First Startup Competition for European Universities




Martin Schmickler




RWTH and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management are hosting the Stage Two competition, concluding with a finale and award ceremony in October.


28 European universities are currently competing in Stage Two. This first startup competition for European universities is run by RWTH Aachen University and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The idea for it came up in 2020. “We wanted to give a stage to the innovative power of European entrepreneurs and create a platform for new and exciting visions, especially in challenging times,” explains Professor Malte Brettel, RWTH Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations and initiator of Stage Two. He adds: “International networks are a breeding ground for startups. Universities nurture talent in cutting-edge research and help turn ideas into working business models.”

In this first edition of the competition, the startups will present innovative solutions guided by the motto For Our Beyond. They will receive direct feedback on their business idea from venture capitalists and potential pilot customers from industry and trade. From the 56 finalists – two startups per university – a jury made up of professors from the participating universities and representatives from investor groups and industry will select the winners. Main prizes will be awarded in the categories Tech Innovation and Business Innovation, and additional prizes will be awarded for Sustainability, Digital Business, and Female Founder. The final will take place on Friday, October 29, 2021, in Berlin and will also be live-streamed online.