EIT Digital – formerly known as EIT ICT Labs – launches their Idea Challenge–competition to find the 24 most innovative startups in Europe. All of whom will receive a lot of support and a monetary prize. Are you one of them?

Second time running, EIT Digital is looking for the best ideas and startups in the region and is going to award the top three in each of the eight topics with EUR 40 000, EUR 25 000 and EUR 15 000. All you have to do is apply.

In addition to the prize money, you will be in good company. EIT Digital brings together European startups with their wide innovation network of co-location centers in nine European countries and over 130 partners, which consist of corporations and research institutions around the world. A dedicated team of business developers supports the international growth of the startups and offers individual mentoring.

Think of hot new startups such as: 720, Bt.tn, Cripto, Evothings, Imagimob, Flic and more.

“The strength of EIT Digital lies in our pan-European ecosystem. We support fast-growing startups that are typically already being noticed in their home country; we help them scale up their business quickly across Europe and beyond,” says Willem Jonker, the CEO of EIT Digital.

Eight Action Lines – 24 Winners

Overall, you have a very high chance to win, because there will be 24 winners across eight verticals.

The contest focuses on EIT Digital’s eight innovation Action Lines. The Action Lines cover the strategically most important digital trends in Europe:


EIT Digital is searching for the most innovative ideas, so if your idea combines different topics – you can apply for multiple categories.

From each action line, ten startups will be selected to the finals arranged in EIT Digital’s co-location centers in Europe.

In total 24 companies, three startups from each action line, will win monetary prizes alongside with access to EIT Digital’s innovation network and innovation activities, business development coaching in both Europe and Silicon Valley and also international visibility through EIT Digital’s channels which includes possibilities to participate with the organization in Europe’s largest startup events.

The cash prizes in each action line are:

1st place: 40 000€
2nd place: 25 000€
3rd place: 15 000€

How to apply

Startups can apply for Idea Challenge online, and here are the application criteria in a nutshell:

The submission deadline is on July 6th, 2015. So act fast. Last year, EIT Digital received nearly 800 applications around Europe for Idea Challenge, making your chances to win quite high.

After the application period has expired, all ideas will be evaluated by their uniqueness, market and internalization potential and quality of the team. The evaluator team consists of EIT Digital’s business development professionals and topic experts of the action lines, who also take into account how the idea fits the Innovation Action Lines of EIT Digital and how they could support the development of your business.

After the evaluation process, 10 finalists will be announced from each action line. The finals will take place in October-November at EIT Digital’s co-location centers across Europe. All finalists will receive 500 euros for covering the travel expenses.

The final for Smart Spaces will be held in Helsinki.

A Success Story from last year’s Idea Challenge

The winner of last year’s Idea Challenge in Health and Wellbeing Action Line, Sonormed’s Tinnitracks, is a great example of a company that achieved their breakthrough after the competition.

The Germany-based Tinnitracks offers neuro-acoustic treatment for people suffering from tinnitus – Their application enables reducing the effects of tinnitus while listening to your favorite music.



Tinnitracks pitching at NOAH

Their story in short, Tinnitracks won Idea Challenge in May 2014 and received individual coaching throughout the year. They also participated in one-on-one coaching sessions with EIT Digital Business Developers as well as EIT Digital’s Health and Wellbeing community activities in December 2014. EIT Digital’s business community events are a great opportunity for startups to find customer leads.

Ever since, EIT Digital has been supporting the company to expand their operations internationally and in April 2015 the company launched successfully in the Netherlands. This March, Tinnitracks also won the prestigious SXSW award in Texas, US.

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