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Competition for founding ideas 2020 of the GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center (ESC) and the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne

startup your idea

Do you have an innovative, creative, and future-oriented start-up idea, but you still do not know how to implement it? The GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center (ESC) and the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne have collaborated to offer a start-up competition to support your idea! It does not matter whether the idea refers to a service or a product or whether it is about the social application of research results.

The best ideas will be awarded with designated prize money of up to 5,000 euros! Coaching, workshops, and an exciting finale in front of a large audience await the finalists. Convince the jury of experts with your meaningful idea sketch, as completed business plan is not expected.

The competition for start-up ideas

  • promotes innovative, creative, and future-oriented start-up ideas from all disciplines.
  • requires a meaningful outline of the start-up idea.
  • is aimed at students from all faculties (including Bachelor, Master, and doctoral students).*

*Students from other universities can also take part, with at least one team member enrolled at the University of Cologne.

Reasons for participation

  • Valuable feedback rom expertes your start-up idea
  • Public Presentation of your start-up idea
  • Expansion of your professional network
  • Mentoring by experts
  • The chance to be awarded with edesignated prize money*:

    • 1st place: 5,000 Euros
    • 2nd place: 3,000 Euros
    • 3rd place: 1,000 Euros

*The prize money consists of contributions in kind (hardware, vouchers for training or consulting, participation in events, etc.) up to the corresponding value. Following the award, the teams will receive the first half of their prize money. The second half will be paid six months after the award, insofar as team members can prove that they have continued to work on their start-up idea. There is no recourse to legal action.

Required documents to be submitted

Evaluation criteria

  • The start-up idea (30%)
  • Customers & competition (25%)
  • Team competencies (25%)
  • Feasibility of the idea (20%)

Key Deadlines

  • Start of application: July 17th, 2020
  • Submission deadline: September 18th, 2020
  • Feedback to participants: November 2020
  • Finale & Award: January 2021


Please contact us if you have any questions: