KIT Gründerschmiede


During the startup process, two things are especially important: constructive feedback and financial means. Competitions are a good opportunity to advance your startup ideas in both areas. Each year, the number of competitions increases. The federal state, country, and many other institutions have realized that startup funding is an important task.

Participating pays off!

There are many national and regional startup competitions for founders and young entrepreneurs where you can participate with your innovative business idea. As a competitor, you receive professional support and can develop in a productive environment. You can present your idea or your business and get feedback from a neutral audience. In the case of success, you receive attractive prize money and material prizes.

Participating in competitions brings many advantages: You get access to founder/expert networks and can establish helpful contacts. In addition to personal development, competition successes are equally important for visibility and the reputation of your business. Through the additional presence in media within the framework of the competition, you can make a name for yourself faster. Renowned awards can be a competitive advantage for your business.

Use your chance to compete and develop in numerous competitions! You can profit from funds and valuable know-how. We have compiled a selection of startup competitions for you.

Branch-specific competitions

CyberChampions Award

Once a year, high-tech and IT businesses from the expanded technology region of Karlsruhe can apply to become the CyberChampion. The CyberForum selects business concepts and startups that are overall strong: in their business model, product, customer use, and market chances. To the contest

Startup Contest "IKT Innovativ"

Innovative startups from Information and Communication Technology (IKT) can apply for the startup contest "IKT Innovativ" every six months. In each contest round, up to six startup ideas are awarded with a main prize. With these prizes, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants to provide support for the realization of original products and services. All award winners receive high money prizes and a comprehensive coaching and qualification program adjusted to their individual needs. To the contest

Science4Life Venture Cup

Startups from life science and chemistry can apply for the Science4Life Venture Cup. Future founders can participate in the nationwide annual business plan contest of Science4Life e.V.. Depending on the development level, it is possible to enter at three independent contest phases: idea phase, concept phase and business plan phase. The goal is to develop the business idea to a detailed business plan. During the contest, the founders receive constructive feedback on their business ideas. The best teams of the phases are rewarded and receive a total of €66,000.             To the contest


The annual startup contest WECONOMY is aimed at future founders and young entrepreneurs. It looks for innovative, technology-oriented business ideas and models. An expert jury picks up to ten winner teams who receive support for the implementation of their idea with know-how and a partner network made up of managers and entrepreneurs for a year. In addition to the support through a mentor, the startup teams receive a coaching on individual questions. With many possibilities for open and intensive exchange, WECONOMY is an interaction platform for startups and businesses. To the contest

Competitions for all branches

CyberOne – The Hightech Award Baden-Württemberg

The Economic Initiative Baden-Württemberg: Connected (bwcon) announces the CyberOne – Hightech Award for innovative concepts and solutions from all technological branches. Startup projects, research groups, and mid-sized high-growth companies can compete in the contest with their comprehensive business plans. The winners receive cash and material prizes as well as consultation and supervision offers.                   To the competition 

Deutscher Gründerpreis (German Founders' Prize)

The Deutscher Gründerpreis is the most meaningful award for founders and entrepreneurs in Germany and is given each year in the categories of student, startup, climber, and life work. The finalists and award recipients of the Deutscher Gründerpreis are presented and honored at a celebratory award ceremony in the ZDF Berlin studio in the presence of politicians and economists. Startups and climbers also receive individual coaching, long-term support, and access to the alumni network of the Deutscher Gründerpreis. The Deutscher Gründerpreis is awarded by the partners stern, Sparkassen, ZDF, and Porsche. To the competition

KfW-Award GründerChampions (Founder Champions)

Each year, the KfW honors one business in every state as the GründerChampion (Founder Champion). Additionally, one national winner is selected and an audience prize is given. Founders and successors that have been in business for five years or less may participate. The competition is directed toward all branches; entrants are judged, among other things, for creativity, innovation, and sustainability. The prize money is a total of 30,000 €. The award is given in the framework of the Deutsche Gründer- und Unternehmenstage (deGUT) (German Founder and Business Days) in Berlin. To the competition

Landespreis für junge Unternehmen (Regional Prize for Young Businesses)

The Landespreis für junge Unternehmen is awarded every two years by the state of Baden-Württemberg and the L-Bank. It is awarded by the Minister-President. Any young entrepreneurs and successors with market experience whose startup/succession is not more than 10 years old may apply. In addition to the business concept, personality, entrepreneurial success, and commitment are the deciding factors. A high-ranking jury composed of economists, politicians, and scientists decide the awarding of the prize. To the competition


Dortmund Economic Development annually advertises the nationwide startup contest start2grow for business ideas of all industries with a special technology discipline. In two contest phases, the participants have to implement their business idea for innovative products or services in a detailed business plan. During the contest, the participants receive additional mentoring and coaching from a network from over 600 specialists. The goal is to prepare for the business start in as little time as possible. The 10 best teams of both contest phases are awarded and receive money and material prizes worth over €90,000.                                  To the competition