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Out of the Box.NRW Award

The OUT OF THE BOX.NRW competition stands for the most innovative start-ups from North Rhine-Westphalia, which represent the top 3 of 2024.
See the TOP 3 OF 2024Apply now!

Why apply?

50k in
prize money

The NRW.BANK will be handing out €50,000 to the top three startups in the region ‑ making it one of the highest prize awards in Germany.

Make the cut for “Top 24 in 2024”

Boost awareness for your brand and attract the attention of some big names in business, media, and venture capital, including our jury partners

Pitch in the
Big League

Seize the chance to present your digital startup idea to an audience of high-profile investors, corporate decision-makers and a wide range of potential customers.

Calling all digital startups from NRW: This is your chance to shine!

Apply now!

Who are we looking for?


Forward-thinking startups that focus on digital processes, services or business models
Ootb 01

Homebase NRW

Your startup must be located in North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW)
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Early stage

Your startup must have been founded between 01.01.2021-31.12.2023
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Our VC Partners

Simon Capital Schwarz
Coparion Logo Co Office Schwarz
Realyze Logo Schwatz Transparent
Logo Transparenter Hintergrund

A strong alliance

Ak Wirtschaft, Industrie, Klimaschutz Und Energie Schwarz Rgb Englisch
Nrwbank Schwarz
Hinterlandlogo Schwarz
Founders Foundation Logo Schwarz (1)
Mona Neubaur
With the OUT OF THE BOX award, we support the dedication of our founders and honor the courageous and creative minds who are shaping the digital and sustainable transformation of NRW with their entrepreneurial ideas. Because we are committed to support their growth, spread their innovations and to successfully connect them with corporates as well as investors. 

- Mona Neubaur

Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Dominik Gross
The 'Top24 in 2024' list will put NRW's best start-ups on the radar! By working closely with investors and the NRW-wide start-up network, founders not only gain visibility but also the necessary market access - to capital and potential customers. We are looking forward to hosting the final of the competition for the first time at this year's Hinterland of Things conference - because it will be bigger than ever before!"

- Dominik Gross

Co-Founder & CEO Founders Foundation gGmbH
Nrw Bank Foto
Start-ups are shaping the future for North Rhine-Westphalia. With their innovations, they are driving digitalization forward and developing the technologies with which we can create a climate-neutral and sustainable transformation. With the OUT OF THE BOX.NRW competition, we are helping to ensure that these ideas become known and can grow quickly.

- Gabriela Pantring

Deputy Chairwoman of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK

Startup Ecosystem NRW

Digihub Bonn Lang
Digihub Düsseldorf Schwarz
Digihub Muenster Schwarz
Digitalhub Aachen Schwarz
Ruhrhub Schwarz