Jury

Looking forward to the agony of choice: An eight-member jury chaired by Professor Christine Volkmann, holder of the chair in Business Creation and Economic Development at the University of Wuppertal, sifts through all the submissions, decides on ten nominees and determines the winners of the 2021 GRÜNDERPREIS NRW.

Criteria include the following

  • commercial success
  • the number of jobs created
  • the creativity of the business idea
  • the compatibility of family life and work commitments
  • the acceptance of environmental responsibility and social commitment

Members:

Prof. Dr. Christine K. Volkmann

Christine K. Volkmann
Photo © Özlem Eryigit

  • University of Wuppertal
  • Holder of the UNESCO chair in Entrepreneurship and Intercultural Management
  • Holder of the chair in Business Creation and Economic Development
  • Chairman of the Board of the Jackstädt Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research
NRW has unique entrepreneurial potential worldwide. To create businesses and thus make a fundamental contribution to the sustainable development of society: That is the central intention of the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW. We are looking forward to innovative start-ups again this year.
Prof. Dr. Christine K. Volkmann

Daniel Bartel

Daniel Bartel
Photo © Daniel Bartel

  • Cultivator of good ideas, social entrepreneur & innovation nerd at MAK3it GmbH
  • Regional spokesperson in Düsseldorf for the Federal Association of German Start-Ups (BVDS e.V.)
  • NRW’s state representative for Social Entrepreneurship Network Germany (SEND e.V.)
  • Member of the board NRWalley e.V.
The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW emboldens courageous entrepreneurs! These pioneers are creating innovations and the jobs of the future. As a juror, I focus on sustainable and responsible business models.
Daniel Bartel

Claudia Brendt

Claudia Brendt
Photo © Lokomotiv

Director of the Rhineland division of the funding advisory organisation NRW.BANK

Creative business ideas, courage, digitalisation and innovations are thrusting North Rhine-Westphalia into the spotlight. We will be supporting and promoting this for the tenth time through the 2021 GRÜNDERPREIS NRW award. It’s easy – just register and come along.
Claudia Brendt

Thomas Grigutsch

  

Thomas Grigutsch
Bild © Thomas Grigutsch

  • Deputy Managing Director Bergische IHK (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Deputy political spokesman for business start-ups and business support of Chambers of Commerce in NRW
Those who set up a business are taking a risk. By doing so, they get the amazing opportunity to realise their vision, make their dreams a reality and simply to show what they are capable of. The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2021 rewards the courage of these founders and presents them as role models. These role models are important for motivating even more people to dare to follow the path towards autonomy.
Thomas Grigutsch

Birgit Neyer

Birgit Neyer
Photo © Birgit Neyer

  • CEO of Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft im Kreis Steinfurt (WESt mbH), an economic development organisation in the district of Steinfurt, works on further improving the climate for start-ups and entrepreneurship
  • has reviewed over 1,000 business plans in her career and helped to draw up many of them
  • knows the highs and lows of autonomy and starting a company from her own experience
  • is a Board Member of VWE (Verband der Wirtschaftsförderungs- und Entwicklungsgesellschaften [the association of economic development companies] in NRW)
Fortune favours the brave! And all those who follow their own path by becoming self-employed with the aim of realising their dreams are courageous and an inspiration to us all. The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW award shines a spotlight on the plethora of innovative ideas and approaches of countless founders in NRW. I hope that others will be encouraged by these fantastic examples and be inspired to shape our world of tomorrow.
Birgit Neyer

Martin Plutz

  

Martin Plutz
Bild © MWIDE

  • Founder & CEO of oculavis GmbH
  • Winner of the Gründerpreis NRW 2020 and many other awards
  • Start-up Mentor at RWTH Innovation GmbH
  • Fraunhofer alumnus
Winning the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2020 award significantly expanded our network thanks to the media attention it brought. I am looking forward to acting as juror this year and bringing my experience as a founder.
Martin Plutz

Dr. Meike Rabanus

Meike Rabanus
Photo © Dr. Meike Rabanus

  • Head of the Department of Company Start-Ups, STARTERCENTER NRW
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
The GRÜNDERPREIS NRW is one of the most lucrative competitions nationwide. It also offers a great stage for entrepreneurs and shows how diverse and lively the entrepreneurial scene in North Rhine-Westphalia is.
Dr. Meike Rabanus

Kristina Pelz

  

Kristina Pelz
Bild © Freistil Fotografie

  • Head of Department at the commercial management consultancy for the Düsseldorf Chamber of Crafts
Successive entrepreneurs give established companies perspective on the future. They demonstrate courage and come with fresh ideas – similar to a start-up. It’s therefore only fair for effective successors to also have a chance to win the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2021 award.
Kristina Pelz