Call for start-ups worldwide: Present your start-up at the DW Global Media Forum

The start-up contest @GMF is an exciting format which is part of the annual DW Global Media Forum (GMF). Media start-ups from around the globe are invited to pitch their ideas and business models to a global audience, take part at an incubation workshop over several days in the run-up to the event, and compete for the first place.

This event will take place on 19 and 20 June 2023, when the DW Global Media Forum is scheduled to take place for the 16th time both in person at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany and online.

The Global Media Forum is hosted by Deutsche Welle (DW) and its partners. This annual media conference offers a unique opportunity to its participants to network and strengthen relationships with inspiring representatives from a variety of interdisciplinary fields, such as digital media, politics, culture, business, development and society.

Fostering resilient journalism and civil societies: start-ups and talent in media technology and innovation

Deutsche Welle welcomes start-ups from around the world to participate in the start-up contest @GMF 2023. We are looking for visionaries who can relate to the GMF 2023 theme, Overcoming divisions.

The 16th DW Global Media Forum is held as an interactive, interdisciplinary conference designed to explore innovative solutions for media professionals around the world. It aims to foster resilient journalism and civil societies for the future – and thus to support universal democratic values.

In order to partake, you should be interested in, or preferably already be working on innovations and trends concerning the following fields:

  • Newsintelligence – how can smart tools support work in the newsroom?
  • Media Literacy – how to develop new tools to increase media literacy and thus prevent the spread of misinformation?
  • Civil Society -how to strengthen civil societies by innovative tools?
  • Internet censorship – how can we detect censorship and online shutdown while creating better mechanisms and safeguards to ensure freedom of speech?
  • Media Production – how can new production tools ensure the resilience of free media in times of crisis and disaster?
  • Local means relevant – how can we support and empower local independent media?

The Setup

This year, the start-up contest @GMF will take place in hybrid form. The majority of the event will be conducted on digital platforms, while certain parts will be produced from the DW broadcasting center in Bonn, Germany. Parts of the event will be broadcast live on Deutsche Welle on two days: June 19 and 20, 2023.

After the initial application phase, selected start-ups will be invited to participate in our incubation program. This includes three days of professional training and preparation for the final pitch session in the run-up to the DW Global Media Forum. The incubation days will take place on April 24 – 27.

The start-ups will pitch their projects to our international jury, which will select three finalists. The pitch final will be presented as part of the official GMF conference programme, and will be broadcast in the event stream during the conference.

The winners will get to enjoy global media coverage by DW media as part of the prize. In addition, the winners will also receive professional media training by Deutsche Welle Akademie.

A joint development process with DW after the pitch may be also possible further down the road; however, this is not guaranteed. DW is actively looking for innovative approaches that help support the work of the journalists in the newsroom, and also for technologies that help to ensure freedom of speech and security on the internet.

Meanwhile, all the selected start-ups will be welcomed to participate digitally as delegates at the DW Global Media Forum itself, where some of the most important issues in news and media today are being discussed in an interdisciplinary manner.


Application deadline                          | 17 April 2023

Incubation Days                                 | 24 to 27 April 2023

Pitch Day (@GMF 2023)                   | 19 June 2023

Winning Pitches (@GMF 2023)        | 20 June 2023

How to participate

Start-ups that are interested in participating can register via the following link:

Deutsche Welle, in collaboration with a high-level jury of international experts, will invite the most promising start-ups to present their pitches publicly at the Start-up contest @GMF 2023.