HomeFunding6 great reasons why startups should apply for the EIT Digital Challenge

6 great reasons why startups should apply for the EIT Digital Challenge

Editor’s Note: This post has been created in collaboration and with financial support from EIT Digital. If you’re also interested in partnering with us, just reach out.

EIT Digital is inviting fast-growing startups to apply for the sixth edition of the EIT Digital Challenge. The best ten companies will receive prizes totaling €750,000 in cash and in kind. The annual competition addresses European digital deep tech companies and the application deadline is the 14th of June. Fast-growing startups with existing customers – so called scaleups – are invited to apply in one of the following five categories: Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Finance.

Aside of the prize money, there are many other reasons for joining the EIT Digital Challenge. Below you’ll find 6 examples, highlighted by former participants.

  • Access to New Customers:

For growth-stage startups with a working product, getting (more) customers is often the highest priority. But as a young company, sometimes without established business contacts in a certain industry, it can be quite challenging. EIT Digital actively helps its startups by making introductions to valuable contacts.

“EIT Digital helped us secure a meeting with the largest hospital group in Italy, and now we’re finalising discussions for a big joint project. This happened really quickly.” Baher Al Hakim, CEO Medicus AI

“We are grateful that the EIT Digital Accelerator team is supporting us broker deals, and for the series of introductions to major customers.” Ivaylo Dachov, Managing Partner Checkpoint Cardio

  • Access to New Markets:

Startup founders usually launch in their home country first, since this is the market they know best. But with big growth ambitions, startups have to look across borders and enter new territory. EIT Digital has access to a Europe-wide network of experts and can help your startup with insights regarding the differences of each national market.

“With their local business developers and network in each key European market, the EIT Digital Accelerator provides the right ecosystem for our Europe-wide expansion.” Fabrice Pakin, CEO Ignilife

“By commercializing our solutions on a larger scale, we benefit from the expertise of the EIT Digital Accelerator team who helped us develop our presence in Europe.” François Coulloudon, CEO & Founder Teeptrak

  • Access to Finance:

Aside of the cash prize, which is part of the EIT Digital Challenge, participants also benefit from an easier access to VC firms and are actively supported by funding experts of EIT Digital.

“Thanks to EIT Digital, we’ve met investors in France, Germany, London, and Helsinki. I’ve been very impressed by the level of support we’ve received so far, the team even helped us polish our investor presentation and other materials! We’ve been able to get in touch with about 70 new investors, and we’re having active discussions with more than a dozen of them.” Baher Al Hakim, CEO Medicus AI (EIT Digital Challenge 2018 winner)

  • Insights by an International Business Development Team:

The experts of EIT Digital have been working for startups since many years and have unique insights about company building, entrepreneural challenges and business development. The Accelerator team consists of about 40 dedicated international business developers and technology financing specialists operating from 14 major cities across 10 EU countries and a hub in San Francisco. They bring decades of experience from various industries and continents with them. As participant of the EIT Digital Accelerator you can benefit from their know-how.

“The EIT Digital Accelerator team is clearly impact oriented and provides a strong business and technological background with great connections in both Europe and Silicon Valley.” Zsolt Nemeth, CEO App-Ray GmbH

“The EIT Digital Accelerator team provides us valuable insights and new views on how to develop our business further.” Joni Kettunen, CEO & Co-Founder Firstbeat

  • International Visibility:

The EIT Digital Challenge is Europe’s biggest deep tech award and gives your startup international visibility and recognition.

“Winning the EIT Digital Challenge – THE European startup competition – not just raised our reputation and international visibility. Even more importantly, we benefit of direct and pragmatic support in terms of financing and customer acquisition.” Florian Reichle, CEO & Co-Founder Trinckle 3D

“The price brought us a lot of visibility and increased our reputation. Now the EIT Digital Accelerator team is breaking the barriers of the fragmented European market by helping us concretely to acquire customers and to raise funds in other European countries.” Giuseppe Giordano, CEO Enerbrain

  • Fast and Easy Application Process:

The first step is just to fill out an online form. There are no costs involved regarding the application process.

To successfully apply for the EIT Digital Challenge, companies must fulfil the following criteria: They must be based in one of the member states of the European Union (or in a country associated with Horizon 2020), they have to be in the growth stage (to be proven by showing annual revenue of over €300,000 or at least €2 million in total funding), and they should be in their first ten years of existence.

The application deadline is the 14th of June 2019. For further information and the application form, please visit the website of the EIT Digital Challenge. Apply now!


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Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr
Thomas Ohr is the "Editor in Chief" of EU-Startups.com and started the blog in October 2010. He is excited about Europe's future, passionate about new business ideas and lives in Barcelona (Spain).


  1. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this article. We are going to play for it.
    Not so many people realise but one of the main reason to apply this challenge is to get access to new customers. Sometimes isn’t money what your startup needs.


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