The North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digitalization is rewarding digital, “OUT OF THE BOX” thinking start-ups from North Rhine-Westphalia with a brand new competition. The twist: anyone can nominate a start-up pursuing a digital business model at outofthebox.nrw and can help the start-up to get into the final by voting online. The finalists will present themselves to a jury of investors and experts at the PIRATE Summit 2020 for the chance to win a share of the cash prize totalling EUR 50,000.
OUT OF THE BOX.NRW is not only accessible online – the competition is currently on a tour of North Rhine-Westphalia with the support of the NRW.BANK. A walk-in box is stopping at several locations to give visitors the chance to hand in their nominations directly.
The journey to the final: if the company accepts the nomination, they are in the game and must collect as many votes as possible starting from April 2020. But a start-up cannot nominate themselves – they have to be put forward by someone else. The finalists will ultimately be invited to the big pitch final where they will present their business ideas live on stage to potential customers and investors in the context of the PIRATE Summit in June 2020. The final will be the central happening of the opening evening of the internationally renowned start-up event. Here, the winners of the first three places and the prize money (1st place: EUR 25,000, 2nd place: EUR 15,000, 3rd place: EUR 10,000) will be decided.

About the PIRATE Summit
In 2020 the PIRATE Summit will be held in Cologne for the 10th time. It is considered the most exceptional start-up conference in Germany, in part due to the venue, the Odonien, a well-known centre for culture and the arts in Cologne. More than 1,000 people will be taking part, primarily early stage start-ups and a number of high calibre investors and companies. The goal of the summit is to bring together creative minds through expert sessions, workshops and pitches, to allow knowledge to be passed on, and to celebrate entrepreneurship.