Every year, many extraordinary startups fail due to lack of funding, knowledge, or network. Also, many regions around the world lack experts, mentors, and investors. Fortunately, there are many global competitions out there that can help those startups. These contests provide knowledge and the media exposure to all participant startups. They also offer an opportunity for the co-founders to network with potential investors and partners. Moreover, some of these competitions provide financial awards to the winners as a grant or investment. In this article, we list the best global contests available today. I’ve sorted them alphabetically, not by their value.
G-Startup Worldwide is a global competition held around the world to find the most innovative early-stage startups. It invests $1,000,000 in them, support them with a worldwide network and enable them to change the world. Startups from all countries can apply to the regional competitions in Dubai, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Riyadh, Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, and Bangalore. Winners of these events will be able to compete in the global final in November 2018. You can read more about G-Startup WorldWide from here.
Get In The Ring
Get in the Ring is a worldwide event in which startups face-off against each other in one-on-one pitching battles. To be qualified, each startup has to win in one of the local events first. These local events are taking place each year in 100 countries around the globe. Moreover, participating in this competition is free. You can read more information about this contest from their website.
Global EdTech Award
The Global EdTech Award is a contest for identifying, showcasing and recognizing EdTech startups from all over the world. To reach the final in London, your startup has to win one of its regional competitions in North America, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Winners of this contest will get $50,000 cash prize and will be invited to the next stage accelerator program. For more information, please check their website.
Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge
If you have a product that solves real-world problems with profound technological innovations, then this one is for you. This challenge has ten tracks: Data & AI, Energy Transition, Environment, Food & Agriculture, Well-being, Healthcare, Industry 4.0, New Materials, Mobility, and Aerospace. The winner of each track will receive €15,000 cash prize. Also, the best early-stage startup will get €100,000 cash prize. Besides the cash prize, all startups will have an excellent opportunity to network with mentors, investors, and industry experts. For more information, please have a look at their website.
Microsoft’s Innovate AI
If you have an AI product and your startup is in North America, Europe, or Israel, then consider applying to this competition. The three winning startups will receive a $1,000,000 USD investment, with a total prize pool valued at $5,500,000 USD. To read more about this competition, please check their page.
MIT Inclusive Innovation
The Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) is the flagship initiative of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). They award over one million dollars in prizes to the winners. Both startups and organizations around the world that are using technology to solve a grand challenge of our time can apply to this competition. To read more about it, please visit their website.
Pioneers is an event that brings tech founders, innovation executives, and investors together to build partnerships and shape the future. Applying to this event is entirely free for startups. You can read more information regarding Pioneers’18 (the event of 2018) and apply through this page.
Seedstars World Competition
Seedstars world competition focuses on startups in the emerging markets. To participate in this event, you need to win one of the local Seedstars events in your region. Currently, the local events are taking place in more than 80 cities around the world. You can find the complete list from here. The events’ winners will participate in the final one in the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland.
SevenVentures Pitch Day
According to Forbes magazine, SevenVentures Pitch Day ranks as one of the major startup competitions worldwide. Winners of this contest will get massive media exposure. The winner will get 3 million euros worth of TV advertising, 200,000 euros worth of online marketing, and 40,000 euros towards a professional TV spot. Y can apply directly through their page.
Slush 100 Pitch
Slush is a startup and tech event, organized annually in Helsinki, Finland. Part of this event is the Slush 100 pitch competition. This competition showcases the best 100 early-stage startups around the globe. Slush 100 is a 3-days event for boosting the early-stage entrepreneurs’ networks and giving them hands-on mentoring. Winners of Slush 100 pitch will get global exposure and investment from business angel consortium. Application to this event is made directly on their website.
Startup Festival 200K Challenge
Startup Festival is a global event that is organized every year in Montreal, Canada. Unlike most startup challenges, this one doesn’t require filling any form or application to joint it. All attending startups can join this competition by pitching their ideas to the 200k judges. Each judge will shortlist one startup by the end of the day. Afterwards, the shortlisted startups will be invited to a private event where they pitch to a group of investors. One or two startups can win up to $200,000 investment prize. For more details, please check their website.
Startup World Cup
Startup World Cup is a global conference that brings together the top startups, VCs, entrepreneurs and world-class tech CEOs. The event itself will take place on May 11th in San Francisco. To apply, your startup has to win one of the regional events. Currently, there are 32 regional events around the world. Each regional winner will be flown out to Silicon Valley for the final competition. The winner of the Grand Finale will receive US $1,000,000 prize in investment. To check the eligibility, please visit their page.
SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event
SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event is a global event organized in Austin, Texas. This event presents an opportunity for early-stage startups to validate their products, craft their pitching, networking with investors, and get media exposure. To read more about this event, you can check their website.
TechCrunch Startup Battlefield
Startup Battlefield brings the world’s top early-stage startups together on one stage to compete for the coveted Disrupt Cup, a $50,000 prize, and the attention of media and investors. To apply to their next event taking place in 2018, please visit their page.
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge
If you have an idea of a product that can reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, then consider applying for this challenge. The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is one of the world’s largest competitions in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship. Green start-ups from all over the world can submit their promising sustainable business plans. The winner will receive €500,000 to develop the product or service further and to bring it to market. The runner-up will receive €200,000, and the three other finalists receive €100,000 each. An international jury selects the winner and runner-up. For more information, visit their website.
The World Summit Award
The World Summit Award (WSA) is a global initiative to which aims to select and promote the world’s best in digital content and innovative applications. Companies, startups, and individuals from 180 countries around the world can participate in this competition. To apply, your product has to be nominated by one of the local experts representing your country. You can find them on this page.
Web Summit PITCH
Web Summit is a technology conference held annually in Lisbon. This summit brings together Fortune 500 companies, groundbreaking startups, and world-class speakers. PITCH is the startup competition at Web Summit that brings together the early-stage startups for a live on-stage battle. To apply for the PITCH competition, you need to apply for the ALPHA program which will cost you around €1,950.
World Innovations Forum
The World Innovations Forum brings together all Innovation Stakeholders from 50 countries. Including Entrepreneurs, Investors, Enablers and Government Representatives for innovation and economic development. WIForum empowers all attendees to inspire, influence and induce others to engage in necessary actions and strengthen sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. To attend this event, the startup has to win one of its national competitions. For more information, please visit their website.
If I missed any competition, please post a comment below!