Category: News

DIGIFED – Application Experiment and Digital Challenge Call

DigiFed offers grants of up to €50 000 as well as technical and business support for the development of smart applications in Europe!

The EU-funded project “Digital Innovation Hubs Federation For Large Scale adoption of digital technologies by European SMEs” has just opened its third call for applications.

Operating within the framework of the Smart Anything Everywhere Initiative, DigiFed seeks to boost the adoption of advanced digital technologies, or cyber-physical systems (CPS), by EU SMEs with a focus on non-digital businesses.

It will help applicants implement business plans for the sustainability of the federation of Digital Innovation Hubs designated by the European Commission, while providing key support mechanisms for both individual companies and groups of SMEs to foster the introduction of digital technologies in their product-and-service offerings.

If you are:

  • Developing novel and innovative smart solutions worthy of market leaders.
  • Bridging the physical and virtual worlds with advanced technologies and industrialized solutions.
  • Interested in using premium resources and competencies to speed up development.
  • Wishing to access a unique European ecosystem composed of leading industrial companies, world-class research organizations, innovation accelerators and private investors.

DigiFed offers you:

  • Access to industrial platforms in the domain of cyber-physical and embedded systems (CPS).
  • Product support aimed at bringing your innovations to target markets.
  • Up to € 50k in funding per applicant SME – representing 70% of your project’s total declared budget.
  • Access to high-level technical expertise pooled from research centers across Europe.
  • Innovation management support focusing on sustainable business development – to bring your innovation to market via DigiFed and the Smart Anything Everywhere ecosystem.
  • Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) services to identify technical partners, commercial opportunities in Europe and receive tailored support, webinars, and boot camps through the DigiFed project.

Application Experiments (AEs) are the core activity of DigiFed. This pathway directly supports SMEs and Midcaps with different levels of digital maturity:

  • For SMEs with low digital maturity, it offers the capacity for SMEs to catch up and upgrade their skills and existing products with dedicated services, tools, and solutions.
  • For SMEs with higher digital maturity, it offers further innovative technology integration as well as access to potential customers including larger industrial stakeholders.

The third open call presents three types of Application Experiment:

  1. Single AE: involves one European SME and one DigiFed Technical partner which provides support and expertise.
  2. Twin AE: involves two European SMEs with complementary expertise and legally based in two different countries (cross-border condition).
  3. Twin AE with one low-digitalized company: involves two SMEs cooperating cross-border, of which at least one with a low digital maturity level. In this configuration, Twin applicants can request the additional optional support of a DigiFed Technical partner.
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BlockStart Open Call – Funding for Blockchain Startups

BlockStart is offering to fund blockchain partnerships targeting SMEs. The funding comes from the EU Horizon 2020 program, which invests in research to improve Europe’s competitiveness!

Until 26 May 2021, startups can apply to BlockStart’s Partnership Programme, partner with end-user SMEs, and receive up to €20,000 to validate and pilot their blockchain solutions.

BlockStart is a pan-European blockchain/DLT acceleration programme. Its main objective is to facilitate mutually beneficial partnerships between blockchain/DLT solution providers and end-user SMEs.

In its 3rd and final Open Call, BlockStart is looking for early and growth-stage blockchain/DLT startups from all over the EU and H2020 Associated Countries. This 3 stage-immersive acceleration programme (Ideation Kick-off > Prototype > Pilot) will manage a fund of at least €265,000 aimed at financing blockchain/DLT technologies in the fields of fintech, ICT and retail, with selected startups receiving up to €20,000 equity-free funding per pilot.

The offer

This programme will provide startups with access to a variety of perks, including equity-free funding, access to piloting opportunities, mentorship, and exposure to investors and advisors.

The selected startups will go through a 6-month programme that starts with the Ideation Kick-off (a match between at least 10 end-user SMEs and 20 or more solution providers), after which the top 10 technology providers are admitted to a 4-month Prototype stage aimed at supporting the blockchain/DLT product/market fit. During the 2-month Pilot stage, the 5 (or more) startup finalists working with blockchain and other DLTs will have a unique opportunity to validate their solutions and refine their products, grow their business, and work closely with potential customers (i.e., end-user SMEs). At the end of the programme, selected startups will have the chance to pitch to a large audience of investors, stakeholders, startups and others at BlockStart’s Demo Day, planned for February 2022.

How to apply

Any European or H2020 Associated Country startup that works with blockchain/DLT technologies in the fields of fintech, ICT and retail is eligible as a participant and should fill in an online application form at F6S platform. Deadline for applications is 26 May at 5pm CET (Brussels Time).

For more information on application criteria and how to apply, you can go to and consult our FAQ section. BlockStart will also organize 2 Q&A Webinars for future applicants on 14 April and 12 May 2021 at 11am CET (Brussels Time) and you can save your seat here and here.

Collaborating with end-user SMEs

One of the main objectives of BlockStart is to encourage collaboration between end-user SMEs and potential blockchain/DLT specialists, as technology providers, and to promote knowledge about the benefits and opportunities of these technologies.

Only SMEs operating in the fields of fintech, ICT and retail are eligible and should through a dedicated open call for SME adopters, by filling in a dedicated online application form.

Selected SME adopters will benefit from up to €4,500 equity-free funding and will have the chance to implement blockchain/DLT pilot solutions with the startups that have gone through the 3rd previously described BlockStart Partnership Programme. Applications for end-user SMEs are expected to have 2 cut-off dates – the 1st one for participation at the Ideation Kick-off and the 2nd one for piloting blockchain/DLT solution at the programme’s Pilot stage. The deadline for the 1st cut-off date is 6 July 2021 at 5pm CET (Brussels Time).

The BlockStart Consortium

BlockStart is run by a team of 3 partners: Bright Pixel, an early-stage VC investor, CIVITTA, a leading innovation management consultancy in Eastern and Central Europe, and F6S, a global tech founders’ community. This project is funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, under grant agreement No 828853.

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Space Hubs Network – Call for Startups

The Space Hubs Network fosters the development and helps excel the most promising entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups and SMEs in the space technology sector!

The first Space Hubs Network (SUN) Open Call providing mentorship and support services to entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups opens from the 15th April until the 27th May, by 12h CEST. The two-year EU-funded programme, which aims to help start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs develop and excel their technology in the space sector, offers three different stages of support: pre-incubation, pre-acceleration and post-acceleration -, suitable to the needs of applicants.

  • Pre-incubation – aims to support entrepreneurs that have promising business ideas and helping them to reach solutions, preparing and matching them with incubation initiatives. The duration of the programme is three months.
  • Pre-acceleration – provides help to start-ups to reach a market/solution fit, preparing them to the acceleration stage and/or getting in the most reputable programmes or secure pre-seed investment. The duration of the programme is six months.
  • Post-acceleration – the objective is to scout and mentor start-ups and scale-ups that already have significant traction and help them to secure seed or series A investment, or sell their products/services to a large number of customers. The duration of the programme is six months.

During the mentorships programmes, SUN will provide different support such as, assign one mentor throughout the whole programme to participating teams or entrepreneurs, regular sessions (online or face to face), an additional mentor if needed for specific topics and the opportunity to participate in experience sharing sessions. All of the support given is free of charge to all attendees.

SUN is promoted by six organisations experienced in the space sector and start-ups industry community: Axsysnav, Brimatech Services, Civitta Romania, F6S, Science Park Graz and Startup Division.

Applications for the programme are open until the 27th May, 12:00 CEST.

More information can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or

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MPowerBIO Investment Readiness Programme – Call for Startups

The MPowerBIO programme offers training, matchmaking, and pitching opportunities to food and bioeconomy startups and SMEs!

MPowerBIO is a business and investment readiness programme that helps ambitious bioeconomy enterprises to scale and make a greater impact.

The programme is designed to fuel the growth of leading bioeconomy SMEs by supporting their close collaboration with clusters, ecosystem builders, and investors. MPowerBIO offers international expert training, pitching opportunities, networking, and more.

Applications are now open for startups and SMEs in food and bioeconomy until June 10.

All services of the MPowerBIO programme are free of charge thanks to BBI JU.

Selected bioeconomy SMEs get:

  • Intensive coaching and networking
  • Access to investors
  • Access to interactive workshops
  • Opportunity to pitch at MPowerBIO Regional Events and the European Bioeconomy Venture Forum.

The programme is optimised for a complete digital experience without physical attendance to safeguard participants’ safety during the pandemic. A few optional activities may take place locally.

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EBAN Annual Congress 2021

Virtually join hundreds of investors and corporates on June 16-18th 2021– make connections, learn from experts and pitch in front of the world’s best angel investors1

The EBAN Congress will welcome more than 400 Business Leaders; Early Stage Investors; Business Angels; VCs; Entrepreneurs; Accelerators; Corporates; Policy Makers Seed Funds and Startups. The event will focus on how business angel investors can support the EU on accelerating the innovation cycle and overcome the many challenges our society faces in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis.

The EBAN Annual Congress is widely recognized as one of Europe’s largest international private investment & entrepreneurship events. The event will take place over a three-days, including Investor Led Workshops, Keynotes, pitching sessions, round table workshops etc.

Who can apply?

  • Early stage companies (not older than 5 years);
  •  Actively fundraising for an equity investment of between €50K – €5M;
  • Company based in any EU country.

What you will find:

  • Up to 5 complimentary Annual Congress tickets per team;
  • Pitching slot;
  • Booth at the Virtual Exhibition Fair with a featured video pitch;
  • Profile listed on the Congress website and promotional campaigns;
  • Access to various workshops for entrepreneurs;
  • Access to virtual networking area and possibility of 1-1 matchmaking meetings facilitated by EIPP.

Shortlisted startups – Join the Virtual Exhibition Fair!

All shortlisted startups not selected to pitch at the Congress will receive 1 free ticket to the event with access to all workshops, sessions and networking opportunities, as well as being featured in the virtual exhibition fair with a video pitch, company profile, chat and more.

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EIT Digital Challenge 2021

20 scaleups will compete in the final of the EIT Digital Challenge, Europe’s leading competition for European digital deep tech companies. Take part in the 2021 edition to win international growth support totaling €250,000 that will be awarded to 3 winners!

Being awarded by the EIT Digital Challenge represents a significant milestone for scaleups on the verge to grow and expand internationally. Europe’s flagship Deep Tech competition for fast-growing digital scale-ups, the EIT Digital Challenge, covers a wide variety of topics spanning from Digital Finance, Digital Tech, and Digital Wellbeing to Digital Cities and Digital Industry.

Wim Van Hecke

CEO & Co-founder of 2020 winner Icometrix
This is a very prestigious award. Having followed my competitors’ pitches already made me feel humble to be among these finalists coming from such a wide range of sectors. This variety also shows a strength of Europe that we sometimes forget.

Since its launch in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has attracted more than 2,500 entries from all over Europe. Prominent award winners include KONUX, Medicus.AI, or SidekickHealth, digital technology scaleups that have become internationally successful companies. In 2020, a record number of 403 scaleups from 32 countries applied for the competition. Almost 40% of applicants, 55% of the 20 finalists, and 60% of winners feature women as founders or C-level executives. With average revenues of €1.4M, average funding of €7.6M, and average staff of more than 40, the 2020 laureates are the most mature prize winners in the 7-year history of the Challenge. Overall, the EIT Digital Accelerator has supported startups and scaleups from 18 countries that have raised over 1 billion euros in investment.

Chahab Nastar

EIT Digital Chief Innovation Officer
It is our ambition to help companies overcome the fragmented European market and successfully grow across the continent. The EIT Digital Challenge is our key instrument to identify the best European deep tech entrepreneurs and help them, through our Accelerator, to raise funds, access new markets, and scale up internationally. We support them to become leading companies on the global market and enhance Europe’s competitiveness in digital.

Charlotte Journo-Baur

CEO of 2020 winner Wishibam
I can see all the new opportunities that are opening up for Wishibam across Europe thanks to EIT and it is very very exciting. This is really a team victory that is going to do so much for our development, we are truly thrilled. […] I think we will benefit a lot from the accelerator’s network to reach customers in parts of Europe where we haven’t yet had a chance to show our potential. The accelerator will also help us meet investors from diverse backgrounds and give us a better appreciation of the different fundraising options that exist across the continent.

Win Cash Prizes & Tailored Growth Support totaling €250,000

This year, the competition intensifies with one winner across all focus areas. “We will select 20 companies out of all applicants and invite them to an exclusive event in the autumn where they will pitch to a jury of high-profile corporates and investors,” says Shehryar Piracha, Head of the EIT Digital Accelerator.“ A total of 3 winners will be announced during this event, one Challenge winner and two runners-up. They all will receive a full year of tailored support from the EIT Digital Accelerator, valued at €50,000. On top of that, the Challenge winner will receive a cash prize of €100,000.”

The EIT Digital Accelerator was recognized as one of the five World Top Public Business Accelerators and the program with the best pan-European reach, and as Top 4 European Accelerator brand in the Startup Heatmap Europe report. The Accelerator supports the EIT Digital Challenge winners in scaling up their business by helping them secure international customers in target markets and raise growth funding. In addition, your business gains:

  • Access to International Markets
  • Access to Funding & Strategies
  • Access to Networking with 200+ Pan-European Innovation Partners
  • International Visibility

Eligibility Criteria for the EIT Digital Challenge 2021

This year, the EIT Digital Challenge takes place for the eighth consecutive year and focuses on Deep Tech digital scaleups with a differentiating product offering, leveraging sophisticated, hard-to-reproduce digital technologies that fuel Europe’s digital transformation in five main thematic areas:

  • Digital Technology: Inventing the digital future with core technologies providing secure, robust, responsive, and intelligent communications and computation.
  • Digital Cities: Serving the cities with digital technologies addressing urban mobility, citizen inclusiveness and engagement, and city safety.
  • Digital Industry: The digital transformation of the industry, from production to logistics to retail.
  • Digital Wellbeing: Safeguarding health for the youth, the working professional, and the elderly by analyzing sensor data.
  • Digital Finance: The disruption of digital transactions and institutions with technologies that allow transparency, efficiency, security, and trust.

In terms of technologies – the doors are open to all ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drones, and Blockchain to 3D Printing, Big Data, IoT, and more!

Your business is ready to join the challenge if:

  • Nationality: You are incorporated in the EU 27 + Horizon Europe associated countries (full list here)
  • Innovative Product/Service: You have an innovative digital product or service in one of the five Deep Tech thematic areas:
    • Digital Tech, Digital Industry, Digital Finance, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing
    • Additional Information on the Focus Area/Categories here
  • Founding Year: Your company is less than 10 years old (01/01/2011)
  • Maturity: Your business is at the growth stage and ready to scale internationally, to be proven by meeting one of the following criteria:
    • minimum revenue of €300,000 in 2020, or
    • minimum revenue of €300,000 in 2021 until the date of submission, or
    • minimum €2,000,000 of total funding

To further support women in tech, EIT Digital especially encourages female founders and leaders (CXO) to join the Challenge in 2021.

Timeline of the EIT Digital Challenge

  • Submission Deadline: 10 May 2021
  • Finalist Selection 10 May – July 2021
  • Finalists Announcement: July 2021
  • Final Event: September 2021
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ViennaUP’21 is happy to offer a platform for matchmaking across events. If you want to engage with the ViennaUP community, you have the opportunity to send and receive meeting requests 24/7 from 27th of April to 12th of May, 2021!

Vienna sends a unique digital sign to a global audience: With ViennaUP´21 digital the city will host the largest decentralized and community-driven virtual startup event in Spring 2021.

Given recent developments and the remaining uncertainty in terms of COVID-19, ViennaUP´21 takes the next leap and goes 100% digital. Health comes first, but that doesn’t mean forgoing networking with an international audience of startups, investors, companies, and talents, as well as learning opportunities and having open conversations.

Participants have the opportunity to dive into hotly discussed topics across different industries, start a conversation with other smart minds, expand their international network, and get inspired.

What to expect?
  • 40+ program partners – key players from the local and international startup scene 
  • dozens of online events – from conferences, network meetings, workshops to lectures
  • a strong focus on trending topics such as
    • Health Tech & Life Sciences
    • Social Entrepreneurship
    • Smart Cities & Clean Tech
    • Creative Industries
    • Smart Manufacturing
    • Fintech & PropTech
How can you benefit from this event?
  • Meet and connect with people globally
  • Publish and showcase your products, projects, services or business needs to event participants
  • Initiate and arrange promising pre-scheduled 1:1 meetings from 27th April to 12th May 2021
  • Generate fresh leads and meet new contacts in a time and cost-efficient way
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ACCIO OPEN CHALLENGE B2B Matchmaking event

Find your innovation partner!

Reach your business goals by joining the #ACCIOpenChallenge!

STARTUP3 supports the ACCIÓ Open Challenge, a B2B meetings event between corporations, investors, and startups with cross-sector solutions and deep-tech innovations. ​​The main organizer of the event is ACCIÓ, a department of the Catalan Government’s Ministry of Enterprise and Labour, partnering with the Enterprise Europe Network, the largest business support network worldwide.

During the event, meetings will be organized online in the venues of the ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) congress and MWC/4YFN (Mobile World Congress Barcelona).

Why participate?

  • Identify potential international partners for future cooperation in tech or commercial projects
  • Increase your presence in a global event and gain the attention of potential partners
  • Get your personalised B2B agenda according to your interests & availability
  • Deal with open innovation challenges of large corporates
  • Gain promotion by the organizers through the EEN network market place
  • It’s a free (zero-cost) opportunity to engage with corporates and investors
  • Increase your presence in a global event
  • Launch a Challenge and discover a cutting edge solution
  • Identify potential venture opportunities
  • Get your personalised B2B agenda according to your interests & availability
2020 figures

The last edition, ACCIO Open challenge had the following figures:

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STARTUP3 AI Innovation Challenge

The 3rd and last STARTUP3 Innovation Challenge will be held on the 11th of May and it will put the spotlight on Artificial Intelligence, one of the key technologies of the deep-tech stage!

High-value startups from the STARTUP3 Accelerator and from the SCS Cluster ecosystem will expose their AI-integrated solutions and compete in front of key Corporations, SMEs, and academics experts in this field. The challenge winner will get a ticket and a dedicated spot on the SophI.A. Summit 2021, an international symposium presenting recent advances in Artificial Intelligence and its applications.

The contest will take place in the frame of the SCS Cluster Plenary AI/Big Data Working Group, a yearly event consisting of cross-discussions between startups, corporations, and researchers about the trends, challenges, and opportunities of each of SCS strategic technology areas – here AI and Big Data. The event is organised with the support of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.



9:00 -  Welcome


9:05 – Update of SCS AI Roadmap

  •  Market & Value Chain – HPE P. Baudelle
  • Technology Roadblocks – Orange Labs T. Nagellen
  • Training, education & challenges for SME’s – Data Science Tech Institute (DSTI) S. Corniglion
  • Use cases – Aiway M. Benoit
  • Research entities update – Aix-Marseille Université /LIS P.Bellot


9:30 – Technology watch

  • Normalisation & AI – Numalis A. Ioualalen
  • AI at the edge – HPE J.Riboulon


10:00 – Fresh news on AI

  • Challenges IA  by bpifrance : AMI Sponsors Vague 3 – SCS F. De Toma
    More information HERE
  • What is the SophI.A Summit ? – SCS F. De Toma
    More information HERE
  • Nouvel AAP pour les PMEs/Startups avec les ressources du 3IA Côte d’Azur – M. Barret
  • STARTUP3 AI Innovation Challenge – SCS C. Castell

         Latest news from the STARTUP3 Project
         Pitch battle
         Voting and prize giving

More information  HERE


11:25 – Innovative Use cases with AI

  • AI for textual data and document analytics insights and search – QWAM C. Langevin
  • Use case for safer connected car – Numalis A. Ioualalen & Ezako B. Kizil
  • Questions



 Registration required before 6th May 2021 to

For SCS members, cluster partners, and STARTUP3 beneficiaries – Registration free
> For Others – 250€ HT/participant

The webinar access codes will be communicated to you following your registration

With the support of

What are the STARTUP3 Innovation Challenges

In the frame of the STARTUP3 project are organised several Innovation Challenges in the form of pitch challenges or hackathons, by the three digital cluster partners ITC, LITC, and SCS Cluster. The aim is to offer deep-tech startups a spot to present their solutions in front of players of the different ecosystems and to foster emulation of companies in the same fields. 


Throwback on the past Innovation Challenges:

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Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge

A competition designed for science and deep tech entrepreneurs!

The Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge is a world-renowned competition designed to unearth early-stage startups that are developing cutting-edge, ‘deep’ technologies to tackle worldwide challenges. Selected participants will have the chance to win equity-free prize money of up to €100,000, customised coaching sessions, personal introductions with investors and corporates, global visibility, and the opportunity to pitch and showcase in front of an exclusive audience of investors and industry leaders at the annual Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, the biggest gathering of the deep tech ecosystem held on 2nd-3rd December 2021 in Paris.

What are the benefits for the startups?

  • €100K Grand Prize, €30K 2nd prize and €20K 3rd prize – all equity-free
  • 10 Track Winners will get customized coaching sessions & personal introductions with relevant investors & potential partners and clients.
  • 60 finalists will pitch in front of 400 stakeholders and a qualified jury of VCs, CTOs from large companies, scientists and media. 
  • Selected top startups (around 800) will:
    • Be invited to the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris on December 2nd – 3rd, 2021 along with opportunities to showcase their solutions.
    • Get exclusive access to Investor Day on December 1st, 2021 to meet 1-to-1 with 200 investors representing over $16Bn in fund sizes
      • 150 VCs such as DCVC, Atomico, SOSV, Sofinnova, Playground Capital, HTGF, IQ Capital, IdInvest, Balderton, Novo, Draper Esprit, etc.
      • 50 CVCs from companies such as ABB, Airbus, BASF, Bayer, Bosch, DSM, Evonik, IBM, Maersk, Merck, Samsung, Total, etc.
    • Be part of the Deep Tech Pioneers community for all-year access to a global deep tech ecosystem and to opportunities for visibility, funding and business development.

For more information, please visit Hello Tomorrow on, or follow them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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