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Gateway EM*power

Empower your entrepreneurial mindset

You are interested in innovative and creative ideas and solutions that add value to our society? Do you see exciting opportunities to solve problems in your daily social life? Maybe you've got an idea already and want to expand on it? Are you ready to move forward and network?

We are here to help you! Gateway EM*Power provides you with the opportunity to further develop yourself in a 10-month program at the four Gateway universities in Cologne, as well as to strengthen yourself against women-specific disadvantages when starting a business.

With our event program, mentoring, and coaching, we primarily assist you in the following areas:

  • providing effective solutions
  • a network
  • entrepreneurial skills
  • empowerment
  • funding opportunities and personal financial situation


Get in touch with other women who share the makers gene and expand your professional circle: Participate in Gateway events at your own university and in the larger Gateway universities Cologne community. Participate in Cologne's ecosystem's exciting start-up events and networking gatherings.


Safe Space workshops can help you grow and qualify. As a female entrepreneur, you will gain more self-assurance, enhance your pitching style, learn how to challenge gender norms, and make an impact in the male-dominated finance industry.


Work with a Gateway start-up coach on a regular basis. You will receive at least five start-up coaching sessions and be paired with a start-up coach at the start of the program.


Get input and feedback from experienced founders. You will be assigned a mentor at the start of the program, with whom you will have at least three mentoring sessions.


You can use our coworking space for free.

3-month scholarship

During the 10-month program, you can receive a 3-month scholarship in the amount of:

  • €1,000 per month for female students who have completed at least half of their Bachelor's studies
  • €2,000 per month for female students who have finished a vocational training
  • €2,500 per month for female graduates
  • €3,000 per month for woman with a PhD
  • and €150 per child per month for liable children.

Obtaining the grant is optional if eligibility is given. For further details on which women are eligible for financial support under the EM*power program, please refer to the FAQs on the EXIST-Women website.

You can find the conditions for the scholarship here in the scholarship agreement template (in 🇩🇪).

Who can participate?

The offer is aimed at:

  • women students at the University of Cologne who have completed at least half of their bachelor’s degrees
  • Female founders, graduates, scientists, and university employees, for a maximum of five years following graduation or departure.

A specific start-up idea is not required, but motivation, creativity, and innovation are.

EM*Power Gateway is open to all fields and ideas. However, the formation of a capital company and/or the start of operations cannot have occurred prior to the program's launch.


If you want to participate only in networking events of the EM*power program without a scholarship, you do not need to apply.

Beginning in January 2024, your university will notify you about public events, and you will be able to register for them there.

Applicants from the University of Cologne who want to participate in the full program AND/OR receive a financial grant with a scholarship could apply until December 6, 2023.

TH Köln applicants click here.

German Sport University applicants click here.

Selection criteria

What is important when applying for a scholarship:

  • We want to see that you want to grow personally (and, if you have a specific start-up idea, that you want to grow your start-up)
  • We want to know that you are driven to solve a problem with your own innovative entrepreneurial idea
  • It is important for us that you have a genuine interest in networking and exchange and want to actively participate in the program
  • If you already have a start-up idea, we'd like to know if it's innovative, knowledge-based, and/or has a social or ecological impact
  • If you have a start-up idea, show us that it has potential for scaling up in the medium term

Selection process

The selection process takes place in 2 steps:

  1. You can submit the completed application form by 06.12.2023 here on the website. 15 candidates will be invited to a selection interview in the period from 11.12. - 14.12.2023 before a jury. Up to ten female scholars are supported at the UzK.
  2. A formal examination of the entrance requirements for the scholarship will then take place (see EXIST-Women guidelines).

More info

Also visit the EXIST website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. You will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about the program on this website.

Start your entrepreneurial journey with EM*Power at your Gateway university in Cologne!

Get in touch

Miriam Fußangel, M. A.

Transferscout Philosophische Fakultät