EIT Health Germany Blog

“What makes a successful Headstart application?” – 5 tips from Headstart winner Nia Health

The deadline for the second round of the Headstart Programme is approaching fast and one of the former award winners, Nia Health, shares their tips for a successful application.

The EIT Health Headstart programme provides emerging companies with mentorship and funding opportunities to accelerate the development and time-to-market of innovative products and services to improve the lives of European patients and citizens. Applications for the second round are currently being accepted until 14 September 2020. 

In order to help you in the application process, we reached out to Tobias, founder of Nia Health and winner of the Headstart Award in 2020 and asked him to share 5 tips for a successful application. Here they are:

1. Is it a match?

Have a close look at the announcement details and the guide. Be honest with yourself if you really fit into the programme. Otherwise, you can save a lot of time here. After obtaining an overview of the publicly available application documents, we began early on to talk to the EIT Health Managers. Getting feedback and a personal assessment in time gives you the security to be on the right track with your application.

2. Meet Alumni

Personal networking with former teams can give you valuable insights and experiences. We researched the winning teams of recent years and approached the founders directly with our request. Fortunately, we received very open and constructive information and they shared their personal experiences with us. Coincidentally, we also got into a conversation with a team that did not make it through the final round in the last competition. Here it was particularly interesting to find out what the team would do differently if they reapplied.

3. Use the EIT-Health Industry Network

Contact EIT Health Partner companies not only for the Letter of Support but to outline concrete plans for industry partnerships in the application. In more in-depth discussions with industry partners, it can become clear much faster in which direction a joint partnership could potentially go in the future. Playing through these ideas together with a sparring partner from the EIT Health network even before the application process began has been very helpful for us in any case.

4. Know your competition

Show that you have a good overview of your relevant market and have all current and potential competitors on your screen. Regardless of applying to the EIT Health Headstart Funding Program, competitor monitoring should be a regular part of the process of building a venture from my understanding. For example, in addition to regular exchanges with experts and other founders in our field, reading relevant media, we have also set up Google Alerts on specific keywords. This helps us to quickly be informed about various changes in the market and potential competition.

5. Highlight your innovation

What makes you so special? What do you have that nobody else has? How do you want to create a real impact and make a difference with your solution? Working this out crystal clear is in my humble opinion the most important part of the application. Preparing this part once for the EIT Health Headstart application can also save a lot of time for later applications or requests in different contexts. Since investors and business partners often ask these questions, it is absolutely advisable to think this through early and be optimally prepared.