Good ideas are worth it: Take part in one of the most prestigious competitions for innovative and successful start-ups in Germany.

Prize money totalling 60,000 euros can be won at the North Rhine-Westphalia Start-up Awards.

The winner receives prize money amounting to 30,000 euros, the second place winner is awarded 20,000 euros and third place is granted 10,000 euros.

The final took place on on 30th November 2020. All infos (in German) can be found here.


The start-up award was held for the ninth time in 2020 and is one of the most prestigious competitions for innovative and successful start-ups and company successors. It is organised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the NRW.BANK and aims to encourage people to set up a business and start an enterprise with role models from across the country.

The following aspects in particular are assessed:

  • Business success
  • Jobs created
  • Creativity of the business idea
  • Work-life balance
  • Sustainability and social commitment

Who can take part?

Your company must meet the following criteria in order to participate in the start-up award:

  • was launched between 2015 and 2018
  • has less than 250 employees
  • achieves an annual turnover of a maximum of 50 million euros or a balance sheet total of a maximum of 43 million euros per annum
  • has its headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia

If you are a founder of a business, the following also applies:

  • You are the founder of a small or medium-sized independent company within the industry, trade and services sector


  • Company successor


  • Freelancer

The Jury

The jury is made up of representatives from various areas: Universities, chambers of commerce and business, but also the Ministry of Economics and NRW.BANK decide on the winners.