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A few months ago, we put out a call for European startups to check out the Idea Challenge, a contest organised by EIT Digital (formerly known as EIT ICT Labs), an open innovation organisation’ that is more accurately described as a network that consists of some of Europe‘s leading companies, universities and research institutions in the field of information and communication technologies (Philips, SAP, Nokia, BT, F-Secure etc.).
The goal of the organisation's competition is to identify and support the best (read: fastest-growing, innovative) digital startups in Europe that are poised to scale up.
Selected startups - in a wide range of fields - receive up to €40,000 in cash (no strings attached), access to EIT Digital’ 130 partners, support for business acceleration and marketing in Europe and beyond, free co- working space across Europe, and more.
The call, and EIT Digital's other outreach efforts, have resulted in a great number of submissions: in total, 461 companies from 26 different countries submitted an application. As you can tell from the graphs below, the majority of submissions came from Europe's major startup hubs: the UK, France, Germany, but also quite a few from Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and The Netherlands.
Apparent hold-outs: Malta and Croatia (go figure).
A total of 750 companies had registered for the Idea Challenge from May 6th until July 6th.
Most applications filed for the topic 'Urban Life and Mobility' (22%), followed by 'Health & Wellbeing' (18%), 'Internet of Things' (17%) and 'Future Cloud' (14%).
Cyber security and privacy were, apparently, less popular among applicants. That said, it seems 75% of the companies who signed up for the challenge were in the 'B2B' camp.
According to EIT Digital, 37% of submissions came from female founders or co-founders, while 40% of the startups are already profitable or will be in 2016.
So what happens next? Well, now it's time to evaluate the submissions, after which invitations to the finals (multiple events across Europe) will be sent to selected startups.
In the first quarter of 2016, the program will kick off. You can stay up to date on news about EIT Digital and the companies it has selected right here. We certainly will.