This year at Viva Tech, not all startups are confined to pitching on their stands to potential investors. For some, the event was an opportunity to participate in the European finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup. This event, co-organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the MiSK Global Forum, aims to provide startups with tools and resources they need to succeed. The support can take the form of training, mentoring and, of course, great cash prizes.
“It’s more than just a pitch competition,” the organizers claim. “The EWC represents a real opportunity for entrepreneurs to integrate a virtual accelerator,” says Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network,”Everyone who decides to enter the competition is able to learn something and improve, even if they don’t win prizes.” At the moment, the competition brings together some 67,000 challengers from 170 countries, and the organisers hope to reach the symbolic milestone of 100,000 participants. Shaima Hamidaddin, Executive Manager at Misk Global Forum, explains the choice to use VivaTech as a platform for this event: “We made this decision because we believe in VivaTech’s mandate to create possibilities for the future, and to include youth into these possibilities”.
“Compare yourself, measure yourself, be inspired”
After a period of preparation during which participants sharpened their skills through virtual training sessions, the salon got them to the heart of the subject. In turn, a representative of each startup went on stage to present his concept to a jury of experts in 3 minutes. They were evaluated according to 4 criteria: creativity, market, feasibility, and team. An arduous exercise, in order to try to win a prize of up to €50,000. A nice sum, which is not the only source of motivation for the participants. According to Thomas Estier, co-founder of Rovenso, a young Swiss company that markets a rolling robo that patrols industrial sites, “it is also important to be able to compare yourself, measure yourself against others and be inspired by the different ways of doing things around the world”. In fact, organizers and participants are united in defending the fact that rewards are not everything. On the contrary, the opportunities for networking, partnerships and mentoring are just as attractive for startups.
Winners for a day…
The French final rewarded Charlotte Journo-Baur, founder and CEO of Wishibam, a marketplace aimed at rehumanizing online commerce, in order to reduce the impact of e-commerce on society. The winner of the day rejoiced at the end of the competition and shared her impressions of the event: “It is always very interesting and enriching to meet people, especially profiles like those of the jury members, who know their subject well and are always of good advice. Moreover, it is important to show what we are doing and it gives us great visibility“. Winner of both the public prize and first place in the competition, the young director said she was very proud of these prizes, which will allow her to invest more in technology, and “eager to represent her team at the world final”.
… winners for a long time
If the day rewarded several beautiful projects, it also offers to the 5 best startups of the day a range of possibilities. First, going to Riyadh in November, to try to win the global final of the competition. Then, participating in various training sessions as part of the EWC and networking with potential investors. Finally, to join the Starters Club, a global network of entrepreneurs, which encourages exchanges, partnerships and peer support. For Jaime de Borbon, director of Plug and Play, and member of the jury, this type of competition is “very important. We must all strive to promote innovation at all levels, and this event brings together actors – incubators, accelerators – from all sides, who could be competitors, and brings them to the same table in order to promote innovation”.