As the saying goes, you have to be in it to win it, and now is the chance for central and eastern European startups and small businesses.

With a fast-approaching deadline, SMEs from the region could be in with a chance of being awareded up to one million euros in funding the third series of the CEE Scaleup Challenge.

Supported by Vestbee, a matching platform that connects accelerators, corporates and startups in the region, the scale-up challenge is the largest online competition that startups in CEE can enter.

The virtual pitching event 

What makes this competition different is its claim to take ‘pitching to the next e-level’. This means that applicants don’t even have to leave their offices in order to participate – the entire competition is hosted online.

For startups invested in energy and clean tech, this year’s special prize of a fast track to Boostway by InnoEnergy will provide the winners with support in market expansion and fundraising support.

With the first round attracting 300 applicants and the second reaching the attention of 700 entrants, the third round of the CEE Startup Challenge is anticipated to be even bigger.

According to the organisation’s press release, this time the challenge will connect SMEs with prominent partners such as Notion, Almaz Capital and the CEE Business Angels Network among many more VC funds. The aim of such partnerships is international exposure, networking opportunities and business tools.

CEE in focus

“Rapidly developing tech scenes in Central & Eastern Europe lead to a large supply of innovative projects that attract many global investors and corporates,’’ says Vestbee Founder Ewa Chronowska.

‘‘CEE Scaleup Challenge places particular emphasis on regional scaleups that hit a lot of walls during their expansion, like small markets or lack of capital. Having a wide global network of investors and business partners in one place, we can support entrepreneurs in getting necessary exposure, acquiring cross-border contacts and funding in a very efficient way.”

‘‘CEE Scaleup Challenge places particular emphasis on regional scaleups that hit a lot of walls during their expansion, like small markets or lack of capital.”

As to who should apply for this opportunity, the net has been cast far and wide. Startups focussing in the areas of Business, AI, Big Data, Fintech, Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, Transport and Logistics, Health, Planet and Sustainability are all welcome to get involved before the deadline date of June 9.

  • Interested startups can apply here until June 9th. 
  • The Finalists of the CEE Scaleup Challenge will be announced on June 25th.
  • For more information, please consult the program webpage
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