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Gründerpreis NRW


Looking forward to the agony of choice: An eight-member jury chaired by Professor Christine Volkmann, holder of the chair in Business Creation and Economic Development at the University of Wuppertal, sifts through all the submissions, decides on ten nominees and determines the winners of the 2019 GRÜNDERPREIS NRW.

Criteria include the following

  • commercial success
  • the number of jobs created
  • the creativity of the business idea
  • the compatibility of family life and work commitments
  • the acceptance of environmental responsibility and social commitment


Professor Christine K. Volkmann

Christine K. Volkmann

University of Wuppertal

Holder of the UNESCO chair in Entrepreneurship and Intercultural Management

Holder of the chair in Business Creation and Economic Development

Chairman of the Board of the Jackstädt Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research

Photo © Özlem Eryigit

NRW has unique entrepreneurial potential worldwide. To create businesses and thus make a fundamental contribution to the sustainable development of society: That is the central intention of the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW. We are looking forward to innovative start-ups again this year.

- Professor Christine K. Volkmann

Daniel Bartel

Daniel Bartel

Cultivator of good ideas, social entrepreneur & innovation nerd at MAK3it GmbH

Regional spokesperson in Düsseldorf for the Federal Association of German Start-Ups (BVDS e.V.)

NRW’s state representative for Social Entrepreneurship Network Germany (SEND e.V.)

Photo © Daniel Bartel

The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW emboldens courageous entrepreneurs! These pioneers are creating innovations and the jobs of the future. As a juror, I focus on sustainable and responsible business models.

- Daniel Bartel

Claudia Brendt

Claudia Brendt

Director of the Rhineland division of the funding advisory organisation NRW.BANK

Photo © Lokomotiv

As a banker, I look at the profitability and earning power of the company. We have already discovered seven model companies through the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW, all of which are examples of successful start-ups. We want to build on this and also give this year's winners a stage on which they can attract a lot of attention.

- Claudia Brendt

Thomas Grigutsch

Thomas Grigutsch

Business Unit Manager for Start-Up Support and Business Development

Bergische IHK Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid

Photo © Thomas Grigutsch

Many people have vague ideas of becoming self-employed. The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW has an enormously important function here.
It gives a face to the topic of founding a business and provides motivation those with an idea in their head.

- Thomas Grigutsch

Gabor Leisten

Gabor Leisten

Head of Department for Management Consultancy of the Dortmund Chamber of Trade

Member of the steering group for STARTERCENTER NRW

Representative of the NRW Chambers of Trade

Photo © Gabor Leisten

If we want to secure a future for the economy in our region, we need entrepreneurs who use pioneering business ideas and specialist know-how to stimulate entrepreneurial culture and sustainably strengthen SMEs. The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW therefore regularly recognises exemplary young companies, puts their commitment and zest for action in the spotlight, and actively promotes entrepreneurial culture in NRW.

- Gabor Leisten

Dr Meike Rabanus

Dr. Meike Rabanus

Head of the Department of Company Start-Ups, STARTERCENTER NRW

Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Photo © Dr Meike Rabanus

The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW is one of the most lucrative competitions nationwide. It also offers a great stage for entrepreneurs and shows how diverse and lively the entrepreneurial scene in North Rhine-Westphalia is.

- Dr Meike Rabanus

Jochen Schröder

Jochen Schröder

Managing Director of GWS

Board member of the Association of Business Development and Development Companies in NRW

Photo © Jochen Schröder

Company founders are interesting people: It is a question of mentality, namely the unconditional wish for self-employment and self-initiative that characterises them. I also see particular potential in successful company succession, because the coming years will see a generation-related transfer process occur in many companies.

- Jochen Schröder

Anna Yona

Anna Yona

Founder of Wildling Shoes GmbH

Winner of the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2018

Photo © Anna Yona

The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW supported us in spreading our vision of making a difference. As part of the jury for the 2019 GRÜNDERPREIS NRW, I am very pleased to be able to pass this experience on to other exciting companies.

- Anna Yona