The competition is open to individuals, teams and companies, including those that are domiciled outside the region of Northwestern Switzerland, or abroad. You may submit your innovation in one of the official languages of Switzerland or in English. Correspondence will be in German or English.
The closing date for participation is 28 February 2017. The closing date can be extended, as an exception, if there is good cause.

Regular application

Your application should be made using the application form. A business idea can be entered more than once for the competition. Business ideas that have been awarded a prize may not be entered again.

Exceptional admission
The SWISS STARTUP CHALLENGE reserves the right to admit unusually creative or innovative business ideas of particular relevance and/or excellent quality during the course of the year, up until the second round of selection at the latest. The condition is that they must fulfil the same criteria as the participants who are already registered for the competition. Participants who are granted exceptional admission have a right to the same offer of support as the previously admitted participants.

Conditions of Participation

You must fulfil the following conditions in order to participate in the SWISS STARTUP CHALLENGE:

  • You are planning to set up a business or have set up a business in the last two years.
  • Your business idea must be submitted in one of the languages of Switzerland or in English.
  • You may apply as an individual or a team.

The SWISS STARTUP CHALLENGE reserves the right to refuse an application or to exclude applicants from the competition without giving a reason.

As a participant in the SWISS STARTUP CHALLENGE you have the right to a range of mentoring offers. You can decide for yourself whether you wish to take advantage of the various offers, in accordance with your individual stage of knowledge and experience. Taking advantage of the offers is not a prerequisite for admission to the selection presentations.

All mentoring is free of charge for as long as you remain in the competition.

Alongside these free offers you may also use any other offers of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) or other providers for a fee.

As learning needs vary in the different
s of developing a business idea, the mentoring concept is geared specifically to the three phases of the competition.

    • Structure of the mentoring concept
    • (Venn diagram)
    • Acquiring knowledge
    • Acquire and apply learning from the fields of economics, law, entrepreneurship, etc.
    • Individual mentoring/consulting
    • Experience personal mentoring and individual consulting and support
      Network and practice
    • Sharing experience with peers and discussing topics relevant to start-ups

Expand your knowledge

  • KTI course “Business Creation”: get ready to create your start-up in 5 days
  • Continuing education offer BWZ
  • Languages
  • Bookkeeping
  • etc.

Benefit from a tailored consultation

All participants have the right to an individual consultation/mentoring. You can choose between the following two types of coaching:
Individual personal coaching by experienced coaches, who themselves started up their own enterprises and established successful businesses, with a focus on the process of creating and developing ideas as well as developing the right attitude and high motivation along the way to self-employment.
Expert coaching by experts from the SWISS STARTUP CHALLENGE network, addressing specific questions on particular topics (e.g. on marketing, financing or legal questions)
The mentoring/consultation is limited to one hour per phase. You can decide which form of consultation you wish to have. A combination of different forms is also possible.
If you do not take advantage of the available hour of consultation in one phase, you can have it in the following phase, if you are still in the competition.
We have a network of professional coaches who can support you in specific ways. If you need an individual solution, please contact the Administrative Head. We will recommend the best coach for your particular question.
An additional coaching offer may be made for participants who need further coaching in a purely technical field. If you are interested in additional coaching, please contact the Administrative Head.

Take advantage of sharing and networking opportunities

Brown Bags – benefit from the experience and knowledge of others
As the founder of a business you may be in a phase of exploring and trying out ideas and feel the need to share with peers and learn from experienced entrepreneurs. For this we offer the Brown Bag events.
Brown Bags are lunchtime information events on specific, relevant start-up topics. Experienced Brown Bag speakers from the Start-up Academy report on their experience and are available afterwards to answer participants’ question. A light lunch is provided. The Brown Bag events take place once a month in the first and second phases of the Challenge.
Dates for these events can be found under Events

Prize money

The best business idea in each category will be awarded CHF 20,000, the second best will be awarded CHF 3,000 and the third will be awarded CHF 2,000.
The prize money is intended to be used to start a business, clarify and develop the potential of a submitted business idea, or to professionalize a business plan and/or to run a business.