the innovation competition for Duisburg

About the Challenge

On the way to a modern city, we in Duisburg are looking for innovations that sustainably support the development of the city and rethink urban life. Duisburg is a city in transition. The development from a traditional industrial to a modern business and service location is progressing with great momentum.

We are looking for solutions through smart innovations based on 5G technology that intelligently uses and networks Duisburg's infrastructure. We are looking for solutions for a climate-resilient city of the future that help to overcome the challenges of weather extremes. And we are looking for solutions around hydrogen as an energy carrier that enrich the existing hydrogen network in Duisburg.

With your innovations, we want to decisively develop Duisburg as a location. Take a look at Duisburg and surprise us with your ideas. We look forward to seeing your innovative solutions or prototypes in the Garage DU.


With the introduction of 5G, a number of innovative applications will become feasible, especially in metropolitan areas and cities.

IoT solutions, e.g. in the areas of automation, mobility, infrastructure and traffic management, will experience an enormous boost from 5G technology. But it also makes new kinds of citizen services conceivable that revolutionise the use of city centres.

We want to think Duisburg in 5G and are looking for visionary solutions and products that strengthen the Smart City Duisburg.

Climate-resilient city

Making Duisburg strong and fit for the future is a multidisciplinary task.

We are looking for innovations for a climate-resilient Duisburg that help to master current challenges and at the same time strengthen the city for future generations.

We are looking for startups with solutions in the fields of water use, energy efficiency, avoidance of emission and waste or urban greening that want to find in Duisburg an exciting application area for their ideas.

Hydrogen as an energy carrier

Green hydrogen promises to be the energy supply of the future, for buildings and the industry as well as clean mobility.

Duisburg is already an important centre for the development of hydrogen technologies for the future mobility.

That’s also a reason, why we are looking for startups that want to drive hydrogen technology for mobility, transport and logistics with their solutions and be part of Duisburg's hydrogen hot spot.

What you can expect

Prize money

In the three different categories, you can receive up to 15,000 € for your business idea at the Garage DU (for 1st prize). The prize money can be used individually.

Access to the competence network

We offer access to a broad network of experts from various companies and institutions in Duisburg to expand or refine your solutions.


All shortlist participants will have contact and exchange with the experts and specialists from Duisburg and the municipal companies in Duisburg.


We offer you the opportunity to present your solutions, ideas and prototypes to potential customers and multipliers at our Demo Day, to which media representatives will als be o invited.

What we expect from you:

  • You are a start-up / company with a registered legal form - not a research team.
  • You have team spirit, a desire for innovation and for cooperation in and with Duisburg.
  • You have an idea, a prototype, a product or a solution for one of our thematic clusters
  • You describe your idea, prototype, product or service on our template (.ppt).
  • Of course, we guarantee absolute confidentiality!

If you have made it onto the shortlist:

  • You will have the chance to present your idea / prototype in a workshop and to exchange ideas with experts from the City of Duisburg and our partners.
  • Afterwards, you can develop your idea / prototype / solution further.

If you have made it into the top 5:

  • You can present your solution at the high-profile Demo Day, with a presentation of your start-up in a marketplace.

This is how you participate

08 March 2022

Start of the application period

Here we go, you can apply now.

30 April 2022

Your application

Fill out our application form with a meaningful description of your idea, solution or product by 30 April 2022 and upload it under Application. Unfortunately, it is not possible to compete in two clusters.

25 May 2022

Announcement of the shortlist

Out of all submitted ideas, up to ten finalists per cluster will be selected by a panel of experts, announced on a shortlist and invited to a workshop. The publication of the shortlist is planned for 25 May 2022.

08 June 2022

garage DU Workshop in Duisburg

In a workshop in June, you will have the opportunity to present your idea, gather initial feedback from the experts and exchange – directly on site in Duisburg.

July 2022

Adapt your ideas

Following the workshop, you will have six more than six weeks to further develop and adapt your idea, prototype, service based on the feedback and exchange. The deadline is 31 July 2022.

August 2022

Final selection

The jury will select the top 5 per theme cluster from all the entries submitted by the workshop participants. The start-ups with the best ideas, solutions and prototypes for Duisburg will be invited to the Demo Day. The top 5 will be announced on 31 August 2022.

8 September 2022

garage DU Demo-Day

A total of up to 15 finalists can present themselves to the jury, the press and selected spectators during a demo day. Three winners per theme cluster will then be awarded prizes at an awards ceremony.