Sustainability & Entrepreneurship: Latest activities at the GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center showcase the University of Cologne’s dedication to societal well-being

06/18/2020 | Well-Being Students

While Cologne students participate in a prestigious competition for projects related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Cologne's recently inaugurated GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center is visited by State Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart.

Societal outreach from the University of Cologne, like well-being, has many facets. Two crucial areas relevant here are student engagement for a better future and support for young founders who are the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center connects both.

Student engagement

Two student projects of the University of Cologne have won the Germany-wide “Enactus NationalCup 2020”. The two student start-ups “Save the grain” and “Socialbnb” are supervised at the Gateway Excellence Start-up Center of the University of Cologne and have now been selected to represent the German association and present their ideas on social entrepreneurship at the Enactus WorldCup 2020 in September. As a student association, Enactus is committed to achieving the 17 sustainability goals of the United Nations (Sustainable Development Goals) which are also at the heart of EUniWell’s mission.

The first winning start-up "Save the grain" has set itself the goal of installing 120 solar-powered grain dryers in Togo, sub-Saharan Africa, by 2023. The team of “Save the grain” aims to create a practicable drying and storage facility for the harvest to enable small farmers to store their food reliably with the help of a cooperative warehouse, thus serving the development of food security for the Togolese population.

The second winning start-up "Socialbnb" follows the approach of an alternative bed-and-breakfast exchange. On their online platform, travellers can find and book free beds in the premises of globally active NGOs. The exchange is already active in 26 countries. “Socialbnb” is also supported by the start-up grant of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Find out more here (German)!

Start-up support

Entrepreneurship is fundamentally important for societal well-being. The University of Cologne’s GATEWAY Excellence Start-up Center was visited by Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, State Minister for Economic Affairs, Digitization, Innovation and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), on June 4th 2020. The minister discussed the excellent start-up chances in the Rhineland region, met with founders supported by his Ministry via stipends, and toured GATEWAYS’s smart new office building, called ‘The Ship’. Given the exceptional circumstances, the minister also discussed the situation of founders during the Corona crisis. Minister Pinkwart stated that innovative ideas are more important than ever as society faces the Corona challenge, and that the Center, founded in 2019, comes at the right time. It is one of six large start-up centres at NRW Universities, designed to foster the research-education-business nexus in Germany’s most populous state. Find out more about the ministerial visit here (German)!