Applications are open for the 7th edition

The Boldbrain Startup Challenge adventure is about to begin: it’s time for the most innovative ideas to shine! From today, Tuesday, April 23, until Friday, June 14, 2024, the application period is open to participate in the seventh edition of our accelerator, organized by Fondazione Agire in collaboration with USI Startup Centre.

Over the past years, we have registered a total of more than 650 applications, from which 120 startups were selected and given the opportunity to participate in the program. Of these, 50% became corporations registered in Ticino, while 25% were incubated at the USI Startup Center. Throughout the editions from 2018 to 2023, we awarded startups with a substantial prize pool, exceeding the total value of 1 million Swiss francs, including cash and in-kind prizes, in addition to having provided about 2,800 hours of coaching, delivered under the Cantonal mandate with support from SECO.

For the current edition, there is a big news: our program is addressing sustainability principles in a more incisive and tangible way. This will manifest itself in a number of concrete initiatives, starting with the introduction of a sixth workshop dedicated exclusively to sustainability, organized in collaboration with Impact Hub Ticino. The goal of this workshop is to provide startuppers with a greater awareness of the importance of sustainability within their projects. It is an opportunity for young teams to gain fundamental knowledge on a topic of crucial relevance today, enabling them to identify key indicators and compensation strategies to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of their initiatives. To further solidify this resolve, a series of measures are planned that will involve different aspects of the accelerator. These measures will be introduced gradually and will cover the selection of coaches and jury members, the choice of materials used, and the logistics of the events. In this way, we have a concrete goal of becoming a model of a sustainable accelerator, actively contributing to environmental friendliness.

But we’re not stopping there: the common thread of the program is innovation, which is why, after six years of growth, the program is being revamped with a fully updated website, which will host on the one hand the generic program information page and, on the other hand, a detailed archive of previous editions that shows the history of participants and winners. A unique opportunity to explore the journey of startups that have made Boldbrain history.

Thanks to the support of the Economic Division of the Department of Finance and Economic Affairs (DFE) of Canton Ticino, BancaStato and other sponsors, Boldbrain provides total prizes of 120,000 CHF in cash, accompanied by in-kind awards worth a total of about 80,000 CHF. Among them, the first-prize awardees receive an outstanding prize consisting of a scholarship for the EMBA program at USI, worth 56,000 CHF, which, through a comprehensive curriculum and innovative teaching methodology, enables participants to develop advanced managerial skills and expand their professional network, conferring an internationally recognized degree. Finalist startups can also obtain, under certain conditions, recognition as an “Innovative Startup,” a certificate that offers tax benefits provided by Canton Ticino for both emerging companies and the investors who support them.

To provide more details to interested parties, an InfoDAY is scheduled at the VistaLago restaurant in Lugano on Thursday, May 16. This meeting is recommended for all those who are considering applying and wish to obtain further clarification. We warmly invite all those who are interested to attend; the organizing team will be happy to answer any questions or concerns related to your innovative idea. To participate, you must register here.

2024 Edition – timing

From April 23 to June 14, by 11:50 p.m., you can apply via the online platform. During the summer, the top 20 startups will be selected for the opportunity to participate in the accelerator. The teams will begin their journey with an inaugural meeting set for Aug. 29. From then on, they will work intensively with the support of professional coaches until Nov. 22, when the regional jury will select the 10 projects that will advance to the next stage. The final ceremony will be held on December 4 at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano, where the 10 finalist projects will be presented. During this event, the prizes decided by the national jury will be awarded, as well as an additional award given by the audience present in the hall.

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