With Duisburg in Duisburg

About us

The garage DU Startup Challenge is sponsored by Duisburg Business & Innovation (DBI) and the City of Duisburg together with municipal companies of the city. These municipal companies are Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft (DVV), Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg (WBD), GEBAG Duisburger Baugesellschaft, Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr and Sparkasse Duisburg. Duisburg Business & Innovation (DBI) is responsible for, organises and hosts the Challenge.

We want to rethink business and make Duisburg a strong business location. Hand in hand with the city, we focus on the (inter)national marketing of Duisburg as a business location. In doing so, we lead the way in economic development and convince others of Duisburg's value as a business location with a promising future. The focus of our work, ideas, matching platforms and projects is the creation of new qualified jobs in Duisburg. [


The city of Duisburg is a service provider for approximately 500,000 citizens. Duisburg is the main centre of the Lower Rhine region, but is also part of the Ruhr area and the Rhine rail. Duisburg is on its way to becoming a SmartCity. Structural change has made Duisburg the largest logistics location in Europe. Digitalisation is changing the face of the city positively and sustainably. An exciting process for which we are looking for innovative people who actively shape the change.


Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH (DVV) is a multi-service group in the areas of supply, mobility, IT services and services. The group includes around 30 companies such as Stadtwerke Duisburg, Netze Duisburg, Duisburger Verkehrsgesellschaft, octeo Multiservices and DCC Duisburg CítyCom. With more than 4,350 employees, the DVV Group is one of the major employers in Duisburg and makes a decisive contribution to the provision of an efficient infrastructure in the large city with around 500,000 inhabitants


Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg is one of the most important municipal companies in the city of Duisburg. One major field of activity is waste disposal and city cleaning. But we are also responsible for urban drainage, the planning and maintenance of the municipal playgrounds, the upkeep of green spaces, parks and botanical gardens as well as the operation of the cemeteries and the crematorium. But we are also responsible for maintaining the urban infrastructure, flood protection and watercourse maintenance and development.

We see 5G as a key technology for real-time communication in the municipal Internet of Things. Today, we are already moving into the Internet of Things (IoT) and are testing autonomous sweepers and various sensors, e.g. in waste bins or to detect queues at the recycling centre. For example, we see potential in 5G real-time data transmission for digital twins of critical infrastructures or for collecting environmental data. Climate extremes such as heat waves and floods are also increasing in Duisburg. As a contribution to urban climate resilience, we therefore emphasise water-sensitive urban development, e.g. through the use of tree rigs with sensor technology or the exploration of innovative ways to sustainably manage water as a resource - for example by founding the Duisburg Rain Agency to promote land unsealing. We are also already using sweepers, waste collection vehicles and cars with electric and hydrogen drives on the City of Duisburg's path to greater environmental neutrality. We have set ourselves the goal of making our fleet locally emission-free by 2030.


GEBAG was founded in 1872 as Duisburger Gemeinnützige Baugesellschaft AG and is today one of the oldest housing associations in Germany. Almost 200 employees look after a portfolio of over 12,500 flats, a good 170 commercial properties and over 3,400 garages and parking spaces and do their best every day to move Duisburg forward. GEBAG offers a home to over 35,000 Duisburgers.


With around 1,000 employees and 20 staffed locations, we are by far the largest provider of financial services in our Duisburg and Kamp-Lintfort business region. As a committed and innovative credit institution, we are good for everyone: for our customers, our employees and our region.


Together we achieve more!

With this motto and the cooperative idea behind it, we, our 302 employees, 18 trainees and our approximately 74 thousand customers stand today as Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr with a balance sheet total of approximately 2.17 billion euros as a large cooperative bank in the Ruhr region. True to the basic cooperative idea, Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr supports people from the region and promotes projects in the region with around 500 thousand euros annually through donations and sponsorships. In our 16 branches - distributed in Duisburg, Oberhausen, Mülheim and Ratingen-Lintorf - we want to be a social and democratic bank for our members, customers and employees according to the guiding principles of this idea with self-help, self-responsibility and self-administration.



A five-member jury, consisting of members of the shareholders and sponsoring partners of Duisburg Business & Innovation GmbH, determines a shortlist based on the findings and recommendations of the experts and ultimately decides on the winners. The jury consists of Martin Murrack (City of Duisburg), Marcus Wittig (Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft), Thomas Patermann (Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg), Bernd Wortmeyer (Gebag), Helge Kipping (Sparkasse Duisburg), Thomas Diederichs (Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr) and Rasmus C. Beck (Duisburg Business & Innovation).

Marcus Wittig

Chairman of the Board

Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH

Rasmus C. Beck


Duisburg Business & Innovation GmbH

Thomas Diederichs

Speaker of the Board

Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr eG

Helge Kipping

Member of the Board

Sparkasse Duisburg AöR

Bernd Wortmeyer

Managing Director

GEBAG Duisburger Baugesellschaft mbH

Thomas Patermann

Speaker of the Board

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg AöR

Martin Murrack

City Manager and Treasurer as well as Chairman of the "garage DU" Advisory Board (Advisory Board)

City of Duisburg

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is the advisory board of the Start-up Challenge garage DU. The experience and competence of the members are in demand at a joint workshop, where networking with the founders turns ideas into custom-fit solutions adapted for the location, as well as at the final presentation with award ceremony (Demo Day).

Frank Wittig

Managing Partner

Wittig GmbH

Alexander Kranki


Krankikom GmbH

Dr. Marie Jaroni

Head of Decarbonization

thyssenkrupp Steel

Martin Murrack

City Manager and Treasurer as well as Chairman of the "garage DU" Advisory Board

Stadt Duisburg

Felix Neugart


NRW Global Business GmbH

Prof. Dr. Uli Paetzel

Chairman of the Board


Ulrich Grillo

Chairman of the Board

Grillo-Werke AG

Thomas Maaßen


Rhenus Transport GmbH & Co. KG

Dr. Stefan Dietzfelbinger


Niederrheinische Industrie- und Handelskammer Duisburg-Wesel-Kleve zu Duisburg

Prof. Pedro Jose Marron

GUIDE - Centre for Start-ups and Innopreneurship at the University of Duisburg-Essen


The experts for garage DU contribute significantly to the analysis and selection of the most promising innovations for Duisburg. Their task is to screen the applications and accompany the start-ups at the workshop.


Bernhard Schröder

Head of Research Transfer & Head of GUIDE - Centre for Start-ups and Innopreneurship at the University of Duisburg-Essen

University Duisburg-Essen | GUIDE

Ulf C. Reichardt

Chairman of the Management Board


Christian Lüdtke

Co-Founder & CEO

Uwe Kerkmann



Sandra Altmann

Corporate Development and Central Services, Authorised Signatory

GEBAG Duisburger Baugesellschaft mbH

Markus Belitzki

Executive Board Officer for Digitalisation and Innovation

Volksbank Rhein-Ruhr eG

Jürgen Schnitzmeier



Sebastian Beck

Head of Urban Drainage Division

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg AöR

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Stöhr

University Duisburg-Essen | ZHO/ Optoelectronics

Wolfgang Regitz

Higher Education Officer / Representative

City of Duisburg

Felicitas Dudziak

Head of Quality Assurance and Water Protection Drinking water production

Netze Duisburg GmbH

Sebastian Limburg

Duisburger Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH

Oliver Kuschel



Beatrice Kamper

Authorised signatory | Head of Project Development

Duisburger Baugesellschaft mbH

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Kaiser

University Duisburg-Essen

Dr. David Hoffmann

Head of Digital Innovation and Transformation

WBD.digital – WBD-V

Andreas Gonschior

Head of Digitalisation

Stadt Duisburg

Johannes Franke

startport GmbH