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Future Hamburg Award: looking for the best startups to forge the city of the future

The 2021 edition of the startup award is now open for submissions.

jean pierre fumey



Future Hamburg Award Ceremony

Metropolitan regions around the world are facing the same challenges, such as increasing traffic, rising emissions and limited space – and all of these developments call for innovative approaches. With the Future Hamburg Award, the City of Hamburg aims to support smart solutions for the city of tomorrow. Startups that contribute to a sustainable change in urban life in the areas of mobility, logistics or green hydrogen are invited to apply until 31 March 2021.

Hamburg, Germany’s second largest city and a real economic powerhouse, has a growing reputation as a hidden gem in the global startup community. Featuring one of the highest startup rates per capita, the city is currently home to more than 1,200 active startup businesses. Boasting a remarkable list of success stories such as About You, Wunder Mobility and XING, Hamburg is frequently ranked as one of Europe’s most liveable cities and is also a leader in key industries like aviation and renewable energies.

future hambourg award

Beyond that, Hamburg attracts international attention as one of the few European cities with its own startup award. With the Future Hamburg Award, the city honours sustainable innovations in the fields of mobility, logistics and hydrogen. The intention is to support founders seeking to integrate their new business approach in an urban ecosystem. These projects have the potential to become best-practice models and thus generate additional positive effects. With its international layout, Hamburg’s new startup award also serves as a bridgehead between Europe, the United States and other pioneering regions worldwide. The winners will be able to boost their business venture in Silicon Valley and in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, which maintains excellent ties with key global markets.

Our idea with the Future Hamburg Award is to offer founders a truly unique opportunity to get access to Europe’s premium test fields for new products and to develop their business model in Silicon Valley. Particularly, we will give startups the chance to test their innovation in Hamburg with one of our partners and to get in touch with relevant players,” explains Veronika Reichboth, head of the Hamburg Startup Unit and one of the initiators of the Future Hamburg Award.

Future Hamburg Award

Veronika Reichboth © Hamburg Invest

Creating sustainable value for startups

All three winners of the Future Hamburg Award 2021 will be invited by the Hamburg Startup Unit to a tailor-made three-day programme in Hamburg. The focus is on building a high-end industry network and on connecting with potential investors. Plus, an attractive first prize will be provided by Plug and Play, this year’s main partner. This leading innovation network offers a full month at their international accelerator programme in Silicon Valley. Plug and Play’s founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi, is convinced that “Hamburg can show the world how a smart city would look like, because business and society work closely together.” In addition, two major players from Hamburg will offer a bonus prize: AM HAFEN CAPITAL will provide an up to six-figure investment, while homePORT by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) will make its test site available to promising applicants.

Headermotive 02 Logo

© Hamburg Marketing_DoubleVision

Quick and easy online application process

With the Future Hamburg Award, the City of Hamburg honours international startups that demonstrate outstanding development within their industry in terms of innovation, impact and growth. This year’s edition is focused on three key industries: logistics, mobility, and green hydrogen. To be eligible, startups must be no older than five years and have at least a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Eligible startups can apply until 31 March 2021 at via a few simple steps.

Launchpad for innovative founders

The Future Hamburg Award was jointly created by Hamburg Marketing and Hamburg’s Startup Unit. In 2019, the first edition attracted 120 teams from 26 countries worldwide. The winners were Heptasense from Portugal, Humanising Autonomy from the UK as well as LignoPure from Germany – who recently secured seed funding to the tune of over 2 million euro. According to Joana Gil, co-founder and CEO of LignoPure, this was also thanks to the startup’s participation in the Future Hamburg Award: “As one of the winners of the competition, we had the unique opportunity to present our business to important investors, and we have been able to build a broad network since.”

Admission is open until 31 March 2021 at


Jean-Pierre is a polyglot communication specialist, freelance journalist, and writer for with over two decades of experience in media and public relations. He creates engaging content, manages communication campaigns, and attends conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. He brings his wealth of experience and expertise to provide insightful analysis and engaging content for's audience.

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