The Freiburg

Startup Competition

Welcome to SPARK, the startup competition that empowers you to transform your boldest ideas into viable products with real world impact.


It's corona times, does SPARK take place?

Indeed we are living through harsh times, nevertheless we will make SPARK happen! We find other ways to come together. For example in the form of webinars instead of in person workshops. Everything else stays the same.

I don’t have a startup idea - can I still participate?

Yes, that's not a problem. In the ‘Wild Card’ section we like to see that people bring their own crazy ideas, but if you apply in the ‘Tech’ or ‘Design’ section, no pressure we don’t expect you to bring an idea.

Can it be any startup idea?

Yes, be creative! We have no such restrictions, ideas from any fields are welcome!

How do I get the 4 ECTS points?

First note that you must be a bachelor student to be admissible. The course is formally a BOK-Kurs (Praxismodul Entrepreneurship) from the Zentrum für Schlüsselqualifikationen (ZfS). The attendance at the kickoff (2nd of May) and the demoday (11th of July) are mandatory. In addition you need to hand in a written summary of your experiences 2 weeks after the final event (3-5 pages).

Can we apply as a team?

Yes this is possible, if you apply as a team make sure to agree on a team name upfront. Just indicate this name during the application process. Every team member still has to submit the application individually, but if successful you will be confirmed collectively.

Are the workshops mandatory?

Although we think that at every workshop you can learn valuable lessons these are not mandatory. However, we think that you should participate in at least 3 workshops to get a well-rounded experience.

Do I have to pay anything?

No, be assured that at no time there will be any costs for you. Thanks to our great partners we can offer this event for free.

How do we stay in contact during the competiton?

We will create a Slack workspace with everybody on board: the participants, the mentors, the organizing team and some of the speakers.

Can every team pitch at the demo day?

In order to pitch at the demo day you need to meet the three milestones as a team. That is to say submit the pitch deck, create the website (landing page) and hand in a financial forecast.

Who will be present at the demo day?

The demo day is the grand finale on the 11th of July. There will be many people from the startup ecosystem. Among others there will be investors, entrepreneurs, researchers and many more. This event is public, feel free to invite your friends and family. Shortly we will publish a link to register for the event. As always this event is free of costs.

I have a project in progress - can I participate in the competition?

Of course you can participate! It is mainly about the progress you make during the project period. That's why we evaluate the status of each idea at the beginning of SPARK. And more important we don't want to undermine your motivation. If you are excited about your idea, you shouldn't be incentivized not to work on your idea just to be compliant.

Where will the workshops take place?

As mentioned before corona crisis forces us to update our event design. So we will have digital workshops. We make them available via Google Hangouts or Zoom and of course we will always stay in contact via Slack.

Do I need to be student to participate?

As we are a university group very naturally most of the participants will have an academic backgroup. But we are open for appliactions from all parts of society. We think that Fridays for Future has shown that high school students are not be underestimated ;-)

Do you get a certificate for participation?

If you are present at the kickoff and the demoday, and your team completed the milestones we can issue a certificate.

Will I get guidance and support during the 11 weeks?

Of course this why we are here! And it’s not only us. In the Slack workspace there will also be the mentors with their deep knowledge in fields like: Law, Finance, Marketing, Social Media, Artificial Intelligence, Environmental Studies, Engineering, Social Entrepreneurship and many more.

How big are the teams?

They can be made up of a maximum of 8 people. Ideally from every background one person is present.

How are the teams built?

At the kickoff every person with an idea is invited to pitch in front of the audience. At a next step, other participants can express their interest to join a specific idea. We iterate the process until we have complementary well-rounded teams. This process is very common and used at most startup hackathons.

What qualifications are expected from applicants?

This competition is designed to teach you entrepreneurship. So don’t be afraid if you don’t have any prior experience. Of course we are happy to welcome people that like to experiment with technology and design and of course you should be excited to meet people from other study backgrounds.

What is the language of the competition?

All official communication will be in English, so international students can participate without any problems. Of course within your team you can use any language you like.