Four Cologne academic institutions are bundling their start-up support under the joint brand "Gateway". In future, the start-up service at the University of Cologne, the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the German Sport University Cologne and the Rhenish University of Applied Sciences Cologne will operate under this name. Representatives from the rectorates and praesidiums of all institutions signed corresponding agreements on the licensing of the brand from the University of Cologne, which will continue to operate its Excellence Start-up Center under this name.
The participating universities have already been cooperating since 1998 in the promotion of start-ups, above all through the university start-up network Cologne "hgnc" and the regional network "Fit for Invest". In this way, students, researchers and alumni with knowledge-based start-up ideas can take advantage of funding offers from all institutions.
Those interested in founding a company from all participating universities already had a share in the Gateway Network in some places - for example in the teams of the previous three rounds of the joint "startup your idea" Competition for founding ideas of the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center (ESC)and the WiSo Faculty.
The scientific institutions are now expanding their cooperation further with the joint brand. Potential founders will thus benefit from a broader range of services that are coordinated with each other. In addition to advice on funding opportunities, this also includes incubator or accelerator programmes for start-up teams. Joint courses and workshops on the topics of entrepreneurship, innovation and digitalisation are also part of the offer, such as the joint "project cologne". This is an open innovation platform where Cologne students work together with local companies on groundbreaking issues.
"Cologne as a science location produces a great variety of innovative research results. However, the paths from idea to practice can be very different. With the joint offer, those interested in founding a company can quickly find the funding that is right for them," says Dr Michael Stückradt, Chancellor of the University of Cologne, about the advantages of the cooperation.
"Cologne, as one of the economically strongest and most attractive locations in Germany, has a flourishing start-up and investor scene. In addition, there is immense creative potential within the participating universities," says Prof. Dr Klaus Becker, Vice President for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the TH Köln. "Gateway will make a major contribution to ensuring that this potential can unfold sustainably in start-ups."
"The Cologne universities are pursuing a common mission in knowledge-based start-ups: to strengthen the innovative power in Cologne and to raise the start-up potential. Gateway now offers professional support to students, employees and scientists at Cologne's universities who are interested in founding a company," explains Prof. Dr Anja Niehoff, Prorector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer at the German Sport University Cologne.
"Interested start-ups will now have faster access to our diverse funding opportunities under the Gateway brand. This will enable us to promote more start-up spin-offs from our universities and further establish Cologne as a start-up hub in Germany," says Prof. Dr Kai Buehler, project manager at the RFH for the joint project "Fit for Invest".