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EIT Digital, a major pan-European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organisation, has started accepting applications for its 'EIT Digital Challenge 2021' competition, looking for fast-growing deep tech startups from across the continent to help boost their growth.
Now in its 8th edition, the flagship competition is inviting scale-ups within the following five categories: Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Finance.
The best three companies - picked across the above 'thematic areas' and not per category - will receive prizes totalling €250,000 in cash and in kind. The application deadline is 10 May 2021, but remember, time flies so don't wait too long!
"We will select 20 companies out of all applicants and invite them to an exclusive event in the autumn where they will pitch to a jury of high-profile corporates and investors," says Shehryar Piracha, who runs the EIT Digital Accelerator.
"A total of 3 winners will be announced during this event, one Challenge winner and two runners-up. They all will receive a full year of international growth support from the EIT Digital Accelerator, valued at €50,000. On top of that, the Challenge winner will receive a cash prize of €100,000," Piracha added.
Since 2012, the EIT Digital Accelerator has supported startups and scale-ups from 18 countries who have raised over €1 billion in investment to date. This support includes access to the organisation's innovation network, which spans more than 200 European corporations, SMEs, startups, universities and research institutions.
EIT Digital also assists companies with things like access to finance, market expansion advisory services, visibility through press and events, and more.
The EIT Digital Challenge competition alone has attracted over 2,500 applicants since the competition was debuted back in 2014, and includes notable alumni such as KONUX, Medicus AI and SidekickHealth.
"It is our ambition to help companies overcome the fragmented European market and successfully grow across the continent. The EIT Digital Challenge is our key instrument to identify the best European deep tech entrepreneurs and help them, through our Accelerator, to raise funds, access new markets, and scale up internationally. We support them to become leading companies on the global market and enhance Europe’s competitiveness in digital," commented EIT Digital's Chief Innovation Officer, Chahab Nastar.
"Winning the EIT Digital Challenge was a huge recognition for the work of our team and being named by EIT Digital as best deep tech startup in Europe was really meaningful at this point in time – the beginning of our scale-up stage," said Augustin Marty, co-founder and CEO of Deepomatic, the French company that won the 1st prize of the previous edition of the EIT Digital Challenge.
Another past award winner, Belgium-based Icometrix co-founder and CEO Wim Van Hecke, commented: "Having followed my competitors’ pitches already made me feel humble to be among these finalists coming from such wide range of sectors. This variety also shows a strength of Europe, that we sometimes forget."
If you want to try your hand at showcasing your own strengths in the EIT Digital Challenge 2021 competition, check here for more information and to apply online.