Looking forward to a relaxing Easter break? If you’re a wannabe entrepreneur or techie with a great idea, you shouldn’t be – the deadline for entries for the Idea Challenge is this Sunday night, April 20, at 11.59pm, so you need to get cracking!
Organised by EIT ICT Labs, the Idea Challenge is a pan-European contest to find the best new ideas in eight topics spread across eight cities with an EIT presence. Sunday’s deadline is for the first four of those topics, with the second batch taking place later this year.
So if you have an idea in those first four – smart spaces (Helsinki), future cloud (Rennes), health and wellbeing (Eindhoven) and cyber physical systems (Munich) – there is still time to apply.
And don’t forget – you need to be an EU citizen to take part (or your team needs at least one EU citizen as an official representative), but you can apply any of the eight different categories, regardless of where the focus city is.
Each city will pick three winners who get €40,000, €25,000 and €15,000 as well as coaching and mentoring from business development experts, integration into future EIT activities and office space for six months.
The hope is that the contest can help break down the barriers to true innovation within Europe a little; especially given that EIT won’t take any equity from the winners and therefore does not measure success in terms of seeing the startups exit for a huge profit, but rather by factors such as job creation.
The application process is relatively straightforward – you just fill out the form online, which includes describing your idea, the technology it will use, the potential market, your financial plan, the impact that winning an Idea Challenge prize would have and if and where you would want to take up the offer of office space (it could be in any of EIT’s co-location centres around Europe).
From the applications, finalists will be chosen who will then travel to the appropriate city to take part in the pitching in front of a panel of experts who will then pick the winners.
So start working on your application now if you haven’t already – and if you want any top tips from the experts on how to be successful in the Idea Challenge, or pitching and applying for funding in general, check out the recording of our live webinar from Tuesday.
Also, from 4pm today (Thursday, April 17) there will be a Twitter Q&A with the Idea Challenge – @_ideachallenge.