In the first Idea Challenge year, we have activated more than 1,500 startups from all 28 EU countries, received 790 submissions, awarded 24 of Europe’s most innovative teams with 680 000 Euro prize money, and were shortlisted for the European Excellence Awards.
76 international finalists from 11 EU countries were invited to the pitch finals in respective to the topic to Eindhoven, Munich, Helsinki, Rennes, Berlin, Stockholm, Trento and London, where the 24 teams were selected and awarded. Besides a cash prize, the winners also received the opportunity to use free office space at one of EIT ICT Labs’ Co-Location Centres as well as coaching and mentoring by their Business Development Accelerator.
Second prize winner in the category Health & Wellbeing, Johann Huber, CEO of SOMA Analytics says: “Winning the EIT ICT Idea Challenge has transformed our business. We have received great support from the European-wide community, could represent the Labs in Silicon Valley, made amazing contacts that were absolutely relevant for our business and of course the prize money helped us double the execution speed.”
An Ecosystem of Empowerment
To date, all winners have already been successfully integrated into the ecosystem that provides access to the large innovation network of EIT ICT Labs with over 120 partners including some of Europe’s and the world’s biggest ICT companies such as Siemens, Nokia, SAP, Intel, and Philips as well as leading universities and research institutes.
“Like never before, entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to shape the future and I can see bright prospects for the 24 EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge winners,” says Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT ICT Labs. “These startups will fuel our ecosystem with new ideas and talents. In return EIT ICT Labs will help to bring their innovations to life.”
The impact of the EIT ICT Labs ecosystem was also proven through the immense international outreach of the Idea Challenge campaign that activated hundreds of Europe’s best startups. With our communication campaign EIT ICT Labs was shortlisted for the European Excellence Awards in the category “Associates”.
“The contest has shown the great potential of our network. We were not only able to spread the message all over Europe, we also managed to constantly attract and engage people with diverse backgrounds – from industry, investment companies, academia, research institutes, and startups“, says Tobias Heger, Head of EIT ICT Labs Idea Challenge.