The Startup Competitions You Can't Afford to Miss in 2019

You might have the greatest product or idea, but it takes a lot more to bring it to the market. You will be faced with many obstacles when launching a startup. Soconvertfme of them include restricted assets and resources, worries of cash flow and the lack of exposure. One way to overcome these obstacles is by participating in startup competitions.

Participating in a startup competition could be one of the most powerful experiences for startups, especially in their early stages as it can help to bring their business to the next level. Even if the prizes are a great motivator to participate in such startup events, no one leaves empty handed. There is a lot to gain including possible investments, media exposure, and potential strategic partnerships.

In a previous post “The Startup Pitches That Won Incredible Awards“, we explained how to prepare an exceptional speech and get ready for a startup competition, along with a list of the winning startups and the prizes they won. But what are the perks and advantages that come with participating in such events and which events should you attend in 2019? has created the ultimate list with some of the best pitch competitions worldwide and the possible prizes and awards you can win in 2019.


Staying relevant is key

In the startup culture, pitch competitions have become increasingly popular. Wherever you are living in the world, there are events that revolve around pitching. The winners receive exclusive prizes like cash or funding, helping them to bring their business idea to reality. However, it could be costly and time-consuming to participate in such events as startups, at least some of the time, are required to pay a fee to enter.

There is no limit to the number of startup competitions you can attend. But if you are attending every event year after year without success, the judges and audience might question your idea and product. Therefore, before choosing which competition's to enter, it's necessary to evaluate the event and select which one is going to bring the most benefits to you and your business.

Most events and pitch competitions have their own themes and topics so make sure your startup is eligible and relevant. For example, if your startup can classify itself as a social enterprise, look for competitions in the relevant niche. Participating in big and general startup events could be exciting but sometimes the smaller industry events could bring more value to your startup.

The quality of the audience varies from event to event. How can you benefit from the audience? One of the attendees could be your next investor, partner, team member or even a product buyer. Be selective to make the best out of a startup competition. Choose the events where the audience is similar to your target market and the attendees are investors your business could benefit from.


The list of startup competitions in 2019


Mobility Pioneers


Prize: The winning startup will be fast-tracked directly to the Pioneers Challenge Top 50 at Pioneers’19.
Date: 7th
Location: Munich, Germany

TechChill - Fifty Founders Battle


Prize: €10,000 & chance to get fast-tracked to Startup World Cup Finals in San Francisco in May 2019.
Date: 21-22nd
Location: Riga, Lavia

4 Years From Now

white number and letters on purple background logo

Prize: Space on exhibition, promotion and free international press, possible funding, entry to Accelerator program.
Date: 25-27th
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Get In The Ring


Prize: Place at Global Meetup 2019 for a 3-day retreat and business networking opportunity.
Date: 28th
Location: Osaka, Japan (finals)


Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge

The Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge Logo

Prize: Winner gets €500,000 and runner up €200,000. Other three finalists will win €100,000.
Date: 1st - 1st of May
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

G-Startup Worldwide

G-Startup Worldwide

Prize: $250,000
Date: until November
Location: Beijing, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Riyadh, Silicon Valley, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Bangalore



Prize: Possible Funding
Date: 7-8th
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

UNWTO Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition Spain 2019


Prize: 5 finalist startups will be sponsored to pitch their idea to a panel of experts, governments and industry leaders at the 5th edition of the World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Spain on 2-3 May 2019.
Date: Deadline to apply is 5th of March
Location: Basque Country, Spain

SXSW Startup Night


Prize: Funding opportunities, Media Exposure
Date: 9-10th
Location: Austin, Texas

Hatch Pitch Summit

HATCH Pitch Summit

Prize: $1,000,000
Date: 12th
Location: USA

Polar Bear Pitching


Prize: €10,000, media exposure and funding opportunities.
Date: 12-13th
Location: Oulu, Finland

Fast Pitch


Prize: N/A
Date: 14th
Location: Ohio, U.S.



Prize: Possible funding from investors.
Date: 14-16th
Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Hello Tomorrow

hello tomorrow

Prize: One €100K Grand Prize for the best early stage startup and Equity-free & Eleven €15K prizes.
Date: 14-15th
Location: Paris, France

European Social Innovation Competition

European Social Innovation Competition

Prize: €50,000
Date: 20th
Location: Paris, France

START Summit


Prize: 20.000-25.000 CHF
Date: 21-22nd
Location: St. Gallen, Switzerland

CV Summit

blockchain summit

Prize: $100,000 in funding
Date: 27th
Location: Zug, Switzerland

The Proving Ground 2019


Prize: Up to $17,500
Date: 28th
Location: South Carolina, U.S.

2019 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge


Prize: $100,000 in seed funding
Date: 28th
Location: Idaho, U.S.


Arch Summit

Arch Summit

Prize: Up to €250,000 in prizes
Date: 3-4th
Location: Luxemburg

TiEQuest 2019


Prize: $50,000 cash grand prize offered, as well as all-inclusive trips to Silicon Vallery for the top five finalists.
Date: 4th
Location: Toronto, Canada

Seedstars World Competition


Prize: Equity investment of up to $1,000,000.
Date: 4-5th
Location: Lausannne, Switzerland

Rice Business Plan Competition


Prize: $300,000 investment
Date: 4-6th
Location: Lausannne, Switzerland

Entrepreneur 20X


Prize: €2,500 EUR
Date: 9th
Location: Palma Mallorca, Spain

Dublin Tech Summit


Prize: Women in Tech Awards & possible funding for participation in Startup 100 Pitch Competition.
Date: 10-11th
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Startup Camp Pitch Marathon

Startup Camp Pitch Marathon

Prize: Cash, Possible funding
Date: 12-13th
Location: Berlin, Germany

Startup Turkey Demo Day

Startup Turkey Demo Day

Prize: Possible funding
Date: 15-16th
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Northwest Entrepreneur Competition 2019


Prize: Total of $42,000 in prize money and $20,000 in professional resources.
Date: 18th
Location: District Columbia, U.S.

2019 GW New Venture Competition


Prize: Over $300,000 in prizes
Date: 18th
Location: District Columbia, U.S.

Urban Future Prize Competition

urban future

Prize: Over $300,000 in prizes
Date: 22nd
Location: New York, U.S.



Prize: Cash prize and opportunity to attend Beijing’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurship Conference (OTEC).
Date: 25-27th
Location: Toronto, Canada


EU-Startups Summit 2019

EU-Startups Summit 2018

Prize: Prize package worth of €70,000.
Date: 2-3rd
Location: Barcelona, Spain

Infoshare Startup Contest

infoShare Startup Contest

Prize: € 20,000
Date: 8-9th
Location: Gdansk, Poland

NIBS Worldwide Business Plan Competition


Prize: Cash prize
Date: 9th
Location: Online

TNW Pitch Competition

TNW Pitch Competition

Prize: Potential Investment
Date: 9-10th
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

International Business Model Competition

International Business Model Competition

Prize: $30,000
Date: 10-11th
Location: Provo, Utah

Startup World Cup

Startup World Cup

Prize: $1,000,000
Date: 11th
Location: North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa

Webit.Festival Europe

Webit.Festival Europe

Prize: €200,000 seed investment
Date: 13-15th
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

Viva Technology


Prize: TBA
Date: 14-16th
Location: Paris, France

Innovations of Things World Series

Internet of Things World Series

Prize: Promotion
Date: 15-17th
Location: California, U.S

The Mark Challenge

mark challenge

Prize: Monetary and other prizes
Date: 16th
Location: Monaco

Latitude59's Pitch Competition

Latitude 59

Prize: Investment from Nordic Angel Program for up to €250 000, equity free cash & more prizes.
Date: 16-17th
Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Collision Pitch


Prize: Monetary prize
Date: 20-23rd
Location: Toronto, Canada

Podim Challenge


Prize: All-inclusive & tailor-made one week program for 2 team members in one of the global startup hubs.
Date: 21-22nd
Location: Maribor, Slovenia Startup Competition

Logo -

Prize: Sponsored trip to attend TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Date: 25-26th
Location: Tivat, Montenegro




Prize: Opportunity for a syndicate deal from Nordic & Baltic angel investors.
Date: 5-6th
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Midemlab Music Startup Competition

MidemLab Music Startup Competition

Prize: Possible funding
Date: 4-7th
Location: Cannes, France



Prize: Possible funding
Date: 5-7th
Location: Nantes, France

Techsylvania Pitch Competition


Prize: All expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley.
Date: 8-11th
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Heureka VC Pitch

Heureka VC Pitch

Prize: Funding opportunities
Date: 12th
Location: Berlin, Germany

Israel Mobile Summit

Israel Mobile Summit Logo

Prize: TBA
Date: 12th
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

The Founder Institute

Founder Institute logo with black letters on a white background and a green drop at the middle

Prize: Possible funding
Date: 13th
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Launch Festival

Launch Festival Sydney

Prize: Possible funding
Date: 18-20th
Location: Sydney, Australia

Startup Extreme Competition


Prize: TBA
Date: 24-26th
Location: Voss, Norway

PIRATE Summit "Walk-the-Plank" Pitch Competition

PIRATE Summit Walk the Plank Pitch Competition

Prize: Business trip to San Francisco, London or Berlin.
Date: 26-28th
Location: Cologne, Germany




Prize: Up to € 50,000 plus many prizes.
Date: 2-5th
Location: Berlin, Germany

The Europas European TechStartups Awards

The Europass European TechStartup Awards

Prize: Award
Date: 3rd
Location: London, United Kingdom

BBVA Open Talent

BBVA Open Talent

Prize: €50,000
Date: 10th
Location: Madrid, Spain



Prize: $100,000 worth of service products
Date: 9-12th
Location: Hong Kong, China

Startup Fest


Prize: Over $750,000 worth of prizes and investments
Date: 9-13th
Location: Montréal, Canada

Unbound Pitch Competition


Prize: Monetary prizes TBA
Date: 17-18th
Location: London, UK

Sevan Startup Summit


Prize: Up to $50,000 divided for each category.
Date: TBA
Location: Yerevan, Armenia

VWFS Battlefield


Prize: $50,000
Date: TBA
Location: TBA



Prize: over $67,000
Date: 31st
Location: Texas, USA


Y Combinator Demo Day

Y Combinator Demo Day

Prize: $120,000
Date: 20-22nd
Location: California, U.S


Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield

Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield

Prize: $100,000
Date: 5-7th
Location: San Francisco, U.S

Queens StartUP! competition

Queens StartUP! competition

Prize: $50,000
Date: 8-20th
Location: New York, USA

ITU Telecom World Awards 2019

itu logo

Prize: Funding opportunities and media exposure.
Date: 10-13th
Location: Budapest, Hungary

SevenVentures Pitch Day

SevenVentures Pitch Day

Prize: Promotion
Date: 12th
Location: Cologne, Germany

New York StartUP! 2018 Business Plan Competition

New York StartUP! 2018 Business Plan Competition

Prize: $15,000
Date: 14th
Location: New York, U.S.

Blast Roma Pitch Competition

Blast Roma

Prize: Possible funding, exposure, access to VIP events.
Date: 19-20th
Location: Rome, Italy

ElevateR Pitch: AI Edition


Prize: over $1,000,000
Date: 21-27th
Location: Toronto, Canada

Oslo Innovation Week

Oslo Innovation Week

Prize: Monetary prize
Date: 23-27th
Location: Oslo, Norway

FinCon FinTech Startup Competition

Fincon Fintech

Prize: $2,500 award
Date: 26-29th
Location: Orlando, Florida

IT Arena

it arena

Prize: $10,000, entry to accelerator programs and more prizes.
Date: 27-29th
Location: Lviv, Ukraine

Bits & Pretzels

Bits & Pretzels

Prize: Golden Pretzel Award
Date: 29th of September - 1st of October
Location: Munich, Germany


Female Founders Competition

Female Founders

Prize: $2,000,000
Date: until November
Location: Tel Aviv, Seattle, London, San Francisco, New York

Pitch for the Purse

Pitch for Purse

Prize: $150,000 - 1,000,000
Date: until February
Location: Canada


43 North

Prize: $1,000,000
Date: 3rd
Location: Buffalo, New York, USA

Pitch Competition: Canadian Innovation in Sustainable Textile and Apparel


Prize: Can $10,000
Date: 3rd
Location: Toronto, Canada

South Summit Startup Competition

South Summit

Prize: Participation in Startup World Cup
Date: 3-5th
Location: Madrid, Spain

GITEX Future Stars 2019


Prize: Grand winner gets $100,000
Date: 6-9th
Location: Dubai, UAE

New Energy Challenge 2019

New Energy Challenge

Prize: €100,000
Date: October
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Aurora Chamber Business & Technology Summit

Aurora Chamber Business & Technology Summit

Prize: $2,500
Date: 18th
Location: Aurora, Canada

Ideaspace 7th Startup Competition


Prize: Equity-free grant for product and market development and up to P 1,000,000 in equity funding.
Date: 19th
Location: Makati City, Philippines

SaaStock 2019 Dublin


Prize: $25,000 & more prizes
Date: 14-16th
Location: Dublin, Ireland

NOME Start-up Competition

NOME startup competition

Prize: Possible funding
Date: 24th
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Nordic Startup Awards

Nordic Startup Awards

Prize: Award
Date: 30th
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

University Startup World Cup Competition

University Startup World Cup Competition

Prize: $25,000
Date: TBA
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

EIT Digital Challenge


Prize: Growth support from EIT Digital Accelerator worth 50,000 & cash prize of €50,000.
Date: TBA
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Wolves Summit Great Pitch

wolves summit

Prize: Winner will be invited to take part in the Grand Finale of Startup World Cup in San Franscisco.
Date: TBA
Location: Warsaw, Poland



Prize: Entrance to the Nordic Angel program
Date: TBA
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Venture Cup Denmark Startup Competition

Venture Cup Denmark Startup Competition

Prize: DKK 100,000
Date: TBA
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark


Varsity Pitch Competition

Varsity Pitch Competition

Prize: £15,000
Date: 12th
Location: London, United Kingdom

Madrid Mobile Summit Contest

Madrid Mobile Summit Contest

Prize: Participation in Mobile World Congress
Date: 13th
Location: Madrid, Spain

U.Pitch National Elevator Pitch Competition & Showcase

Future Founders

Prize: $10,000
Date: 15th
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition

The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition

Prize: $50,000
Date: 16th
Location: Washington DC, USA

Arab Startup Competition

Mit Arab Competition

Prize: up to $160,000
Date: 18th
Location: Arab Region

Ignite Capital Competition

Ignite capital competition

Prize: up to $15,000
Date: TBA
Location: Ontario, Canada



Prize: $1,000,000
Date: TBA
Location: Singapore, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Jakarta, Seoul, Shanghai, Regional VIC, Manila, Sydney, Auckland NZ, Chennai

MIT $100K Competition

mit 100 k

Prize: $100,000
Date: TBA
Location: Massachusetts, U.S.

Web Summit PITCH

Web summit

Prize: TBA
Date: TBA
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Creative Business Investors Pitch

creative business cup

Prize: €5,000
Date: TBA
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Betapitch Global Startup Competition


Prize: A flight to Silicon Valley + € 5,000
Date: TBA
Location: Berlin, Germany

Giant Health Event


Prize: Cash prize, consulting, media packages and more prizes.
Date: TBA
Location: London, UK


The Vator Investment Club


Prize: $150,000 - 500,000
Date: 31st
Location: San Francisco, Oakland Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, Stanford, San Jose

Slush Pitch Competition

slush summit

Prize: TBA
Date: TBA
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Are you China ready?

china ready

Prize: 27 Semi-finalists get all-expenses paid trip to China and grand prize is $25,000.
Date: TBA
Location: Guanghzou, China


Where are these competitions located?

The perks of entering a startup competition

The prizes that come with your participation are only the tip of the iceberg. Even if you don't win the grand prize, the opportunities that come with such events could benefit you tremendously. It isn't always about winning, it is also about meeting the right people and receiving exposure. So if you are only looking to enter competitions for the prizes, open your eyes to the other possibilities.

If you are questioning whether attending a competition is worth your time, ask yourself "is this competition going to help us reach our goal?". Depending if you are looking for some new partnerships, team members, a potential investor, or media exposure, would the event help you achieve any of these goals?

To better understand the advantages that could come with such events, has listed the potential opportunities that come with presenting at startup competitions.


Tech-BBQ TechBBQ, an annual Danish technology startup summit | Photo from TechBBQ


Winning exclusive prizes

The greatest motivator that encourages people to participate in startup competitions are the prizes. The prizes are different in each event and could vary from a couple of thousands to millions of dollars. Startups can take advantage of their prize and use it to scale their startup and move forward towards their goals and ambitions.

However, in many cases, the prizes are not limited to monetary ones. Some of the pitch competitions offer covered business trips to some of the greatest startups events in the world, entry to accelerator programs and access to co-working spaces and incubators.

Receiving constructive feedback

You might be thinking that your product is the greatest in the world and there is nothing stopping you from conquering the world. It is important to receive some feedback to know how others perceive your product and idea.

Perhaps the people sitting in the judging panel have years of experience in the field that allows them to detect any holes in your business that you need to address. Judges can often give you constructive criticism that will help you improve and guide you in the right direction. Even the potential clients can provide you with their insight and opinion on your product that will help you adapt or develop your idea further.

Unfortunately, feedback is often avoided and feared in the startup world. Entrepreneurs tend to gracefully accept positive feedback but at the sight of negative feedback, they become quite defensive. Lucas Pols, CEO, and Founder of Spark xyz, has highlighted the importance of feedback and how to receive it in order to benefit your startup.

In his words,

"If we can get back to listening to each other and truly hearing the other person, it could be the difference between your startup succeeding and failing."

Growing your network

Startup competitions bring together extraordinary groups of highly-skilled entrepreneurs with different experience levels and backgrounds who are looking to connect with like-minded people, share their ideas and create long-lasting relationships.

You never know who you will meet during the event. One of the most commonly shared sayings among entrepreneurs is "Your network is your net worth." And it's true. As your business network is growing, you will realize that more and more doors are opening. A person you meet today might have a significant impact in the next few years.

Let's not forget that many venture capitalists (VC's) and angel investors attend such events looking for the next big thing to invest in. Meeting investors who will not fund your company could be valuable since they can lead you to other investors. Networking usually happens off stage at the exhibition or at the after-event parties the hosts are organizing.

Even non-profit community organizations attend such events, these can expand your network further, introducing you to potential investors. One such organization, the Nordic-China Startup Forum, encourage collaborative investments between Chinese investors and European startups, an invaluable contact for any entrepreneur.

Building your confidence

If there is one trait that you need as an entrepreneur, it is confidence. From the moment you decide to start a business, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to successfully make deals, negotiate with partners and lead your team. Investors are looking to invest in confident people that are sure of their products and ideas as its an indicator of their competence and credibility.

However, no matter how confident you are, pitching at a competition can be stressful. It is a personal experience, you have to bare your soul and in just a couple of minutes present your mission and vision in front of hundreds of people and expect to get feedback from top leaders. It won't always be positive. However, going through the process can help you build your confidence even more. Later in life, you might look back and say "If I competed in a startup competition with that big of an audience, then I can do this."

Mastering your pitch

Normally when participating in a startup competition you are given a set time constraint to present your idea in the most compelling way. And let's face it - pitching is important! An entrepreneur should be able to convince the audience that the idea is great. If the audience doesn't believe in the idea, who is going to buy your product?

Startup competitions force you to practice your pitch. It is a good way to start mastering the art of pitching. The more you practice, the better you get and the more people begin to believe in your idea.

At some pitch competitions, you encouraged to present a pitch deck - a brief presentation in powerpoint form which provides an overview of your business plan. Check out our post on the secrets to creating a great pitch deck for an in-depth checklist and examples of what to include in your pitch deck!

Gaining media exposure and free publicity

If they select your startup for the finals and you get on stage, all the eyes are on you. Especially when participating in startup competitions that are happening on a global scale and attract international visitors. Examples of such competitions are the PITCH-Websummit in Lisbon or Collision Pitch in Toronto. Big events attract local and global media. Expect to see journalists from many parts of the world attending such events, looking to write about the next success story or any honorable mentions.

In case your startup is among the winners, it is almost certain that your accomplishment will be written about. You will attract readers with you and your product. So don't underestimate the power of a startup competition and the publicity that will follow. Don't forget about the publicity you can get from the audience while you are on stage and presenting your product. The audience could be your target market and presenting in front of them could cultivate their interest and eventually lead them to become your first buyers.

Getting a spot at the exhibition

Most of the times the event hosts are giving to the participants their own exhibition booth where they can display the product in their own way. Having your own exhibition spot gives you more personal space and it's a lot less nerve-wracking having one to one interactions than pitching your idea in front of hundreds of people, light beaming down on you, sweat patches visible for all to see.

Exhibitions are a great way to connect with fellow entrepreneurs that are in the same industry and can help you expand your network. Also, it's a good opportunity to meet prominent Business Angels and Venture Capitalists that are wandering through the exhibition space and are looking to expand their business portfolio.

Being recognized for your hard work

You have been spending all this time and energy to bring your idea to reality because you are passionate about it and a strong believer that one day it will work out. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task and many times you will be disappointed. The whole idea of entrepreneurship comes at a great cost whether it's time, money or emotional investment.

When winning a startup competition, it can motivate you to keep doing what you are doing because it feels good to know that other people believe in your idea too. Winning creates a sense of purpose and identity and being able to say that you won a global competition makes you stick out from the rest of the pack.

Winning presentation tips

1. Practice - it's true what they say - practice makes perfect! Practice your speech in front of the mirror, your friends, rehearse and refine continuously until it leads to the final presentation.

2. Tell the story and show the product - judges, investors, and media are human beings and they connect with a good story. Think of a good pitch just like a Hollywood movie - you need a cool intro, an engaging middle, and an epic finale. In his blog post, Paul Alex Gray is explaining how to use storytelling to win your audience.

3. Keep it short and simple - a winning pitch should be straightforward and simple, cut off the superfluous material and slides that don't give any value to your proposition.

“You really need to be able to convey what you do in the first 30 to 60 seconds,” Sanjay Parekh

4. Be prepared - what would the judges possibly ask you? Watch videos on YouTube or read relevant articles that will help you prepare for any possible questions that may come up.

5. Know your numbers - backing up your idea with some stats will strengthen your credibility and will make your points stand out. How big is the market? Are there any competitors? What is the break-even analysis? What are the estimated revenues?

6. Be authentic - no one likes copycats! So be yourself and tell your story in your own unique way.

In conclusion

Startup competitions could take your business to a new level if done right. It's important for you to evaluate each competition and participate where you think it will bring the most benefits.

Winning a competition is the cherry on the cake. There is a plethora of advantages and perks that come with your participation in pitch competitions such as networking opportunities, gaining media exposure and receiving feedback that should be not overlooked when applying.

Any new company requires fundraising along with self-promotion. A good solution to build your brand is by taking part in challenging events. Events like this are picking up in speed and gaining popularity worldwide!


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