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The 20th edition of Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta, the competition dedicated to the best business ideas, is now open

This year, the competition dedicated to business ideas, projects and companies that have the ambition to innovate society offers a prize pool of more than 75,000 euros.

Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta has officially opened its 20th edition. Aimed to stimulate the creation of new innovative start-ups, the competition is promoted by I3P, Innovative Business Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, and 2i3T, Business Incubator of the University of Turin.

Funded by the Piedmont Region with resources from the European Social Fund Plus and organized as part of the PNI - Italian National Award for Innovation promoted by PNICube, Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta consists of the traditional two stages, the Ideas Competition (Stage I) and the Business Plan Competition (Stage II).

In its 19 previous editions, the initiative has involved more than 7,800 aspiring entrepreneurs divided into teams that have submitted a total of more than 3,700 business ideas and 2,000 business plans over the years. The total prize money of more than 1.4 million euros has supported the creation of more than 180 companies that now employ more than 1,450 people.

Stage I and Stage II: modalities and timing

The initiative is divided into two stages. Stage I, the "Ideas Competition", which rewards the best business ideas in support and consulting services - provided by business incubators - aimed at writing the Business Plan, as well as guidance and accompaniment services provided by other Partners. To submit, there is time until June 28th by filling out the application on the official Competition website Teams that submit the best business ideas and pass the selection phase will be contacted directly by the incubators to start consulting services.

Stage II, or the Business Plan Competition, will kick off on June 29th, end on July 29th and give access to the final selection and prizes. It is open to everyone, including those who did not make the first selection or who did not submit an idea to Phase I. To participate in Phase II, a business plan describing an entrepreneurial project must be submitted on the competition website.

One can participate in only one or both phases, free of charge, by submitting a business idea or a business project that, regardless of the stage of development, is the work of an individual or a group of individuals and aimed at the creation of an innovative startup.

All aspiring entrepreneurs over the age of 18 from universities and research centers (university students, graduate students, PhD or PhD research students, research fellows or fellows, structured professors) and owners of newly started businesses as specified on the Competition Rules can participate individually or in groups. During the online application process, in both Phases, proponents will have to identify a reference Incubator, choosing it among the business incubators of the Promoting Entities (I3P, 2i3T or Pépinières d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont-Saint-Martin in case of application for the Aosta Valley Prize).

To be eligible for the competition are business ideas and projects that refer to the five competition categories:

  • Life Sciences, for innovative products and/or services to improve people's health;

  • ICT, i.e., innovative products and/or services in the area of information technologies and new media for cybersecurity and cloud computing, e-commerce, social media, mobile, gaming and innovative hardware and software technologies, such as microelectronics and photonics devices, advanced materials for ICT, new computational architectures, technologies in AI/LLM, imaging;

  • Cleantech & Energy, i.e., innovative products and/or services geared toward improving environmental sustainability, environmental preservation, energy management;

  • Industrial, i.e., innovative products and/or services for industrial production that do not fall into the previous categories, innovative from a technology or market perspective;

  • Tourism and Cultural and Creative Industry, innovative products and/or services aimed at the tourism and cultural and creative industries.

The awards of the 20th edition

Stage I - Ideas Competition

The best business ideas receive prizes in services:

1) free support and consulting activities aimed at supporting the entrepreneurial team in developing the Business Plan, provided by the competition's organizing incubators through experts;

2) consulting services on 5G aimed at feasibility studies designed to assess the potential added value of 5G connectivity, delivered as part of the City of Turin's CTE NEXT project.

To compete for the services under 2) above, you must select the relevant option when registering for Phase I of your business idea.

It will also be possible to take advantage, by indicating the preference when registering for Phase I of one's business idea, of the free orientation and guidance services provided by the experts of Invitalia, Official Partner of the National Innovation Award, aimed at the submission of applications for subsidies on the Agency's various incentives.

Stage II - Business Plan Competition

By the beginning of November, the best startup projects participating in the Business Plan Competition (Stage II) will be decided, which will receive cash prizes and services, as well as special mentions, awarded with the support of a Jury composed of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and business angels. Thanks to the endowment made available by the promoters and supporters of the 2024 edition, this year the total prize pool rises to more than 75,000 euros and will be provided in cash, intended to generate financial resources functional to the startup of innovative startups, and services, offered by various partners.

The three overall winners will receive cash prizes: the first place winner will receive a prize of 7,500 euros, the second 5,000 and the third 2,500. The top six projects in the rankings will also be awarded a prize of 1,000 euros each for entry into PNI 2024, the National Innovation Prize, the "cup of champions" among the winning business projects of the regional Start Cups that this year will be held on Thursday, December 5 and Friday, December 6, 2024 in Rome, organized by the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" in collaboration with the universities and research institutions of the Start Cup Lazio network, as part of the Lazio Innovation Ecosystem called Rome Technopole funded by PNRR.

As always, there will be no shortage of special prizes promoted by sponsors interested in contributing concretely to the development of innovation:

  • Fondazione CRC, which is attentive to interventions aimed at competitiveness and sustainable development, will award the Fondazione CRC Prize, worth 10,000 euros, to the best entrepreneurial project that sets up business in the Province of Cuneo;

  • Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta, aimed at entrepreneurial development in the Aosta Valley region, will award the Valle d'Aosta Prize of 7,500 euros to the best entrepreneurial project that establishes the enterprise in the Pépinière d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont-Saint-Martin;

  • Distretto Aerospaziale Piemonte, an association that aims to strengthen the aerospace sector-working with all players in the sector and also through the creation of projects for the dissemination of innovation-will award the 7,500-euro Sustainability in Aerospace Prize to the best project that considers the theme of sustainability in aeronautics and space;

  • Laura & Franco Beltramo ETS Foundation, an entity that supports innovative projects in the field of scientific research and technological innovation, will offer two Social Innovation Prizes totaling 15,000 euros for two best entrepreneurial projects in the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture and food needs that promote social progress and the development of better living conditions;

  • LINKS Foundation, a research center interested in fostering technological and economic growth, increasing ecosystem competitiveness and enhancing intellectual property, will award the City of Future and Sustainability Prize, worth a total of 7,500 euros in the form of services, to up to two of the best projects proposing innovative products and/or services based on sustainability-related technologies;

  • Jacobacci & Partners, a reference firm in the Italian scene and one of the leading European companies in the field of intellectual property protection, will allocate to the two best entrepreneurial projects with intellectual property features, two prizes with a total value of 7,000 euros, disbursed in the form of services;

  • the UniCredit Start Lab Prize, offered by UniCredit, which is interested in supporting innovative startups in the stages of business life with specific actions, will consist of a mentorship session to assess a project's eligibility for targeted content of the Start Lab program;

  • three 5G & Emerging Tech awards in services for the best 5G-related entrepreneurial projects, offered as part of the City of Turin's CTE NEXT project.

Five special mentions are also planned:

  • "Female Entrepreneurship", for the best female business project with a female-dominated team (greater than 50 percent);

  • "Social Innovation". for the best 'Social Innovation' project, which proposes innovative solutions in one of the fields stipulated in Article 2(1) of Legislative Decree 155/2006 on social enterprise;

  • "Open Innovation / Industrial Spin Off", dedicated to the best project concerning innovative products and/or services resulting from a Research activity conducted in collaboration between a company and a university in Piedmont;

  • "Climate Change", for the best business project with an impact on climate change that can integrate innovation, technology, protection and enhancement of natural resources in order to generate economic growth and environmental protection;

  • "Sustainable Technologies", to the best project that stands out particularly for its originality in the field of sustainable technologies, awarded by Jacobacci & Partners.

To stay up-to-date on all the competition news, you can subscribe to the email newsletter via the form available at the bottom of each page of the competition website, or follow Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta on its official social channels: Facebook, LinkedIn and X.

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