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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: The three best-placed start-ups will also each receive an investment offer of EUR 100,000 from a venture capitalist (subject to due diligence).

Networking: By working with our mentors, participants have the opportunity to make contacts with other entrepreneurs, other mentors and industry experts, form partnerships and exchange experiences.

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 Juli 21, 2022
  • No venture capital intake before Juli 21, 2024
  • 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 May 1, 2024, and ends on July 21, 2024.

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 May 1, 2024.
  • 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 August 28

Important dates

May 1 Start of applications

June 26 Information event Sundowner

July 21 Deadline for submission of read deck

July 29 - August 09 Feedback interviews

August 22 Pitch training for the finalists

August 28 Final event

September 2024 Start Gateway Accelerator Batch #4

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.