EU Commissioner Gabriel to Serve as Patron of the Stage Two Startup Competition


Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, and Education, will serve as patron to "Stage Two," a University competition initiated by RWTH and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. 30 universities and 60 start-up companies from 18 countries are set to participate in the contest.


As part of her work on behalf of the European Union, EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel promotes the integration of research and industry and advocates excellence programs and partnership networks between European universities. She is particularly committed to advancing the future of the European research landscape. Accordingly, the vision behind her activities is very much in line with the guiding principle of the Stage Two competition, which has the motto “For Our Beyond.”

“For us, this recognition from the EU is a great gesture of support that will further encourage and give a boost to university startups. We are delighted that our dedication to connecting and promoting innovation activities in the European research community has been honored in this way,” said Professor Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations at RWTH and co-initiator of Stage Two.

Stage two has also gained new partners outside the political arena: The high-profile companies Microsoft and McKinsey will further enhance the portfolio of the competition. Microsoft’s technological prowess and the industrial expertise of the management consulting firm McKinsey will increase the competition’s attractiveness and open up new potential for the further integrating research and business. It is precisely such synergies that Stage Two aims to promote and thereby advance the further development of startups.

The winners of the local round, selected at RWTH’s Demo Day, will also benefit from these developments. Riiico, a startup specializing in intelligent digital twins via AI and 3D scans, and „Nerit’e, a startup for digital soil analysis, had convinced the jury with their concepts and business models. They will now have the opportunity to compete against other European startups and pitch their ideas to European top investors and leaders at the final in Berlin, scheduled to take place on October 29.

RWTH Innovation

RWTH Innovation is a unique joint initiative within Germany’s higher education landscape: The technology transfer company RWTH Innovation GmbH and the Entrepreneurship Center of RWTH’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group have joined forces to advise and support students and researchers in translating their research into viable business ideas. RWTH Innovation’s Entrepreneurship Center seeks to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs, training and supporting them on their way to setting up successful companies. RWTH Innovation's offerings are targeted at regional, national, as well as international startup teams. In 2020 alone, 75 spin-offs from the University were supported. A key goal of RWTH Innovation is to build Europe's leading tech incubator.