Should I join a startup competition? Is my idea safe? What are the requirements? How much time does it take? All very valid questions– let's take the time to break them down and figure out if this is the place for you.
Lots of questions arise when we hear about the opportunities that different organizations offer startups. In the recent decade, Switzerland has blossomed with different support programs and organizations that help startups keep innovation at its core. But, as a budding entrepreneur, you have many decisions to make– and one of them is how you spend your time and effort when it comes to obtaining support from these organizations.
We can’t speak on behalf of other programs, but we can tell you about ours.
The first thing you need to know is that if you’re going to succeed in this competition, your idea needs to be innovative. If you have that, then it's definitely worth your while to participate. There's up to CHF 150,000 in non-dilutive funds at stake! Not to mention the way your network will expand through participating.
The second important aspect of the competition is that it’s purely a competition. We’re not an accelerator or incubator. This means, you apply and compete. All other aspects of our competition are optional. We’re not here to take up your time. You’re really busy, and we get that. We’re here to evaluate your startup, give you feedback from the experts, connect you with the right people, and provide you with some non-dilutive funds to get you started.
Lastly, all you need to participate is a startup plan. You probably already have your idea written down so there’s no new template or format you need to use with us. Simply polish up your startup plan, make sure it’s 10-20 pages long, in PDF format, and in English. And that’s your application. No fees either– it’s completely free to participate.
Interested? Let’s go over all the entry requirements.
We’ve already discussed the first couple of requirements, but let’s summarize them all in one place.
An innovative business or nonprofit idea
A 10-20-page startup plan in English and in PDF format
Legal residence in Switzerland
Intent to operate in Switzerland
Hmmm. Early-stage is a vague term. We know. So, let’s clarify.
For the 5 Business verticals, if you’re registered with the Commercial Registry (and you don’t need to be to participate), it must be after January 1, 2022. For the Social & Environmental Impact vertical, it must be after January 1, 2019.
Also, important to note that you can participate if:
You already have paying customers
You DON’T already have paying customers
You have a prototype
You DON’T have a prototype
You already have investors
You DON’T have any investors
You’re participating in other competitions, accelerators, incubators, etc.
You’re NOT already participating in other competitions, accelerators, incubators, etc.
Another question we often get is the safety of your idea.
Your business or nonprofit idea and privacy are of utmost importance to us. Any industry expert, juror, or mentor that works with us is required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. All jurors are also required to report any conflicts of interest before reviewing any business submissions. But don't take our word for it. We've been around since 1997 and have seen thousands of submissions. You can ask our past participants about their experience or check out our General Conditions to read the fine print (which is always a good idea).
If you want to know more about the competition, the steps, and what it takes to win from the jurors and winners themselves, then download our free playbooks (we promise they're not too long).
Being an entrepreneur is all about making the right decisions and we hope you dare to venture forward with us!