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EIT Digital, the European innovation and education network, has launched this year’s EIT Digital Challenge to help European startups to scale and prepare for internationalisation.

The organisation is calling on innovative startups from across the EU to apply in five different categories: Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Infrastructure, and Digital Finance.

Three standout startups will be chosen from each category and will get access to EIT Digital’s European innovation network of corporations, startups, SMEs, universities, and research institutes, as well as the chance to join the EIT Digital Accelerator for one year. Additionally, the best team per category will receive €50,000 in cash.

The accelerator gives participants access to business developers and mentors working across Europe and in San Francisco that can help scale their business internationally. The EIT Digital team has helped hundreds of European startups reach new markets and access funding.

According to EIT Digital, about 80% of European startups intend to expand across borders but only half of them ever do so, with many startups lacking the resources and mentoring to make the move.

“It is crucial that we actively help startups to ensure European innovation leads the way globally,” said Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital. “Through our Accelerator, we support early stage scaleups to gain access to new markets and new customers, as well as providing access to finance by leveraging our pan-European investor network.”

Some of the participants in EIT Digital’s programs have gone on to become their own success stories.

Sonormed, from Germany, develops the digital health solution Tinnitracks for people with tinnitus and used its time in the EIT Digital Accelerator in 2014 as a springboard for spreading its business into other countries. “The EIT Digital Accelerator has helped us to refine our strategy for the market entry in the Netherlands,” said CEO Joerg Land.

Digital cities startup VULOG, which builds solutions for large-scale car-sharing services, previously took part in the accelerator and has since raised $8.4 million in funding and reached over 30 million users.

French cybersecurity startup Sentryo, specialising in security for industrial systems, also benefitted from EIT Digital assistance and has now raised €2 million, expanded into Germany and is planning further expansion across Europe.

Applications for the EIT Digital Challenge are open now and will close on July 15.

Click here for more information and submission details.

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