What do I agree to if I participate in the HTW Startup challenge?

1. The following applies to the finalists: 

  • Participation at the pitch training on April 20th, 2023 (during the day) in the EGZ, Hönower Str. 35, 10138 Berlin. Participation via Zoom is not possible.
  • Personal participation in the award ceremony on April 27, 2023 (from 5 p.m.). The Participation via Zoom is not possible.

Please block these two dates in your calendar now. We will inform by 18.04.23 whether you are a finalist and will invite you to these two events.

2. Your data will be collected when you participate in the competition and saved.

3. Applications will be saved and gets into our hands and the jury. We and the jury are committed to secrecy.

4. Your business model is your intellectual property.

5. Awards ceremonies are public events. If you take part in the award ceremony, you must therefore be prepared that photos and also film recordings are made, which will be published.

6. Winners will be photographed on the day of the awards ceremony and published via our social media channels and those of our partners announced. For this we also need a (general held) description of your project.

Until when can I apply?

The application process starts on March 30th and goes until April 13th 2023 (midnight). The link to the application will be published on March 30th, 2023 on our website. 

How can I apply?

You apply with your pitch video (max. one minute). In the second round, finalists will be asked to fill out a questionnaire.

Do I have to have a team?

No. You can participate as an individual.

However, you cannot manage your startup journey alone! In order to build a startup, you need strong partners, so your team spirit is expressly desired! Also note that usually only teams can be funded by startup grants such as the EXIST startup grant or the Berlin startup grant.

Do I have to be a member of HTW Berlin?

No. You don't have to be a student, graduate or employee of HTW Berlin to take part. However, the condition is that you want to belong to the HTW community.

Do I have to live in Berlin?

No. Your place of residence is not decisive for your participation.

Our EXIST programs and master phase of the InnoTechTrack are at least partially based on local presence, e.g. by using our InnoTechLabs and co-working. Participation can also be done remotely.

If you are interested in the Berlin startup scholarship at the HTW Berlin, you should consider moving to Berlin in the near future. It is mandatory to have a place of residence in Berlin during the funding phase and to locate your startup project in Berlin.

Do I have to speak German?

Application and pitch can be in German and English. The final will be held in both English and German.

Our programs are mainly offered in German, but of course we can also advise you individually in English. 

I already have a startup. Can I still participate?

Yes. Founders are of course very welcome!

I am already participating in an incubator program. Can I still participate?

Yes. It is important to us that you want to be part of the HTW community. But that doesn't stand in the way of your promotion. So after the HTW Startup Challenge, let's see how we could support you.

What does your business model need?

Your business model must be innovative and feasible - you should be able to convince our jury of that. It would also be an advantage if your business is related to the research fields of the HTWOf course, your idea is ethically and morally justifiable, we assume that.

Will my idea stay secret if I take part in the competition?

We treat your project as confidential information for an indefinite period. This also applies if you take part in our programs.

However, you don't have to reveal every detail of your startup business to convince us! If there is an innovative core for which you would like to register property rights, you must do so before you publish any relevant information.

Please note that we will publish a portrait of the winners and for this we need a general description of your innovative solution.

What can I win? What do I get from participating?

  • HTW Startup price = €5.000 
  • Female Tech price = €5.000
  • Deep Tech price = €3.000
  • Startup Rallye (public prize) = €2,000 plus office space for 12 months in the EGZ (Hönower Str. 35, 10138 Berlin)

In addition to professional feedback on the project from our expert jury, the finalists receive pitch training. The jury will also be invited to this pitch training so you have the chance to present yourself and your business in front of them. 

On the day of the award ceremony (April 27th) you can gain stage experience with your pitch and exchange ideas with the jury members, coaches and our network. We strongly encourage you to use this opportunity for direct feedback.

Talented applications that did not make it to the finalists will receive an invitation to the award ceremony, a great opportunity to network and get to know the start-up area of ​​the HTW!

The winners will be photographed professionally on the HTW Berlin campus and will be presented on our social media channels. Our cooperation partner Berliner Sparkasse will also publish an article about the winners.

What else? We hope you have fun!


Can I apply for a specific prize category?

No. There are three winners (teams) in total. The jury decides which team receives which price.

Who determines the winners (teams)?

The experienced startup coaches from HTW Startup make a preselection. The expert jury then determines both the finalists for the award ceremony on April 27th and the winners of the three award categories. 

According to which selection criteria are the winners (teams) selected?

What will be important to us and the expert jury and what you should pay attention to when pitching is that you can explain us what’s your startup about. What drives you? Where are you now and where do you see yourself in the foreseeable future? So pick us up and take us with you on your startup journey!

In addition to your convincing presentation, the following criteria are used for weighting:

  • a new core of the idea (innovation)
  • Feasibility, scalability
  • Social relevance of the solution (problem solving)
  • Relation to HTW Berlin and/or the technology fields of the HTW
  • Team
  • if applicable, your pitch at the award ceremony for the audience award

How do I find out that I have won?

The application phase ends on April 13th. We will then review the applications and invite a shortlist to the pitch training on April 20th by email. We will notify those who didn't make it.

All startups invited to the pitch training will also receive an invitation to the final. The five best teams that are allowed to pitch for the prize money. Winners will be announced at the end of the evening.

How and when will the prize money be paid out?

The winners (teams) will receive the prize money within one month after the award ceremony to the account details of the first contact.

Is the prize money at my free disposal?

Yes. You can spend your winnings however you want. There are no conditions attached to it.

What happens with my data?

The personal data of the participants will be saved in our database. Especially the data of the winners could be published and passed on to cooperation partners. These data are not used for commercial purposes but used exclusively for public relations! After the competition the data of all participants will be deleted from our database. The winners are publicly accessible until further notice.

Who do I contact if I have further questions about the competition?

Please send an email to claudia.duenckmann@htw-berlin.de. Do you have questions about the content of your business model and would you like advice from a coach, come to an Open Office.

Can I withdraw my application and delete my cause data?

Yes. Please send us an email to claudia.duenckmann@htw-berlin.de. We will delete your application and your data from our system and send you a confirmation.

Who is on the expert jury?


In case you don't find what you are looking for here, please talk to us or send us an email. We will be happy to help you!