Austria Wirtschaftsservice (AWS)

Austria's Wirtschaftsservice (AWS) is a public sector entity in charge of promoting the development of innovative companies and the commercialization of new technologies. Its main focus is on providing services to innovative enterprises and academic researchers to facilitate the establishment and development of technology start-up firms and to foster the use of high tech in Austria.

The AWS Agency channels its services through five main programs:

1. Tecma - Technology Marketing Austria
2. Seed Financing Scheme
3. Tecnet
- the Network for Market and Technology Information
4. i²
Ideas and Investment - The Business Angels Network
5. Biotech
- Impulse Programme Biotechnology

1. Tecma - Technology Marketing Austria

Tecma is the technology licensing organization within the AWS assisting university researchers, inventors and companies in marketing promising products, methods and applications. Its staff is composed of scientists with industrial experience in chemistry, physics, biology, IT, and mechanical engineering. For service delivery, Tecma also relies on the assistance of a vast national and international network of patent lawyers, financial agencies and business consultants who are used for specific tasks depending on the needs of applicants.

Tecma's services include:

  • evaluation of inventions for their market prospects and patentability;
  • active search for utilization partners
  • (initial) financing of patent applications in Austria and abroad;
  • conducting of licensing negotiations;
  • monitoring of licensing revenues;
  • mediation of joint research ventures;
  • patent credit schemes;
  • information and consulting through lectures and face-to-face meetings.

Tecma focuses on inventions considered to have a high reward potential. Applications are therefore subject to a stringent selection process as Tecma staff select technologies considered to meet the following criteria: a) highly innovative, b) patentable and c) commercially promising.

The costs of Tecma's services largely depend on the services provided and generally consist of a contingency fee by way of a percentage share of the proceeds.

Currently, between 150 and 300 companies receive support from Tecma every year of which approximately a dozen obtain funds from the patent credit scheme.

2. Seed Financing Scheme

The Seed Financing Scheme finances growth of innovative businesses during their formative and developing stages by offering seed money specifically tailored to their needs. Based on a business plan and cost estimate customized to the new venture, the scheme provides startup capital and complements its financial assistance by accompanying consulting services.

Financing under the scheme covers the following:

  • costs of opening new markets
  • costs of formation
  • staff costs
  • fees for outside expertise
  • costs of concepts and studies
  • operating resources

The seed money is furnished by way of mezzanine capital, i.e. interest rates and repayment are performance-dependent, and none of the usual collaterals are required. The advisory and consulting services include in particular advice on marketing, financing, controlling and structural organization. Consulting services may be requested during the initial three years of the company's existence.

Eligibility for funding is limited to businesses employing under 25 employees and businesses of which less than 25% is held by a company with a payroll in excess of 50 and sales of over 7 million Euro or a balance sheet total exceeding 5 million Euro.

3. Tecnet - the Network for Market and Technology Information

Tecnet supplies companies, potential lenders and investors with market and technology information for technology focused-projects. Tecnet uses specialized databases (including patent databases), experts, national and international organizations, expert publications and Internet as sources in the search for information. The costs of Tecnet services are agreed at the outset following an assessment of the client's needs. The search is billed by hours worked and the purchase of market studies is paid separately.

4. i² Ideas and Investment - The Business Angels Network

Ideas and Investment is a platform to introduce investors with the requisite capital to innovative business in an efficient and informal manner. Its primary goal is to create an organized private venture capital market in Austria by linking together the entrepreneurs and the investors. Investors and entrepreneurs who want to become members of the network fill in a questionnaire and send it to . A meeting between the staff of and the investor or entrepreneur is arranged to get further information. When the same interests are expressed by an entrepreneur and an investor, organizes the first contact between the two. therefore acts as a link between entrepreneurs and investors trying to match the activities and field of specialization of the former with the interests and expertise of the latter.

5. Biotech - Impulse Programme Biotechnology

The staff of Biotech, in cooperation with other sectors of the Innovation Agency, provides consulting services as well as contacts to aid agencies, government authorities and investors to remove the hurdles on the way to forming new businesses in the field of biotechnology. In particular, Biotech provides assistance in the following areas:

  • patenting and licensing
  • drawing up a business plan and market estimate
  • creating the organizational and financial structure
  • contacts to aid agencies, banks and investors via the establishment of the Biotech funding and financing network
  • search for free laboratory capacities
  • assistance with government procedures

For more information on the AWS see

5 March, 2002