Today is the last chance for European startups to apply for the EIT ICT Labs’ Idea Challenge. If you’re an entrepreneur with dreams of making it then I hope you are ready to apply for the pitching competition. There’s a total of 320,000€ in prize money on offer across four categories, along with other benefits including office space and expert coaching. If you haven’t heard of it yet, then you’ll need to read quickly to find out more.

Idea Challenge, a pan European pitching competition, was set up by the EIT ICT Labs to find the most exciting start ups across eight diverse fields and help them to achieve success. Four events took place in the spring and we were able to cover the competitions that took place in Helsinki, Finland and Rennes, France. We saw the wealth of innovative startups that made it to the finals and how each finalist, regardless of whether they won or not, received coaching on their pitches and great feedback from the judging panels.

With a cash prize of 40,000€ available to each first placed winner, 25,000€ for second place, and €15,000 for third, there is a lot of money up for grabs. Finance that could give any young startup a strong boost towards hiring talent, investing in extra R&D, or providing a marketing budget to reach the masses. However it’s not just the money that’s been so beneficial to those successful pitchers from the first four competitions.

Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT ICT Labs explained, “Great ideas put forward by great entrepreneurs drive economic growth and quality of life. That is why we heavily invest in bringing these ideas and entrepreneurs to our ecosystem. Not only will our ecosystem benefit – we also have a lot to offer through our pan-European Business Development Acceleration that supports European startups and SMEs with global growth ambitions”.

Jörg Land, Co-founder Tinnitracks, and first prize winner in the Health & Wellbeing category shared his experience saying, “Winning the EIT ICT Labs idea challenge doesn’t only mean to win a renowned award, it is also about joining an amazing pan-European and extremely supportive network. We instantly got access to potential partners, have met the other companies from the Health & Wellbeing community and have been provided with a chance to attend major industry events as for example the Health Days in Stockholm. As an entrepreneur I do appreciate these opportunities especially, because they reflect the healthcare industry’s potential and give us a chance to compare our challenges and achievements to those of others and to learn from it. Moreover, I am confident that being a member of EIT ICT Labs will support Sonormed in its goal to expand its business and enter international markets.”

The four categories available to enter now are Cyber Security and Privacy, Internet of Things, Urban Life and Mobility, and Smart Energy Systems. Each will have its own final in locations spread throughout Europe. They’ll be in Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK throughout November giving time for teams of juries to pick each categories’ finalists. All startups that make it to a final are given a stipend to cover the cost getting them to the pitching location and accommodation, so no entrepreneur should be put off from applying over the cost of travel.

We saw some great teams at the earlier events and just like the previous events, we’ll be cheering for every team from our region that makes it on stage in front of the judges. What can we say, we’re proud of the talented Nordic and Baltic startups our region is producing. Good luck to all those entering, and if you haven’t yet, be quick the competition closes tonight!

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