The world of start-up finance used to be fairly simple – you’d go to friends and family, your bank manager or, if you were lucky, a business angel.
Increasingly, however, start-ups are using competitions as a way to scoop up much-needed funds in the crucial formative stage.
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Tax app finder goCatch – run by two young Sydney entrepreneurs – managed to amass a handy $500,000 from, in part, success in pitch competitions. The venture continued its winning streak in a Microsoft-backed competition last week.
Competitions don’t just provide funds of course – they can offer even more valuable intangibles, such as mentoring, networking or even just a first-hand lesson on how you should pitch your business to potential investors or clients.
So which competitions should you be applying to? We have picked out 10 of the best from around the world. To check out each competition, click on the tabs below.
Billed as a cross between X Factor and Dragon’s Den, The Million Pound Startup competition is the latest initiative aimed at capturing the best ideas of would-be entrepreneurs.
The UK-based competition is open to any enterprise in the world, as long as they have under £1 million ($1.522 million) in revenue and have an idea, product or business that’s less than 10 years old.
The winning start-up will get £1 million in investment, with organisers promising that they will help propel the business to £100 million revenue.
The catch? You’ll have to relocate to London in order to claim your prize.
Kam Star, founder of the event, told The Guardian: “This is the X Factor approach – just as they see that £1m record contract being dangled by Simon Cowell and get inspired by that, we want people to get something on paper and move forward.”