Innovation is the driving force behind the most successful startups, and now is the time to put your ingenuity to the test at the HTW Startup Challenge on 16 April 2024! The HTW Startup Challenge is the event for founders who want to take their startup to the next level and pitch for prize money totalling €15,000. We also award the EXIST Women Prize. Sounds exciting?


Then apply from 29 February to 14 March with your pitch deck and a video (max. 1 minute) in which you present your innovative business model. Ideally, you should have a connection to HTW Berlin or want to be part of the HTW community. The HTW Startup Team will then select the best startups from all submissions.


The highlight of the HTW Startup Challenge is the pitch event on 16 April 2024, where the three best Female Founder Teams pitch for €10,000 in front of a top-class jury.

All startups can apply for the HTW Startup Prize. The audience will decide who wins the HTW Startup Prize worth €5,000. There will also be a startup rally in which the teams have to convince as many guests as possible of their idea within 45 minutes.

In addition, we would like to support budding female founders, i.e. the innovators of the future, with one-off sponsorships totalling €3,000 per female founder. The EXIST Women programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection provides the framework for this. Please note: You cannot apply for the EXIST Women Award; instead, the participating universities nominate scholarship holders and the sponsors select a female founder. We are currently still looking for sponsors! Become a sponsor and support female founders with € 3,000. CLICK HERE!

Price categories

  • Female Founder Prize of the Berliner Sparkasse – € 10,000
  • HTW Startup Preis – 5.000 €
  • EXIST Women – 3.000 € per scholarship holder

Female Founder Startups apply for the Female Founder Prize worth €10,000.
All others have a chance to win the HTW Startup Prize worth €5,000.
It is not possible to apply for the EXIST Women Prize. The participating universities nominate female scholarship holders and the mentors select a female founder.

The cooperation partner of the competition is the Berliner Sparkasse. Berliner Sparkasse supports founders in all phases of setting up a business. Whether it's an account, a loan, public subsidies or modern financing instruments - the founding experts at Berliner Sparkasse are on hand to advise you and determine which offers are suitable. You can find more information on the Berliner Sparkasse website.

Award ceremony

Whether you want to pitch for the attractive prizes, get to know innovative startups and their business models or network with exciting minds from the startup scene - the HTW Startup Challenge is the perfect opportunity. Celebrate after the pitches. At the after-pitch party, you will have the opportunity to network and get to know the HTW start-up projects and the start-up community.

Take part in the HTW Startup Challenge on 16 April 2024 from 5 p.m. at the Treskowallee campus and take the first step towards realising your startup vision!

If you want to be part of the Startup Challenge final, please send an email to

The Jury

We are very pleased to introduce Dr Christian Segal, Prof Dr Heike Hölzner, Lena Scholpp and René Papenfuß as our jury and startup experts. 

Dr Christian Segal has more than 25 years of experience in advising and financing start-ups and medium-sized companies. He is spokesman for the Finance Forum at SIBB (Association of the Digital Economy), a member of the decision-making body of Bürgschaftsbank Berlin and a member of the IHK Berlin Innovative City Committee.

Prof Dr Heike Hölzner has held the Chair of Entrepreneurship and SME Management at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences since 2017. With her company Sirius Minds, Hölzner also advises high-tech founders on team development and financing issues. She is a business angel and co-founded the encourageventures e.V. investor network in 2021. 

Lena Scholpp is the founder of the start-up CareTwice (Link). CareTwice develops sustainable hair and body care products for the hairdressing industry and offers customers a sustainable shampoo powder made only from natural ingredients. Lena is also a business coach for the teams of the Berlin Startup Scholarship (BSS).

René Papenfuß is a psychologist, prospective psychotherapist and doctoral student at Charité. As Managing Director of the HTW start-up (SIB/BHT alumni), he and his two co-founders Moritz Kern and Roland von Ohlen are improving outpatient psychotherapeutic care with the digital full-service Tepavi. In doing so, he is actively promoting equitable care for mentally ill patients.

This was our Startup Challenge 2023