Joining an innovation or start-up competition brings lots of benefits for the participating teams such as increased visibility, invaluable feedback, a great opportunity to network, money prize, mentoring, investing or funding opportunity, and media exposure.

We are slowly entering the second half of the year, and so most of the application deadlines for such competitions have ended but in case you are eager to get inspired by others, grow your network, look for partnership or investment opportunities, here are 8 competitions you better watch out in 2018.


Pioneers Challenge

This year‘s Pioneers Challenge invites the most promising Seed Stage and Series A start-ups to join for FREE and showcase their innovations in front of a global community of 2,500 founders, investors, innovation executives, international media and public sector representatives. Out of the Pioneers500, a jury will nominate the most outstanding 50 Seed Stage start-ups to pitch at the event on 24 May 2018 in Vienna. The best 8 start-ups will advance to the finals and will pitch again at the main stage on 25 May. The winning team gets the Pioneer award and €25.000. Don`t miss it, there is still time to sign up for the waiting list.


Get the Ring

Get in the Ring is a global network of organizations that collaborate to tackle challenges faster. Together with partners in more than 100 countries the initiative unlocks opportunities for innovators. Selected start-ups getting in the ring will battle one on one. The winners of the day program will get a chance to go on stage and compete in a 1-1 battle for a ticket to the Global Meetup of Get in the Ring organised between 30 May – 1 June 2018 in Cascais, Portugal with a chance to win an investment up to € 1,000,000.


Sustainable Brands Innovation Open

The Innovation Open competition will provide an opportunity for next generation brands to showcase their innovative solutions to today’s pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges, as well as connect and collaborate with multinational brands, accelerators, and thought leaders in sustainability. The application closed but go along on 6 June 2018 in Vancouver, Canada and enjoy the experience.


Urban Innovation Challenge: Citypreneurs

The contest consists of two main components: a start-up competition that works in close collaboration with city governments to solve urban problems as defined and measured by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and an inclusive policy interface that brings together academia, the public and private sectors, civil society and international organizations to partake in policy discussions and set up an alliance of youth empowerment enablers. Applicants are welcome to submit their application in two categories on green energy, urban mobility and social protection until 15 August 2018: 1) Seed Track – designed for early stage start-ups looking for validation of their venture; 2) Growth Track – invite start-ups with 3+ years of experience and market-tested prototypes. The final pitch will take place on 30 October 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.


European Social Innovation Competition

Organised in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, the Competition is open to social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, tech enthusiasts, educators, doers and makers, movers and shakers, and ordinary citizens for all Horizon2020 associated countries who want to change the word. Ideas could include but not limited to new tech, entrepreneurship, skills, job security, advice, and long-term. The finalists will be selected to pitch their ideas in Brussels in November 2018 with the chance to win € 50,000 to develop their ideas.


Future City Challenge 2018

IBM, Digita and Etteplan are organising the first nationwide competition in Finland to design innovative solutions and applications that make everyday life in cities easier. The cities involved in the competition are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Oulu, Jyväskylä and Tampere. Each city will provide the competing teams with several real-life challenges. The competition is aimed at companies, start-ups and students interested in resolving city challenges. The application period has already closed but selected pitches will kick off on 22 November in Espoo, Finland.


Venture Cup Idea Competition

University students with a dream of becoming entrepreneurs are welcome to apply until 27 November 2018 with awesome ideas on five categories: service innovation, product & devices, healthtech, greentech and fintech. After evaluating the business plans, successful applicants will be invited to a pitch camp in Copenhagen where mentors will help them to get ready the pitch competition that will be held on 16 January 2019 in Odense, Denmark.


MIT IDE Inclusive Innovation Challenge

The Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) is the flagship initiative of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). In 2018, the IIC launched a global tournament (in five regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America), and seek applications from early and growth stage start-ups, and entrepreneurial organizations that are 1) using technology to reinvent work and create economic opportunity for working people below the top rung of the economic ladder; 2) demonstrating traction and impact and enhancing shared prosperity today; 3) are beyond the “idea phase”. Any age, size, or type (for-profit or non-profit with plan for financial sustainability) is welcome to apply. For more information check out the webpage application deadlines are varying in each region.

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