skip to content

Competition for founding ideas 2021 of the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center (ESC) and the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne

startup your idea

The "startup your idea" competition enters its 3rd round!

Do you have an innovative, creative, and future-oriented startup idea, but you still do not know how to implement it? Gateway ESC and the WiSo Faculty at the University of Cologne collaborate to offer a startup 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 a completed business plan is not expected.

The competition for start-up ideas

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

Reasons for participation

  • Valuable feedback from experts on your startup idea
  • Public presentation of your startup idea
  • Expansion of your professional network
  • The chance to be awarded with designated prize money:*
    • 1st place: 5,000 €
    • 2nd place: 3,000 €
    • 3rd place: 1,000 €

*The prize money consists of contributions in kind (e.g., hardware, vouchers for training or consulting, participation in events) up to the corresponding value. Following the award ceremony, the teams will receive the first half of their prize money. The second half will be paid six months after the award ceremony, depending on team members being able to prove that have continued to work on their startup idea. The jury’s decision is final, legal action is excluded.

Key Deadlines

  • Applications open: 19 July 2021
  • Submission deadline: 8 October 2021
  • Feedback to participants: December 2021
  • Finals & award ceremony: January 2022

Participation criteria

  • Students from all universities can take part, with at least one team member enrolled at the University of Cologne or the TH Köln.
  • The establishment of a corporation and the start of business before the submission deadline of 8 October 2021 excludes the startup idea from competition entry.
  • Startup ideas are not eligible for competition entry if they take part/took part in one of the following incubators/accelerators: Gateway Accelerator, Gateway Incubator, KickStart@TH Köln, Inkubator Südstadt, Cologne Game Lab Incubator, Future Champions Accelerator, EO Accelerator-Program TH Köln.

Required documents to be submitted

  • Meaningful sketch of your startup idea (template)
  • Application form (template)
  • Certificate(s) of Enrollment

Evaluation criteria

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