In 2022, the Free State of Saxony will award the best innovative business ideas and start-up concepts with the Saxon Start-up Prize for the 22nd time. The competition, which is open to all sectors and technologies, supports founders and young companies in further developing their idea or business concept and making it visible. The winners receive prize money totaling 50,000 euros. On behalf of the Saxon Ministry of Economic Affairs, futureSAX, the innovation platform of the Free State of Saxony, will provide technical support and public relations for the start-up projects. The countdown for the submission of application documents has begun: Founders can still submit their concepts at www.futureSAX.de/gruenderpreis until March 9, 2022.
Saxony’s Minister of Economic Affairs Martin Dulig is looking forward to an exciting competition. “Our innovation ecosystem is first-class. For the 22nd time, the Founders’ Prize makes Saxony’s founding spirit and the innovation potential of the Free State visible – across all sectors, in urban as well as rural areas. And the competition brings added value for all participants: They benefit from raising their profile by gaining access to the more than 9,000 contacts of the futureSAX network. Excellent researchers, established and innovative entrepreneurs, capital providers and many other bright minds are on hand to support the founders.”
Marina Heimann, Managing Director of futureSAX, commented: “We want to support and accompany founders, and those who want to become founders, in their ideas and thus strengthen the culture of innovation in the Free State. We look forward to submissions of social, sustainable solutions as well as technical visions, across industries and throughout Saxony, because there are no creative limits to innovative ideas.”
Individuals, founding teams and young companies with existing or future headquarters in Saxony can apply. Applications can also be submitted in the pre-founding phase. The start-up process does not have to be completed at the time of application, but must be aimed for up to and including 2024. In the case of start-ups and growth companies, the founding process must have taken place no more than three years ago.
Minister Dulig continued, “A vibrant startup scene contributes to solving future issues such as e-mobility and hydrogen, sustainability, digitalization, health and many other technological and social issues. Take your chance to further develop your concept and make your innovation visible at the competition, which is open to all sectors and technologies!”
futureSAX Founders Forum
The futureSAX Founders’ Forums take place parallel to the competition and provide all participants with optimal preparation for the application process. The first Founders’ Forum took place on February 3 of this year on the topic of “Developing and communicating business models”. Further important impulses are provided by the Founders’ Forums on March 3 on the topic of “Developing an investor-ready financing concept” and on May 3 on the topic of “Presenting your own idea convincingly”.
As an innovation platform, futureSAX not only offers support in the area of founding, but also raises awareness for innovative entrepreneurship and exemplary transfer services from science to business through a variety of measures as a central contact point in the Saxon innovation ecosystem. All information is available at www.futureSAX.de
Background: Saxon Founders Award
In 1999, the IT business plan competition was launched for the first time, which also gave rise to the futureSAX brand. Just one year later, the first prizes were awarded for the overarching business plan competition. By 2012, this start-up competition, which was later renamed “Ideas Competition”, had developed further and since then established a network of founders from all over Saxony around it. Since 2018, the competition has been called the “Saxon Founders’ Prize” and has recorded around 70 prizes awarded since its inception, including special prizes. In 2020, the Free State of Saxony posted a new participation record with over 120 entries.
First-place winners in the past five years include watttron GmbH from Freital (2017), wisefood GmbH from Langenbernsdorf (2018), wandelbots GmbH from Dresden (2019), Morpheus Space GmbH (2020) from Dresden and Additive Drives GmbH from Dresden (2021).
All award winners of the past years as well as all special awards can be found in the futureSAX innovation radar.
Background: Saxony’s “InnoStartBonus” start-up support program
Another support option for innovative founders in Saxony is the “InnoStartBonus”. The former model project has become a central component of Saxony’s support for start-ups. For this reason, on February 1, 2022, the cabinet confirmed the new funding guidelines presented by the Saxon Ministry of Economics for the continuation of the program. Both the funding amount and the child bonus will be increased by 50 euros per month – to now 1,050 euros and 150 euros, respectively. Secondary employment of up to 20 hours per week is now possible alongside the start-up project. For the first time, start-up projects can be submitted under the new conditions in the period from March 17 to May 11, 2022 in the application portal of futureSAX GmbH. The granting authority is the Sächsische Aufbaubank – Förderbank – (SAB).
Source: Press release SMWA from 16.02.2022