Investor`s choice Jan 14, 2021

Bavarian start-up competitions in 2021

Bavaria continues to establish itself as an ideal location for start-ups. This results in many start-ups and young companies still being able to prove themselves on the market with imaginative ideas. Supporting young start-ups during the first few years in particular is crucial for their future success. The state and Bavarian networks are responding accordingly – a large number of competitions for start-ups in Bavaria will also be held in 2021.

Competitions all over Bavaria by BayStartUP

BayStartUP is the Bavarian start-up network for founders, investors and industry. As one of the most important contact points for innovative companies looking for capital, BayStartUP is also offering four business plan competitions in 2021:


The three-phase competitions share the same deadlines and are identical in structure. In the first phase, the start-ups present their business ideas and their benefits for the customer. In the second phase, the focus is on marketing and sales, before the final phase deals with the concrete realisation and financing of the pitches. The special feature of the competitions is that it is possible to enter any phase and the possibilities of winning are renewed for each stage. So there is a chance to win in an advanced phase without having entered the one before.

The winners of the third phase of the Munich Business Plan Competition 2020: 1st place NEUREVO (centre), 2nd place Manyfolds UG (left), 3rd place qbound GmbH (right)

In addition to the prize money for the finalists, the cooperation with experts from different industries proves to be a real advantage for all entrants. Founders gain practical experience and receive professional feedback on the individual business plan processes, and these kinds of events also prove to be an excellent opportunity to make contacts and find potential partners and investors.

The future is founded on digital innovations

The steadily growing importance of the digital world is of great interest to many young start-ups. As a result, several start-up competitions will be held in this sector in 2021. The Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy supports innovative companies to promote the digitisation and development of new technologies.

Start?Zuschuss! is a competition for technology-focused start-ups in the digitisation sector. Entrants submit an application which is assessed by an external jury. The selected companies win financial support of up to €36,000 for one year.

The Digital Innovations Start-up Competion by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi)has a similar focus but different structure. This focuses on start-ups that offer products or services in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). The last BMWi start-up competition in 2019 consisted of two rounds. In the first round, entrants submitted a outline of their ideas, and the 50 best were invited to the second round, in which the outline was revised with new insights. In both rounds, up to six ideas were awarded a starting capital of €32,000 each, and 15 others received a cash prize of €7,000 each. Registrations for the next start-up competition are expected to be possible in spring 2021.

Active support for companies from all industries

Bavaria is proving to be a great location for start-ups in many respects. In addition to a flourishing economy and a large number of workshops, there is a suitable competition for every start-up in Bavaria – regardless of the industry or the company’s development stage. These kinds of first experiences in the business world in front of an audience of professional experts prepare the company for the following years with partners from other industries. The following is a list of the most important start-up competitions in Bavaria in 2021, including the application deadline: 

BayStartUP Business Plan Competitions: regional competitions for start-ups, divided into three phases:
1st Business idea and its customer benefits (application by 19.01.2021).
2. Marketing and sales (application by 16.03.2021).
3. Realisation, capital requirements and turnover planning (application by 18.05.2021) – Entrants in the Swabian and Ideenreich competition apply for the second and third phase for the Munich branch.

BMWi Digital Innovations Start-up Competition: Competition for start-ups with innovative ideas in information and communication technology (application expected from spring 2021).

Plan B – Bio-based. Business. Bavaria: Business plan competition for bio-based business ideas. Award event and prize-giving ceremony for the 2020 competition on 08.02.2021 (application for the 2021 competition still to be announced).

Start?Zuschuss!: Competition for technology-focused start-ups in the field of digitisation (application by 18.01.2021).

IHK-Gründerpreis Mittelfranken: : Award for young entrepreneurs by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Nuremberg for Middle Franconia. Competition postponed from 2020 to 2021 (application details still to be announced).

Gründerpreis Ingolstadt: Promotion of start-ups and implementation of ideas after submission of a business model canvas with the help of a coach (application by 28.02.2021).

Generation-D: Promotes student projects and offers an introduction to the world of entrepreneurship (application from 03.01.2021).

Kommunal? Digital!: Competition by the Bavarian State Ministry of Digital Affairs for young companies with digitisation solutions for municipalities (application by 12.02.2021).

Do you have a successful start-up and are you interested in an undertaking in Bavaria? Then apply for our free of charge “Ois Easy” start-up programme. We have developed this package together with BayStartUP and Gründerland Bayern to give young companies from abroad a smooth start in Bavaria.


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