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Campus Competition Cologne

Your way to the Gateway Accelerator and a €100,000 investment offer!


This is what the C3 Competition offers:

Access to the Gateway Accelerator: The top eight teams will participate in the Gateway Accelerator. This gives you the opportunity to further scale and grow your business.

Financial Support: A venture capitalist will also make an investment offer of €100,000 to each of the top three startups.

Networking: Participants have the chance to connect with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and industry experts, form partnerships, and share experiences through the mandatory attendance of at least one networking event and cooperation with our mentors.

Expertise and Feedback: The participants receive insightful observations and constructive feedback on their business models and plans following the evaluation of submissions by an experienced jury and the start-up coaches of the Gateway Universities.

Pitch Training: Before the big event, the eight finalists will go through pitch training. This is an excellent chance to improve presentation abilities and make sure that participants can articulate their business ideas clearly.

Who is a good fit for the Gateway C3?

You can apply as an individual founder or with your team.

Participation Requirements

  • No revenues or incorporation of a corporation before November 9, 2020
  • No venture capital intake before September 21, 2023
  • Participation in at least one of the networking meetings
  • One of the members of the team must be a student, researcher, employee, or graduate of the universities with a Gateway start-up service. In addition to the University of Cologne, these are the TH Köln, the Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln, and the CBS International Business School

When does it start?

The application phase starts on July 3, 2023, and ends on September 21, 2023.

Evaluation criteria

  • Idea, innovation, and business model
  • Scalability and growth potential
  • Market and competition
  • Team
  • Chances of success in next steps
  • Impression in feedback discussion

A maximum of eight teams will be given the chance to participate in the final.

Application process

  • Apply now! Free registration on the competition website starts on July 3rd.
  • Participation in at least one of two network events with mentors from the start-up ecosystem, either on August 10th or September 7th
  • Submission of the Read Deck by September 21st
  • Evaluation of the Read Decks and feedback sessions with the start-up coaches from the Gateway Universities
  • Selection of the eight final teams, which thereby gain access to the Gateway Accelerator's program
  • Preparation through individual pitch training and participation in the final event on November 9th

Important dates

August 10th, KickOff C3, 1st Network Meeting

September 7th, 2nd Network Meeting

September 21st, Deadline for Read-Deck Submission

September 25th, October 6th Feedback Sessions

November 2nd, Pitch Training for the Finalists

November 9th, Final Event

November 23rd, Start of Gateway Accelerator

Our partners

Kreissparkasse Köln

Sparkasse KölnBonn


Gateway Förderverein

Want to submit your Read Deck already or have questions?

Write us an email or get in touch with our team.