10 awards to fund your early stage idea

In Fundraising by Sébastien FluryLeave a Comment

So you have an idea? And you’ve not yet incorporated your company? And you only rely on your own savings. You need some money to transform your idea on paper into a product. Where do you get money?

Most of the time, you won’t find any financing with just a “paper prototype”… Except if you’ve already built successful startups who made a lot of money to your previous investors. Don’t dream, you’re not there yet!

There are plenty of awards in Switzerland, but to have a chance to win, you need to be already running your business with a bit of success. Yes. But there are also a few other awards which specifically target non-incorporated projects.

Here there are!


Coaching organization Genilem and Yverdon-based high-school Heig-VD partnered to launch a business plan competition:

  • prize money (in cash): CHF 20’000.00
  • additional support: 3 years of mentoring provided by Genilem
  • participants: applications are restricted to students or employees from high-schools of canton of Vaud and Geneva (HEIG-VD, HES La Source, ECAL, HESAV, EESP, HEMU, EHL, HETSR, EIC)
  • deadline: 24th of May 2013 (you need to register today but don’t need to submit your Business Plan now)
  • award ceremony: October 2013


SEIF Award is a young prize started in 2012.

  • prize money: four times CHF 10’000.00
  • participants: oriented to social entrepreneurs desiring to solve a social or ecological problem
  • deadline: 31st May 2013
  • award ceremony: 3rd June 2013
International Create Challenge is a program started in 2012 by Martigny-based research lab ID-HEAP.
  • award: 3 weeks of hands-on acceleration and mentoring
  • prize money: CHF 10’000.00 (in the end of the program)
  • participants: everyone can participate, so long as you can attend the program in September (21.09 – 11.10.2013)
  • deadline: 14th of June 2013
  • decision: in June 2013


Swiss startups awards is a competition powered and backed by Startups.ch, AXA and Axpo.

  • prize money: 3 prizes of CHF 50’000.00 (one is specifically dedicated to energy projects)
  • participants: everyone can submit his project
  • deadline: 30th June 2013
  • award ceremony: 30th of October 2013


James Dyson Award is an international award powered by the famous Dyson foundation.

  • prize money: CHF 50’000.00
  • participants: students in product/industrial design and engineers. Open to graduate until 4 years after graduation
  • deadline: 1st August 2013
  • award ceremony: 7th November 2013
  • prize money: CHF 20’000.00
  • participants: restricted to students from University Lausanne (UNIL) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL)
  • deadline: October 2013 (not released now)
  • award ceremony: May 2014
M2M Challenge Innovation competition
  • prize money: up to CHF 160’000.00
  • participants: open to anyone, as long as it is in the Machine-2-Machine category (especially for Energy, Mobility, Security, Healthcare and consumer electronics)
  • deadline: 30th November 2013
  • award ceremony: May 2014

Be.project is a student competition powered by the international consulting company BearingPoint.

  • prize money: EUR 6’000.00 for local award, an additional EUR 6’000.00 for the international winner
  • participants: business and IT students from universities in Switzerland, Belgium, France, Germany and Netherlands
  • deadline: mid-March 2014 (registration for this year are over…)
  • award ceremony: June 2014

Berner Business Plan competition

  • prize money: 2 times CHF 1’000.00 for the pitch competition, final award amounting CHF 8’000.00
  • participants: you live in canton of Bern or are registered in University of Bern or Bern high-school
  • deadline: October 2013 (registration for this years are over…)
  • award ceremony: March 2014
Venturekick is a pre-seed funding program providing 3 stages of funding for hightech startups.
  • prize money: CHF 130’000.00 per project maximum (3 pitches for every phase (10/20/100k) on a 9 months timeframe). Around CHF 2M are allocated every year to 50 projects.
  • participants: you need to be registered in a high-school (as a student, professor or researcher)
  • deadline: no deadline, it’s a continuous process with a pitching session every month!

This post is unfortunately not exhaustive. So if you know additional business plan competition fitting to the criteria of this list (oriented to students and not incorporated companies), please let me know! I’ll update the article afterwards.