Do you have an innovative business idea? Are you a recent graduate or do you have significant research and/or work experience?

Innofounder is a programme that lasts 12 months with the aim to accelerate the development of your innovative business idea from early stages to the stage where you are ready to go to market or gain investment. The programme is open to any field of expertise as long as the idea is innovative and has potential to become a sustainable business. 

The idea must be in its early phases of development

Innofounder finances the establishment and development of your business in its early phases. Your business idea must be in the early phases with extensive development remaining before the product, service or technology is complete and the business model in place. However, preliminary test sales may have taken place. It further entails that no major external funding has been obtained for the business idea and the forthcoming development.

We have requirements

We do not take any shares in your business nor require repayment of the funding – but we do require your full dedication.  Further, the idea must be innovative, have business potential, and it must be likely that the idea can be implemented and sustained after the programme has finalised.

Innofounder Experienced ceases
As part of the implementation of the Innovation Fund's new strategy, a new startup program will be published in the Innovation Fund.

This means that you can no longer apply for Innofounder Experienced.

We expect to announce the new startup program during the spring of 2021, and expect to have the application deadline in late summer or early fall 2021.

Innofounder Graduate Innofounder Graduate i-f 1189
Innofounder Graduate
What is Innofounder Graduate?

Are you a recent graduate and do you have an innovative business idea with a potential for development? Is the idea still in its early phases and is it facing significant development? In that case, Innofounder may be of interest to you.

Innofounder is a programme for founders with an innovative business idea in its early phase. There must be a significant amount of development of the idea and its commercialisation outstanding. This means that an Innofounder course may include test sales and customer dialogue as input to the development process, but that the primary focus of the course should not be activities related to sales, marketing and scaling. Innofounder aims to reduce the risk in the early stages until the idea is ready for the market or to obtain further investment.

The Innofounder programme lasts 12 months and you are required to work full time on the business idea in that period. During the programme, you will have access to consultations and funding that can accelerate the development of your innovative business idea.

Who can apply?

You are qualified to join Innofounder if:

  • You have graduated with a public tertiary degree, a PhD degree or accredited private degree (i.e. a degree carrying entitlement to a Danish student grant) no longer than 24 months ago, counted from the date of graduation to the application deadline.
  • You are a student of such a degree, graduating no later than the start date of the Innofounder course for which you apply.

You can apply individually or in a team of up to 3 founders. 

Definition of ’Higher Education’:
These include academy profession degrees, professional bachelor’s degrees, bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees from a university college, business academy, maritime educational institution, institution in art and architecture, university or similar. Adult higher education is not included in the programme.

For Danish citizens and EU/EEA citizens it applies that the education can be achieved from a Danish institution or from a foreign institution at an equivalent level to the Danish educations listed above.

What kind of business ideas can I apply with?

There are no restrictions on what kind of ideas we support, as long as the idea is innovative and scalable. The idea can be within any subject area. In addition, the entrepreneurial idea must include, among other things, the knowledge and skills that you have acquired through your education.

See the evaluation criteria under item. 4 in the guidelines, which you can download below.

Your business idea must be in the early phases with extensive development remaining before the product, service or technology is complete and the business model in place. Hence, Innofounder does not fund companies that are ready to go to market and primarily face sales, marketing and scaling.

There must not already be significant revenue based on the idea. Preliminary test sales may, however, have taken place. It further entails that no major external funding has been obtained for the business idea and the forthcoming development.

However, the business idea should be beyond the idea stage. This could e.g. entail that a structured dialogue with potential customers/users has taken place, or an existing prototype has been developed to ensure that the Innofounder programme has a foundation to build on.

What do I get?
  • Innofounder Graduate offers:

  • Monthly funding of DKK 15,000 per Innofounder in the team.
  • Special funding of DKK 50,000 to support the development of your business idea.

You can apply as an individual or in a team of up to three Innofounders.

Additionally, we offer:

  • The opportunity to get a seat in an inspiring co-working space in either Aalborg, Aarhus, Sønderborg, Odense or Copenhagen.
  • An experienced mentor who will follow your team throughout the programme.
  • A series of workshops featuring several Danish and international experts.
  • Access to investors and other key figures in the Danish and international entrepreneurial community.
How is the programme structured?

The Innofounder programme is based on creative problem solving. The first six months we focus on you designing “the right thing” – by understanding your users and the value you create for them. The last six months will focus on designing “the thing right” - or how your product/service and your business model will hit the spot.

Throughout the programme you will meet with your mentor every second week and participate in workshops approximately every second month. The programme will end with a demo day where you will have the opportunity to pitch in front of investors, potential partners etc.  


Co-working spaces

How often should I be in Copenhagen?
Approximately once a month there will be mandatory workshops in Copenhagen. Further, we require that you meet with your mentor - who will be located in one of the four largest cities - at least every two weeks. You are responsible for your own food and accommodation in connection with trips to mentoring meetings and workshops in Copenhagen.

We offer our Innofounders access to co-working spaces in Denmark's largest cities.


INCUBA has strong collaborational ties to the research community and healthcare sector. INCUBA has its own StartupLab which is an accelerator that houses many former Founders.


StartupWorks is an incubator environment for ambitious startups with global ambitions. To increase their possibilities for succes, the residents share knowledge, experience, ideas, motivation and resources.


Sønderborg Entrepreneur Service is a vibrant, knowledge sharing and dynamic environment for entrepreneurs and startups offering counseling, courses, professional advice, Network- and Pitch Cafe, workshops & workspace.


BLOXHUB Startup Campus is an integrated part of BLOXHUB, providing the startups access to an interdisciplinary innovation environment consisting of startups, SME’s, public organizations as well as large enterprises


SDU Entrepreneurship Labs is the name of the central interdisciplinary incubator of SDU.
In the accurate moment the incubator hosts 128 different startups, most based in Odense and the rest spread with approximately 5-15 startups across our different campus cities in Slagelse, Esbjerg, Kolding and Sønderborg.


DTU Skylab is the innovation hub located at Lyngby Campus at DTU, Technical University of Denmark. At DTU Skylab you will find prototype workshops, meeting rooms, work stations, event room, lounge and kitchen.


Coworking map

When can I apply?

Innofounder Graduate opens for applications on March 16, 2021 and the deadline is April 13, 2021.

Who will be my mentor?


Christian Vinther
Investor Relation Manager, DanBAN
Linkedin Twitter

Christoffer H. Malling
Programme Director, The Danish Design Centre, former Managing Director, #CPHFTW
Linkedin Twitter

JanJan Krog Henningsen
Ventures Development & Operations Lead, CIID, Manager, CIID Nest
Linkedin Twitter

Jannie Friis Kristensen
Director Headfitted, UX design specialist

John Lynch

Founder & Director, Context Studio

Lars Thøgersen
Serial Entrepreneur and Consultant

Martin Klee

Thomas Riisgaard Hansen

PhD; CEO, Kite Invent
Linkedin Twitter

Tim Washington
Business Consultant & Mentor

Tommy Dejbjerg Pedersen
VP Developer Evangelism


Aja Guldhammer Henderson, CEO, Reshopper
Linkedin Twitter

Alexander Horten, Investment Manager, PreSeed Ventures

Aurore Belfrage, Angel investor; Co-founder, EQT Ventures
Linkedin Twitter Medium

Camilla Ley Valentin, Co-founder & CCO, Queue-it
Linkedin Twitter

Christian Lund, Co-founder & CPO, Templafy

Ekaterina Gianelli, Investment Director, Inventure
Linkedin Twitter Medium

Eric Lagier, Managing Partner, byFounders; Co-founder, MemoLane; Mentor, 500 Startups; Advisor, Denmark Bridge
Linkedin Twitter Medium

Frederik Sandgrav, Direktør, Sandgrav Solutions
Linkedin Twitter

Jakob Svagin, Startup Advisor, DTU Skylab
Linkedin Twitter

Janne Aagaard, Communicator & founder of, MJ
Linkedin Twitter

Jesper Theil Thomsen, Co-founder & CEO, SOUNDBOKS

Jonas Bøgh Larsen, Co-founder & CEO,
Linkedin Twitter

Jonas Gyalokay, Co-founder & CEO, Airtame
Linkedin Twitter Medium

Kirsten Drejer, Co-founder & CEO, Symphogen

Line Rix, CEO, Kit Couture; Partner & Board Member, 1508
Linkedin Twitter

Mattias Vilhelm Warnøe Nielsen, Lawyer, Partner, Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen

Martin Von Haller, Legal advisor on IT related issues, Partner; Bird & Bird
Linkedin Twitter

Michael Bak, Managing Director, #CPHFTW
Linkedin Twitter

Mikkel Marius Winther, Head of Consumer Strategy & Marketing, Labster
Linkedin Twitter

Morten Krarup Kristensen, Entrepreneur; Partner, Prehype
Linkedin Twitter

Nicolaj Højer Nielsen, Investor, entrepreneur, author of The Startup Funding Book
Linkedin Twitter

Rasmus Bjerngaard, Entrepreneur & investor; Co-founder & CEO,
Linkedin Twitter Medium

Sasja Dalgaard, Investment banker; Partner, Tofte & Company

Sean Percival, Entrepreneur & investor; Operating Partner, Katapult Accelerator
Linkedin Twitter

Simon Herzog, Maker, designer & consultant, CIID
Linkedin Twitter

Simon Sylvest, Co-founder, Founders
Linkedin Twitter

Steve Bishop, Entrepreneur & advisor; Founder, Posit Design

Stiven S. Kerestegian, Head of Innovation & Strategy, CIID
Linkedin Twitter

Theis Søndergaard, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Vivino
Linkedin Twitter

Tommy Andersen, Managing Partner, byFounders; Business Angel; Co-founder & former CEO, Libratone, Embedit & TechPeople

Tommy Otzen, CEO & Co-founder, KUBO Robot 
Linkedin Twitter

Who's behind Innofounder Graduate?

Head of Partnerships

Christoffer H. Malling
Programme Director, The Danish Design Centre, former Managing Director, #CPHFTW
Linkedin Twitter

Head of Mentoring

JanJan Krog Henningsen
Ventures Development & Operations Lead, CIID, Manager, CIID Nest
Linkedin Twitter

Head of Programme

Sidsel Hougaard
Head of Programme, Innovation Fund Denmark

Head of Incubator

Mia Steentoft
Programme Manager, The Danish Design Centre

Collaborate partners

Danish Design Centre

As Denmark's national design center, it is DDC’s mission to promote the use of design in business and industry as well as underpinning and professionalizing the design industry.

How do I apply?

When we open for applications, you will be able to:

  1. Click on “Apply” on the top left corner of the page. Choose the program you’re applying for.
  2. Click on ”Apply” in the bottom right corner.

The button redirects you to our application system, where you can fill out the application form.

Describing the business idea:

The scope of the description of the business idea is apparent in the application form in which you, among others, must address the following points:

  • Problem and solution: What problem, need or desire does the users have? What is the solution? How and why does it work? And what makes the solution Innovative? (max. 1000 characters)
  • Value creation: What value does the solution bring to society e.g. in terms of solving societal challenges, creating growth and employment etc.? Provide concrete quantitative and/or qualitative goals for the value creation to the extent that it is possible (max. 500 characters)
  • History and status: When and how did this idea first emerge? Include a description of your role in the birth and the development of the idea. How far have you come in realising your idea, and what do you see as the greatest challenges to realising it – short and long-term?  (max. 500 characters)
  • Development: Which development tasks must be solved during the Innofounder programme? Describe as concretely as possible the development tasks still to be solved. Where are you at when the programme ends? How can the investment from Innofounder contribute towards boosting the development and the financing the company further needs? (max.1000 characters).
  • Users, market and competition: Who are the customers/users, and how do they like the idea? How have you investigated if there are users and a market for the idea? What is the size and potential of the market? Who are your competitors and how do you differentiate from them? What does the competitive situation mean for your chances to gain market shares? How will you safeguard yourself against others copying the solution? (max. 1500 characters)
  • Business model: How is it possible to earn money on the idea and establish a sustainable business that can ensure expansion of the solution? Please describe below your expected business model, cost structure, pricing and how you expect to roll out the solution in the market (max. 1000 characters)
  • Team and execution: What are your or the team’s competences (e.g. professional and entrepreneurial competences) for implementing the idea? How does the idea build on the team’s collective professional experience and knowledge? Describe how the diversity of the team will help to execute the idea. Please state to what extent the additional team will be affiliated during the Innofounder programme in executing the idea (e.g. state the number of hours per week). In which fields do you or the team lack competences for handling future challenges, and how will you act on this? (max.1500 characters)

Additionally, Graduate-applicants must attach the following:

  • Diploma from your higher education (if you have graduated)
  • Printout of grades and documentation of expected graduation date (if you have not yet graduated).
Graduate – FAQ

Can I apply?

Who can apply to join Innofounder Graduate?
You can apply to become an Innofounder if you have graduated no longer than 24 months before the application deadline with a public tertiary degree, a pHd degree or an accredited private degree (i.e. a degree carrying entitlement to a Danish student grant). 

For Danish citizens and EU/EEA citizens it applies that the education can be achieved from a Danish institution or from a foreign institution at an equivalent level to the Danish educations listed above.

I’m still a student. Can I apply?
You can apply if you are a student and will graduate no later than the starting date of the Innofounder course which you are applying for.

I’m a foreign citizen. Can I apply?
Foreign citizens may apply for admission to the programme insofar as the relevant authorisations and registrations are obtained. However, foreign citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA must have obtained their degree at a Danish educational institution to apply for admission to the programme. 

Foreign citizens from countries outside the EU/EEA must, insofar as they are admitted to the programme, apply for a special start-up visa to obtain permission to create self-employed activities in Denmark.


For more details, see point 2.7 in the guidelines.

I’m studying an HD. Can I apply?
No. InnoFounder targets graduates from tertiary degrees.

I meet the requirements for applying, but I’m going to continue studying. Can I apply anyway?
Yes – but only if you will be able to work at least 37 hours per week on InnoFounder. This means that a full-time study is not possible.

I graduated more than 24 months ago but have been on maternity leave. Can I apply?
Yes. The time you spent on maternity leave does not count and can be subtracted from the 24 months.

I haven’t received my graduation certificate yet. What do I do?
If you haven’t received your certificate yet, you can attach another kind of documentation that you have finished or will soon finish your studies, e.g. a preliminary approval, an overview of your ECTS points so far or a written statement from your study administration.

At what stage should my innovative business idea be?
Your business idea must be in the early phases with extensive development remaining before the product, service or technology is complete and the business model in place. This entails that there must not already be a significant revenue based on the idea. Preliminary test sales may, however, have taken place. It further entails that no major external funding has been obtained for the business idea and the forthcoming development.

On the other hand, accepted ideas must typically have reached a certain level of maturity and been through initial tests, have a developed proof-of-concept or an early prototype so the Innofounder programme is built on a solid basis.

If a company is already established, it must be a new company primarily based on the innovative business idea and without any other products on the market. For further information, read the assessment criteria in Section 4 in the guidelines.

Is InnoFounder aimed at certain types of businesses?
No, there is no limit on what types of ideas we invest in as long as the idea is innovative and has the potential to become a sustainable business. See the assessment criteria in Section 4 in the guidelines.

I have already established my company. Can I apply?
Yes, you can apply although your company is CVR-registered. However, your company must still be in its early phases, and the CVR number cannot be older than 3 years. If your company is already established, you must be the founder and hold the majority of the ownership.

Should the application be written in Danish or English?
That is your call.  Danish and English versions of the application form are available.

The Programme

Can I join even though I live far from Copenhagen?
Yes. You will, however, be required to travel to meet your mentor (who will be located in one of Denmark’s four biggest cities) at least every second week and be required to travel to Copenhagen approximately once a month for workshops.

How often do I have to travel to Copenhagen?
At a minimum once a month, depending on where your mentor lives. You will be responsible for arranging food and lodging for yourself.

How much of my time does the Innofounder course take up?
InnoFounder is a full-time occupation. Participating in the InnoFounder program requires you to be able to work full-time (37 hours per week) on your startup during the 12 months of the program.

What if I am going on vacation?

Vacations are in accordance with the Annual Vacation Act (up to 25 days a year). Vacation can not collide with any InnoFounder activities.

Is attendance to InnoFounder activities (workshops, mentor meetings) mandatory?
Yes. If you are admitted, being an Innofounder is your job. You must attend all InnoFounder activities, and do so with curiosity, willingness to learn and contribute, and in general with a positive attitude.

Will the programme be in English or Danish?
All communication from Innofounder Graduate, including all workshops and masterclasses, is in English.

Will I meet investors?
Yes. Many of our domain experts who you will meet at the monthly workshops are investors. You will also meet investors at both the mini demo day and at the demo day. On top of this, your mentor will introduce you to the InnoFounder network of significant local business angels and local as well as international VCs.


If we apply as a team, will all of us get the monthly salary and the special grant?
Yes, you will each get both the monthly salary of DKK 15,000 and the special grant of DKK 50,000.

What can I spend the monthly salary of DKK 15,000 on?
The salary is for covering your living expenses. Consider it as you would a normal salary.

What can I spend the Special Grant of DKK 50,000 on?
The special grant can be spent on buying services, materials and transport relevant to developing your business idea. However, it cannot be spend on goods such as computers, phones, food and so on. You will need to account for how you spend the special grant. See the guidelines point 6.1.

Am I allowed to earn money on top of the funding I get from Innofounder?
Yes you are allowed to make money on top of your Innofounder grant. As an Innofounder you must work full-time on your business idea throughout the programme (a minimum of 37 hours per week within normal work hours). Therefore, you must not have any other significant employment during the course of the Innofounder. For more details, see point 2.6 in the guidelines. 

Do I pay taxes of the money I get from Innofounder?
The monthly salary must be reported as B-income.

The grant can be paid either to you as a private person or to your company. Grants paid to you as a person can cover VAT-expenses and is reported to SKAT as taxable B income through your CPR number. Grants paid to your company cannot cover VAT-expenses and is reported to SKAT through your company’s CVR number.

Applying as a team

Can my startup apply as a team?
You can apply as a team of up to three people.

We are a team of three, and two of us are foreigners studying in Denmark. Can we all apply?
Yes, foreigners with a Danish education are welcome to apply, and you can apply in a team of up to three people. Be aware that non-European citizens need to apply for a special residence and work permit for entrepreneurs in Denmark.

We are a team of three people but only one of us meets the requirements for the application. Can we apply as a team?
No, if you want to apply as a team you must all live up to the qualifications. However, the one from your team who meets the requirements is very welcome to apply on behalf of the team and the team’s business idea.

Can my non-InnoFounder team members join meeting, workshops, the co-working space etc?
You are very welcome to bring your team member(s) to workshops and meetings. You team member(s) must pay for their spot at the co-working space but we have negotiated some very favorable prices.


Only regarding Innofounder Graduate


Tel. +45 3369 3369

Office Hours: 9-12 on weekdays.

(For questions about Innofounder Experienced, see below)