Apply now for the KfW Start-up Award!

The application phase for this year’s KfW Start-up Award has begun. We are looking for innovative ideas from all over Germany.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 10.04.2024

The renowned company competition by KfW annually honors companies from all over Germany with the KfW Start-up Award, which implement innovative ideas or pursue new paths in business management.

Who can participate in the KfW Start-up Award?

Eligible to participate are young companies as well as start-ups from all sectors based in Germany, founded since 2019, as well as companies that have been taken over as part of succession. Only already established companies can participate in the competition (registration in the commercial register is required).

What criteria are evaluated?

The jury, composed of experienced individuals from KfW, promotional banks, politics, and the business sector, evaluates business ideas based on the following criteria (not all criteria need to be fulfilled simultaneously):

  • Business idea and creativity
  • Degree of innovation of the product or service
  • Social responsibility and societal value
  • Ecological sustainability
  • Business success and market positioning
  • Promotion of a social, integrative, and diverse work environment

How can you apply?

You fill out an online application form (you need to register for this). The form can be saved and edited at different times. Information requested includes, among others, revenue, profit, and number of employees. For more information, there is a guidebook and FAQs available.

How does the KfW Start-up Award proceed?

You can apply via the online form until July 1, 2024.

One company will be awarded from each federal state and receive a prize of €1,000 each. The companies awarded at the state level will then compete for the national award, which is endowed with an additional prize money of €9,000. Additionally, a special prize of €5,000 will be awarded to a company that particularly impresses the jury. Following the competition, an audience award will be determined through online voting, also endowed with €5,000.

Special award by KfW Capital for "Best Female Investor" and "Best Impact Investor"
Furthermore, KfW Capital, the subsidiary of KfW responsible for growth capital business, presents the KfW Capital Award. This is awarded in the categories "Best Female Investor" and "Best Impact Investor" and is associated with €5,000 each. This year, there will also be a special award from all applications in both award categories – namely in the category "Best Emerging Manager". With this award, KfW Capital aims to draw attention to the important topics of gender, impact, and emerging managers for the further development of the venture capital ecosystem.

When is the closing event for the KfW Start-up Award 2024?

All award winners will be honored in a ceremonial event in Berlin on November 7, 2024. They will be covered by the TV channel n-tv in a special broadcast. The companies will be supported by a PR agency in marketing their success stories and have the chance to be featured in a television report.