Startups competitions: financial support and recognition for entrepreneurs

Startups competitions: financial support and recognition for entrepreneurs


A touch of recognition and an economic boost can definitely help your project take off. If you have started a business recently and have an innovative project and great potential for growth, you can’t miss some of the calls for competitions for entrepreneurs and startups that are held annually.

There are a variety of options to boost your company, at regional, national and international level, and many incentives to take advantage of the opportunities and contacts that these initiatives generate. These are some noteworthy Spanish startups competitions:

BBVA Open Talent 2014

In BBVA they believe that “the figure of the entrepreneur is more alive than ever.” That’s the reason why every year they celebrate BBVA Open Talent, a competition which has just launched its 2014 edition and aims to find the most innovative startups in the New Banking and Digital Life categories. This is an international competition with more than 180,000 euros in prizes and offering as well the possibility to develop a project with BBVA and participate in NYC Crash Acceleration, a program of activities and meetings with experts and investors. If you're interested in participating this year, registration is open until June 10.

It is so successful that the last edition of this startups competition achieved a record of participation, with the submission of 916 projects from 24 countries around the world, mostly from Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Peru.

The impact of these initiatives is huge for participants, as explains Oscar Fernando Pulido, founder of Cyberfacil, one of last year’s finalists: “I think I was the youngest of the participants and possibly the smallest startup. When we found out that we were finalists, we couldn’t believe it, because we had the opportunity to win 100,000 euros and because a large group of people with excellent credentials had put us in the same league as larger competitors. This has been one of the most important motivational drives in my career as an entrepreneur.” Furthermore, “this participation allowed us to win or be the runner-ups of other national and international competitions for startups, entrepreneurship and innovation,” he adds.

Emprendedores Awards

The awards given by the Spanish magazine Emprendedores, celebrating this year their 10th edition, cover a broader range of subjects. The winners are chosen by the readers themselves and recognize the most outstanding new companies and leading entrepreneurs of the year, in addition to support startups with funding and advice.

Last year the winner in the category of Best Idea was MyEnergyMap, a project focused on the implementation of energy management systems in companies, which received 15,000 euros. These awards also recognize, in a separate category, the best projects undertaken by entrepreneurs with disabilities.

Top Seeds Lab

From an economic standpoint, the disbursement of the startups accelerator Top Seeds Lab should also be highlighted. It has just launched a second fund to continue to boost the projects of 15 technological entrepreneurs. During its first edition, the selected startups, besides the investment provided by the Second WEPIB fund, also received financial support worth 1,350,000 euros from ENISA, a public capital firm attached to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade.


Important Spanish businessmen are already aware of the importance of supporting new creators; a proof of this is the Lanzadera program created by the president of Mercadona, Juan Roig. This is a competition open to all entrepreneurs over 18 years old with a business idea related to any industry, activity or geographical area.

The second edition of this program for the incubation of entrepreneurship was recently held, with an increase in the number of projects funded, from 15 to 20, and financial endowment, from three to four million euros.

Venture Contest Euskal Valley

Another noteworthy Spanish regional competition is the Venture Contest Euskal Valley, organized by a group of Basque entrepreneurs, startups and companies related to the technology sector aiming to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in Euskadi to help develop the Entrepreneur and Investor Ecosystem in the region.

It’s a competition in which the winner gets a modest prize of 1,000 euros, but multiplies the chances to bolster his project, as it will be exposed to a panel of important investors who will participate in the final event in order to identify talent to propose to their investment funds.

Tetuan Valley Startup School

It is also worth highlighting the Tetuan Valley Startup School,  which has behind it a long history of 10 years. This program for young entrepreneurs consists on several sessions in which participants build demos, small but marketable products that help solve problems, and participate in multiple activities.

Those interested in participating in this program can apply online, and thus become part of the next wave of new startups in Barcelona or Madrid and gain access into the exclusive international community of technology entrepreneurs, mentors and investors. The program is delivered exclusively in English to a total of 10 teams, who experience the reality of building a technology company from scratch. At the end, they must present their innovative projects and try to attract the attention of investors and partners.

These are just six examples of competitions targeting entrepreneurs and where you can find a springboard for the most innovative projects. Do you already know in which one you want to participate?

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