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Land approves further gateway funding.

cheering crowd and blurred people on an illuminated stage. Text: powered by Gateway Excellence Start-up Center (ESC) of the University of Cologne

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia approves further support for the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center at the University of Cologne. A jury of experts appointed by Minister of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy Prof. Dr Andreas Pinkwart has certified the University of Cologne's start-up support as an outstanding achievement and recommended continued support until the end of 2024. This means that the University of Cologne remains one of six universities in NRW with an Excellence Start-up Center (ESC). Since 2019, the state has been funding the six ESCs and other individual projects with a total of 150 million euros.

In its first two years, the Gateway ESC has already done a lot to promote a strong start-up culture at the university. For example, the University of Cologne has established nine professorships with an affinity for start-ups, which permanently anchor topics related to entrepreneurship, digitization and innovation in research and teaching - a special feature of Cologne's support for start-ups. Furthermore, cooperation with other Cologne universities has been expanded, with their start-up services now also appearing under the Gateway umbrella brand. Three networks also regulate cooperation with sponsors (Gateway Förderverein), alumni (Gateway Alumni Network) and companies and institutions from the regional ecosystem (Gateway Connect).

The startup your idea competition organised by the Gateway ESC and the WiSo Faculty of the University of Cologne is also in the spirit of networking. Numerous interdisciplinary start-up teams have found a nexus for consolidation here, beyond the 15 finalists and 9 prize winners so far. Currently, thanks to large donations from donors, the Innovation and Startup Center is being built on the university campus, which will provide more than 3,000 square meters of workspace for startup teams, the Gateway ESC and partners from the ecosystem.

The measures convinced the jury, as did the results of the monitoring report from the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. According to the report, the number of spin-off corporations funded at the University of Cologne grew from 14 in 2020 to 21 in 2021. According to the report, more and more students and scientists are also taking advantage of the advisory and qualification services offered by the Gateway ESC.

Minister Pinkwart: "I am pleased that the Excellence Start-up Centers are doing excellent work and were therefore evaluated so positively by the expert jury. Here, we are implementing a long-term strategy for more and better start-ups from our state's excellent universities with considerable state funding."

Prof. Dr Axel Freimuth, Rector of the University of Cologne: "Our success shows the potential that excellent research at the University of Cologne has for business and society."

Prof. Dr Christian Schwens, Scientific Director of the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center and Chair of Entrepreneurship at the University of Cologne: "The jury's decision confirms our approach of inspiring students and scientists from all disciplines to implement their own ideas by entrepreneurial means - and thus to shape a sustainable society."

About the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center:

The Gateway Excellence Start-up Center is the contact point for all people interested in founding a company and for start-ups at the University of Cologne. The free services include start-up coaching, advice on funding, incubator places and an accelerator program. In addition, students and researchers can acquire know-how in courses and workshops and establish contacts in the Cologne start-up ecosystem.