If you are working on an innovative idea, or have already taken your first steps in the market, and your team members come from Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Pella, or Florina, then this challenge is for you.
At Next Stage Challenge:
Submit your application in one of the following three stages
You have an innovative idea and the next stage is to validate if the market you are targeting is the right fit for your product or service
You have created an early version of your product or service and the next stage is to attract your first customers
You are already in the market and have early revenues and the next stage is to grow your business
to be able to identify the risk factors of your business model and learn how to manage them
to perform a better market analysis, map the competitive landscape, evaluate the financial opportunity, etc.
adapted to your stage of development in order to better assess and communicate your business model
with experienced entrepreneurs and market stakeholders
worth over 20.000€ to help you get to the next stage
30 applications are selected to participate in our program
Semi-finals for the selection of the finalists
Final competition and awards ceremony
Be the first to know
The 15 teams selected at the semi-finals will present their business models to a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors, and corporate actors, to claim awards and prizes worth over 20.000€.
The awards will be claimed in the form of monetary support and/or the provision of services based on the needs of the winning startups.
A wider network of supporting organizations will select some of the 15 teams to receive extra prizes.
Dimitris Kourtesis, Nikos Tsoniotis, and Stefanos Tsiakmakis are tech entrepreneurs, co-founders of Ideas Forward, and coaches at OK!Thess. They have supported more than 100 startups at different stages of their development. They are responsible for training and coaching the teams of Next Stage Challenge 2021.
Introductory courses to the training program of the competition will be conducted by experienced members of the Center for Volunteer Managers of Greece (KEMEL). KEMEL is composed of active and former senior executives of Greek and multinational companies with a strong willingness to volunteer.
Yes. Participation is open: a) to existing companies, b) to groups of co-founders or individual founders of business ventures who have not yet started a business.
The cost of organizing this year's Next Stage Challenge is covered by the iCBA program, which aims to help startup founders and businesses operating in the specific Region.
Yes. Not all team members have to be from Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Pella, or Florina, as long as one member of the founding team lives there.
Yes. A company can participate if it has a headquarters or branch in the target areas, or if a legal representative resides there permanently.
You should be ready to invest about 25 hours, over a period of 8 weeks, in order for us to work together on your project. Preparation for the 30 startups that will be accepted starts on May 15, 2021, and lasts until July 15. Every week you will be doing either a three-hour training workshop with all teams participating, or a coaching session for your team only.
Full attendance at the training program is not mandatory but we believe that in most teams it will be catalytic, in order to claim their qualification to the 15 finalists and a distinction in the finals. A minimum level of participation in coaching and training sessions is a prerequisite for participation.
The preparation of the 30 teams (15/5 - 15/7) and the semifinal will be conducted online. If the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic allow it, the final competition may take place in Thessaloniki, requiring a physical presence.
In more detail:
1. Degree of clarity in the description of the customer need and the value proposition
In particular, for groups at different stages:
2. Complementarity and team readiness
3. Market size / economic perspective
(Common criterion for teams of all stages)
4. Degree of innovation
(Common criterion for teams of all stages)
Not necessarily. We strongly encourage participation by founders who seek to bring innovative technology to market, or seek to utilize technology to create new services and products. The key objective is business model innovation and this does not necessarily have to come in the form of new technology.