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Future Hamburg Award 2021: Ideas for city of future wanted

Global startups’ business ideas on transport, logistics and hydrogen wanted – apply now

Founders in all corners of the globe with business models focusing on logistics, mobility and hydrogen are invited to apply for the second Future Hamburg Award, which was launched during a virtual press conference Thursday (January 28) with delegates from San Francisco and Hamburg. Applications are being accepted until the deadline of March 31, 2021 on The accolade honours innovations for tomorrow’s cities, which face similar challenges as hubs of business and transport. The contest seeks to function as a bridgehead between Europe and the United States. The winning teams will be invited to Silicon Valley to gain fresh impetus for their sustainable innovations and to put their ideas to the test in Hamburg’s real-world laboratory of digital mobility. 

Focus on mobility, logistics and hydrogen

Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator for Economics, remarked: “The solutions to the most important problems of our time can be found in logistics, mobility and, above all, in connection with green hydrogen. We want to contribute to the sustainable, innovative power of cities using the Future Hamburg Award. Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, CEO of Hamburg Marketing GmbH and Managing Director of Hamburg Invest, one of the initiators of the award, added: “We offer the world’s best startups a real laboratory to test their business models in one of Europe’s most innovative metropolises.”

The competition is open to international, national and regional startups with digital, sustainable business models and at least one proof of concept. The entries will be assessed by a jury of international experts including Ralf Belusa, Managing Director of Hapag Lloyd AG, Gunnar Froh, founder and CEO of Wunder Mobility, and Markus Sontheimer, CIO/CDO and member of the Management Board of Schenker AG. 

Business boost – Silicon Valley and Hamburg’s Reallabor 

The renowned international innovation platform, Plug and Play Tech Center, is the main partner of this year’s award. Plug and Play’s network of more than 30,000 startups and 400 companies makes it one of the leading players in the global startup sector. The Hamburg-based venture capitalist Am Hafen Capital and the Hamburg Port Authority’s (HPA) homePort are among the other partners. Both companies will lend their support to one startup each when testing their innovative business models at the RealLab HH. Am Hafen Capital has earmarked a six-figure investment sum for this purpose, while HPA is making its test site exclusively available to the relevant startup. The winning team gains the opportunity to take part in Plug and Play’s accelerator programme in Hamburg and Silicon Valley. During its four-week stint in Silicon Valley, the winner will also have a chance to build an international network.

Future Hamburg Award as a launching pad 

Launched by Hamburg Marketing and Hamburg Invest’s Startup Unit, the first Future Hamburg Award attracted 120 entries from every continent in 2019. The Portuguese tech startup, Heptasense, and the Hamburg-based Lignopure green tech firm, which recently secured an investment worth millions, triumphed in that year. 

Hamburg to become centre of forward-looking mobility 

The City of Hamburg is on course to become an international centre of forward-looking mobility and is now gearing up to host the ITS World Congress 2021 (Intelligent Transport Systems and Services) from October 11-15, 2021. Digital technologies are set to make urban mobility and logistics in Hamburg safer, more efficient and environment-friendlier. The Hamburg Metropolitan Region is positioning itself as a forward-looking centre of green hydrogen and is developing solutions along its entire value chain in the heart of Europe. The region is particularly well suited for establishing a green hydrogen sector, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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