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10 of the best startup competitions in Europe

Joining a pitch competition or innovation award can translate into a lot of benefits for early-stage startups. For example: Increased visibility, valuable feedback, media exposure, prize money/value, and good networking opportunities. Of course, bringing home the trophy is a bonus. If your startup is looking for a stage to kickstart its debut, here are 10 startup competitions in Europe worth checking out.

Web Summit (5-8 November 2018) – The Pitch competition of Web Summit is open to any ALPHA or BETA startup exhibiting at Web Summit and gives them an opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of investors and journalists from around the world.The conference has a reputation for drawing an influential audience of tech insiders, investors, media, and startups and is happening in Lisbon, every November. The 2017 edition of their pitch competition saw a cash prize of €50,000 and a place on a mentoring programme at Daimler AG.

TC-BattlefieldStartup Battlefield (Deadline: March 22, 2018) – Startup Battlefield is probably one of the best-known competitions and allows the world’s top early-stage startups to compete for the Disrupt Cup, a €50,000 prize, and exposure to key industry investors. TechCrunch hosts the Battlefield a few times a year, once at each of their three Disrupt conferences and also in new and emerging markets.

New Energy Challenge (summer 2018) – The competition is an initiative of Shell in partnership with YES!Delft and Rockstart to recognize and reward the talent of the most extraordinary startups that can shape the transition towards cleaner energy. The program is open to European and Israeli startups with ideas and tools to help the energy sector transition to a low-carbon system. The winner gets a €100,000 convertible loan from Shell Technology Ventures as well as exclusive coaching from Shell experts and access to Shell’s global network.

Get in the ring (30 May – 1 June) – The competition is a featured event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week and has introduced a new unique pitching concept. Startups getting in the ring will battle one on one, during five different rounds, focused on a relevant topic that all investors are interested in. The winner of the National Finals will proceed to the Regional Finals and claim a spot at the International Finals for a chance to compete in front of a jury panel, international investors and a live audience to claim an investment of up to €1,000,000.

Seedstars Summit (12 April 2018) – Seedstars World promotes, connects and invests up to $1 million in emerging market startups through its exclusive startup competition in over 60+ countries. The grand finale is happening in Lausanne in 2018, and will gather 65+ handpicked startups coming from Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as investors, business angels, incubators, NGOs and journalists from all over the world for an international and unique hands-on networking experience.

BBVA Open Talent Competition (27 February – 3 May 2018) – The world’s biggest fintech competition is aimed at providing support to and collaborating with promising startups shaping the future of banking. As part of the tenth anniversary, BBVA will be awarding three prizes: Fintech for People, Business and Future. The Prize fund is €50,000, plus immersion week at the bank, exposure at a major global banking conference, fast-tracked onto PoC programme, and a slot at BBVA’s Open Innovation Global Summit in Madrid.

EIT Digital Challenge (Deadline: September/October) – The EIT Digital Challenge is aimed at fast-growing European technology startups that are offering digital tech applied to industry, cities, wellbeing, infrastructure and finance. The best team per category will receive twelve months in the EIT Digital Accelerator worth €50,000 and a cash prize of €50,000. The contest aims to detect the best deep digital technology scale-ups that promise to improve the life of Europe’s citizens and strengthen the economy.

European Social Innovation Competition (20 March – 27 April 2018) – A €150,000 challenge prize by the European Commission for the three best ideas to help ensure everyone in Europe benefits from the opportunities created by technological change. Organised in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, the Competition is open to all Horizon2020 associated countries citizens to come up with solutions to problems affecting our society. This year’s competition will launch on 20 March 2018.

Pioneers Challenge (25-25 May 2018) – The annual celebration of technology in Vienna’s Hofburg Palace aims to inspire, empower and connect people around technology and entrepreneurship. The programme includes a selection of the 500 most promising early-stage tech startups identified in cooperation with the global tech community and selected key players. A jury will nominate the most outstanding 10 teams. The winning team gets the Pioneer award and €25.000. 

EU-Startups Summit (24 April 2018)- The EU-Startups Summit is the annual flagship event of EU-Startups.com. The 2018 edition in Barcelona will gather 750 founders, startup enthusiasts, corporates, angel investors, VCs, as well as media people from all across Europe. The pitch competition will involve 15 of Europe’s most exciting early-stage startups, competing for a prize package worth more then €65,000. The application phase is already over and saw 507 applications from across Europe. There are still a few tickets left for this year’s EU-Startups Summit. Wanna join us? Get you tickets now!

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Bojana Trajkovska
Bojana Trajkovska
Bojana is a startup enthusiast from the Balkan region. Currently exploring the entrepreneurial community in Italy. Passionate reader and traveller.

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