Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What is Investment Ready Program? What makes it unique?

The Investment Ready Program is a 4-month intensive program for impact ventures with a scalable, (proof-of-concept) solution for societal issues. It’s unique for its:

  1. pure impact focus: you will be part of a selected group of impact ventures, and supported by impact-minded experts and investors.
  2. global network: through our network we help you get access to markets around the globe.
  3. customised support: the program is designed for proof of concept stage ventures and offers personalised support.

What do you mean with "proof of concept" stage "impact ventures"?

With proof-of-concept we mean enterprises that are a little beyond start-up phase. This means that the technology, product or solution that you are developing has proven to be (technically) feasible and at least initial market validation (price testing, customer development, trial licensing) has been performed with positive results.

With impact ventures we mean ventures with a scalable product or solution that can help creating a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Am I eligible to apply for the program if I am not based in the CEE region?

Only ventures that are based in Central and Eastern Europe can apply.

  1. Austria 2. Estonia 3. Latvia  4. Lithuania  5. Czech Republic  6. Slovakia  7. Hungary  8. Poland  9. Romania  10. Bulgaria  11. Slovenia 12. Croatia  13. Albania  14. Bosnia-Herzegovina 15. Kosovo 16. Macedonia  17. Montenegro 18. Serbia  19. Moldova  20. Greece  21. Turkey  22. Germany 23. Belarus 24. Ukraine

How do I apply for the program?

Applications are collected on our Venture Platform. You directly go to this link:

When can I apply and what is the deadline?

We are accepting applications between 24 January and 11 March ( 23:59 CET)

Apply by clicking here.

When will I hear if my application has been successful and will I get feedback?

Austria + all countries without Warm-up event: After the application deadline we will make a selection. You will be informed within 2 weeks after the application deadline.

All countries WITH a Warm-up event: Selection is based on your application and your participation in the Warm-up. You will be informed within 2 weeks after the Warm-up.

What support do I get if I get selected as part of the Investment Ready Program participants cohort?

We do not take an equity stake in our participants. We make investment and funding available through our impact investment network and committed partners. We will help you build your growth strategy and investment plan and provide opportunities to pitch. You will be fully in charge to leverage those opportunities.

As a participant you will receive support from mentors, experts and guest speakers, while also receiving a lot of invaluable feedback from your fellow participants (peers).

Will you take an equity stake in my venture if I participate?

No, we do not take an equity stake in your venture.

We do ask all participants to sign the Term Sheet, in which you agree to pay up to  5%  (decided upon individual negotiation) over investment / funding raised within 24 months after the start of the Investment Ready Program.

How do I find investors and how do you facilitate dealmaking?

First of all, we’d like to make clear that you are always fully responsible to attract the right investors, manage those relationships and close a successful deal. What we do is providing all the necessary support for getting there:

  • Financial and legal experts help you build a strong financial model and cover your legal foundations.
  • Experienced mentors help you work on any blind spots or missing elements in your business.
  • The program is designed to get you step by step to a thorough growth and investment plan and an engaging presentation.
  • Our pool of experts, partners and investors will join the program informally and at the CEE Impact Day you get access to a group of pre-selected impact investors .

Does my venture need to be legally incorporated in a particular way in order to apply? For example can charities apply?

Your venture needs to be incorporated, registered as a legal entity, in the CEE region. Foundations and associations are not eligible, as they are not structured to receive equity investments.

Is this program for start-ups or more established ventures?

The program is focused on ventures that are the so-called “valley of death” or “pioneer gap” phase, beyond the start-up, but not yet fully established. In order to apply, your technology/product/solution should have a basic proof-of-concept and your venture should generate at least a minimum amount of revenue. If you already run serious revenue (>EUR 1 mio) for the technology/product that you are applying with, you are probably also not eligible.

Can I apply if my application was unsuccessful last year?

Sure, you might be ready to participate this year! Just make sure you have looked at our application criteria before you apply, they are listed in the Program Overview.

What is expected of me if my application is successful? What are the commitments?

  1. You commit to following the full program, including all exercises, preparing your plan and presentation. This means you need to reserve all program dates in your calendar. At least one co-founder or director of the venture needs to attend the full program (other colleagues can join for the modules).
  2. You commit to providing to your peers and receiving constructive feedback from your them. You will be required to be very transparent with us and your peers regarding your venture (sharing details on the state of your team, financials, product; specific technical details about your product do not need to be shared though). All participants and core program staff will sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) at the start of the program.
  3. You will need to be seeking (equity) investment.

What is the expected time commitment for a participant?

Over the course of the program, you should expect to put in about 18 days:

  • 7 workshop days in Vienna with the group;
  • 1 day for the local cohort meeting;
  • 1 day for the CEE Impact Day;
  • 8 days to build up your strategy, plan and presentation;
  • About 10-15 hours of mentoring and consultation with experts.

What is the exact schedule of the program?

The exact program schedule can be found on the Program Overview page.

Will my application be treated confidentially and will the team of assessors sign an NDA?

Yes your application and all details provided will be treated confidentially. We do not ask for specific technical or business details in the application form. If you do not wish to disclose certain information that is requested in the application, let us know. Since we require all participants to be fully transparent with sharing information during the program, core program staff and participants will sign an (Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) at the start of the program.

Why is there EUR 15.000 mentioned program value? What can I expect for value? What can I expect as results?

The program value is simply a rough estimate of the value generated for our participants. We simply add up the contributed hours in mentoring at market rates, add the workshop days at regular training rates and add an average for the value created through our network for investment deals and media exposure.

  • You can expect an amazing program, probably with some of the best impact ventures in the region, supporting each other to become even better.
  • You can expect experienced mentors and facilitators that are really there to support you.
  • You can expect a program culture of high integrity, strong work ethic, entrepreneurial creativity and authentic spirit to build beautiful solutions that solve real world problems.
  • You can expect to get to work with a group of people that might become long-term business friends and supporters.
  • You can expect to plug into a global network that allows you to rapidly explore new markets.
  • You can expect to work and meet in one of the most inspiring workspace at the Impact Hub.
  • You should expect to work hard, achieve tangible results, make tough choices and have a lot of fun.

When do I pay the participation fee? Would it be possible to pay in multiple payments?

The participation fee is due before the starting date of the program. The fee should be paid in full.

What is included in the participation fee?

The fee includes the full program tuition for one venture (up to 2 participating team members). The participation fee includes program materials, online tools, lunches and snacks during the modules, a community membership at the Impact Hub Vienna  and 15-20 personalised support in the form of mentoring and/or expert hours. Not included in the fee is: travel or accommodation costs to attend the sessions.

What can I do to improve my chances of being selected?

You submit an awesome application, you can speak with our recruitment team and if you’re invited to a Warm-up event, you can of course make a great appearance. We do not believe in only great pitches and plans though and we do not believe in perfect entrepreneurs. We appreciate it much more if you’re honest about where you’re at and let us look ‘under the hood’ of your venture and share openly how you want to grow and in what way you could benefit from the program.

What if I’m not yet meeting the criteria, but have the potential to meet the criteria by the time to program starts?

That’s definitely possible. Make it clear to us what criteria you are not meeting and how you aim to meet it them by the start of the program and we’ll definitely consider your application as any other.