students and researchers. Depending on their progress and scientific maturity, participants not only receive comprehensive advice, but also 1,500 to 3,500 euros in “start-up funding” for their green start-ups or research concepts.

The programme was launched this afternoon. The “Startup Combo” gives pupils, students and researchers the opportunity to combine their final thesis with a green business plan and receive financial support for it. This promotes entrepreneurial spirit and start-ups. They receive intensive support from ZAT Leoben (Centre for Applied Technology) and Green KAIT Kapfenberg (Kapfenberg Accelerator & Incubator for Green IT) in the development of their green start-up concepts through mentoring and various workshops.

Submission is possible from now until 15 February 2024 at


  • Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, Provincial Councillor for Economic Affairs: “With the Startupmark, we have been bundling the numerous domestic players in the startup scene for two years and thus specifically supporting innovative startups. The area of green technologies in particular offers enormous potential for Styria, which we want to utilise accordingly with the new Green Startupmark – for more sustainability and new jobs in the region!”
  • Helmut Antrekowitsch, Vice Rector for Research and Sustainability, Montan University: “Montanuniversität Leoben recognises the great potential of the Green Startupmark project, which makes a decisive contribution to promoting green technology startups. Our role in the Green Incubator demonstrates our commitment to technology transfer from university to industry. This project emphasises our goal of shaping a sustainable future and strengthening the innovation ecosystem in Styria together. We are convinced that the Green Startupmark will have a significant impact on the transformation of our economy towards sustainable technologies.”    
  • Martin Payer, Managing Director of FH JOANNEUM: “We are delighted that the ‘Green Startupmark’ is being launched today at FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg and that our successful IT start-up centre KAIT will be an important pillar in this pilot region. As an application-oriented university with day-to-day cooperation and networking in the regional economy, we are expanding our start-up centre in the direction of GreenKAIT in order to be able to inspire green ideas from pupils, students, researchers and interested parties even better in the future.”        
  • Bernhard Puttinger, Cluster Managing Director of Green Tech Valley: “Climate protection and the circular economy need quickly realisable solutions. With Green Startupmark, young talents in the region are accompanied on the way to their start-ups and companies are supported in their green transformation through collaborations and spin-offs.”
  • Sonja Gögele, Head of FH JOANNEUM: “This EU project is essential to further develop the existing start-up centre KAIT at FH JOANNEUM in Kapfenberg with its focus on IT & women in the direction of sustainability. Pupils, students, researchers, but also generally interested people with realisation or start-up ideas are supported at various levels of development.”            
  • Remo Taferner, Managing Director of ZAT: “As a start-up centre in Leoben, we are delighted to be able to promote green high-tech ideas in Upper Styria. Together with our partners, we have developed a comprehensive programme to provide optimal support for green business ideas. With the “Startup Combo” and “Green Incubees” programmes, we support young talents and startups to create sustainable added value in the region.”
    Friedrich Kratzer, Mayor of Kapfenberg: “Young people with innovative ideas are the gold of the future.”
    Kurt Wallner, Mayor of Leoben: “With this initiative, we are rethinking Upper Styria together and supporting green ideas.”


Veronika Pranger
Green Tech Valley – Communication

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