Startup Europe Awards




In the last few weeks the cases of Coronavirus have skyrocketed globally, seriously affecting countries such as China, Italy and Spain.

In order to find a vaccine or a solution the European Commission has published a grant to support innovative ideas that can help to find a solution to COVID-19.

That is why from Finnova through our project Startup Europe Awards we launched the Health category of open innovation to support all those entrepreneurs who want to present their ideas for COVID-19 prevention. From how to prevent this virus; how to innovate in the cooperation of COVID-19; and how to follow up to avoid relapsing in the disease.

What is Finnova?

Finnova is a European non-profit foundation based in Brussels, which supports the financing of innovation in companies, regions and municipalities. Our areas of expertise include sustainable development, circular economy, water and waste management, employment and youth, ICT and tourism, among others.

What do we do?

We promote innovative initiatives and are a platform for public-private entities.

We help companies and entrepreneurs in the areas of access to EU funding; new business models; networking partnerships; lobbying and political marketing; legal framework; communication and training; mentoring and consulting; and social integration and youth employment and internships.

Where are we located?

We are headquartered in Brussels (Belgium) but we are also present in Spain and have offices in Valencia, Andalusia, Basque Country, Madrid and Alicante. In addition, we also have offices in Romania, Chile, Panama and Mexico.

What is Finnova’s objective?

Finnova aims to promote a culture of innovation through smart strategies and practices in different entities, institutions, organizations and communities across the EU and other geographical areas.

Our commitment to COVID-19

Finnova aims to fund innovation in different social challenges, identify disruptive solutions to minimize, eradicate coronavirus and other viruses. Faced with the global epidemic of Coronavirus, the European Commission, adds efforts, resources and calls for SMEs and startups with technologies or innovations that can help in “treatment, testing, monitoring or other aspects” to combat COVID-19. In this exceptional call, projects may be for less than €500,000. This is an emergency open call for SMEs to submit projects to combat the side effects of the coronavirus. The budget of the call consists of a total of 164 million euros.

Juan Manuel Revuelta, general director of the Finnova Foundation encourages companies to submit their projects “Normally these projects are between 500,000 € and 2.5 million €, exceptionally in this case may be less than 500,000 € and also projects that are of interest, may be financed by other financial channels of the EC and external as additional funding from regional governments, national or private foundations”.

Given the situation, the Commission is accelerating the provision of these EIC grants and blended funding (along with equity investments) to innovations that support this cause. It will also seek to facilitate access to other sources of funding and investment.

Finnova will also mentor the projects in their presentation to the European Commission and already has 4 companies from Spain but wants to continue looking for entrepreneurial ideas that can help fight the virus. From finnova we will guide the startups on European funds such as Horizon 2020; help in the search for funding and private sector companies we will guide them so they know how to enter projects as an SME instrument.

What is Startup Europe Awards?

StartUp Europe Awards (SEUA) is an initiative of the European Commission and the Finnova Foundation, supported by the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Committee of the Regions, the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Committee and Members of the European Parliament. SEUA is sponsored by Finnova Foundation’s StartUp Europe Accelerator.

It presents an award methodology, fostering open innovation and collaboration between the different actors of the European ecosystems, through public-private partnerships to support entrepreneurs. In addition, it creates a network of contacts that allows to inspire and make visible local startups so that through this network they can scale their services and products globally.

1. Mission:

Our mission is to help StartUps and ScaleUps become more efficient, smart and successful and connect these innovative ideas with the needs of society, such as the sustainability challenges faced by cities.

2. How we do it :

We identify a challenge in a city and look for entrepreneurship initiatives that solve it.

By creating an alliance that brings together entrepreneurship award organizers and startups (accelerators, incubators, universities, foundations, investor associations, etc.) across Europe and beyond, being a forum for the exchange of best practices.

3. Result:

Innovative initiatives are promoted and the challenge facing cities is solved.

Where do we stand?

We have a strong international presence. We operate in European Union countries, Mexico, Santiago de Chile and Panama.

What categories do we have?
Smart Cities
Circular Economy

Acceleration ticket for winning startups
For each of the four categories of the StartUp Europe Awards the judges will select a winner.

During the awards ceremony, each of those four winners will receive a Startup Europe acceleration ticket valued at €10,000. These acceleration tickets include the opportunity to join StartUp Europe Accelerator, the first StartUp accelerator specialized in the European Union and its funds that seeks to provide the necessary tools and resources to boost the internationalization of StartUps in order to maximize their opportunities. The following services will be offered to the winners of the acceleration ticket:

Advice on the preparation of proposals for obtaining European funds.
Support in the definition of communication and marketing actions.
Lobbying and lobbying: Legal guidance and guidance on legal aspects – legal barriers to innovation that could affect your project.
IPR helpdesk offering personalized advice on EU intellectual property rights.
In addition, if one of the four startup/scalup involves blockchain, they will be automatically selected to participate in the Blockchain Startup Europe Award global final.
Media Partners:

Finnova collaborates with TVE’s Emprende TVE, the most awarded and recognized business TV program for entrepreneurs in Spain and Latin America, with an average of 20,000 viewers per broadcast. Emprende TVE is the official Media Partner for the broadcasting of the StartUp Europe Awards and StartUp Europe Accelerator business projects.

Success stories thanks to Startup Europe Awards
Waynabox was the winner of the Tourism category of the StartUp Europe Awards 2016. The prize was an acceleration ticket valued at €10,000 sponsored by Amadeus IT Group (

Through this ticket, Waynabox received mentoring from StartUp Europe Accelerator to internationalize its business and submit effective project proposals to European Commission programs obtaining €85,000 from HORIZON 2020, two Seals of Excellence and €2.5 million from the SME Instruments program.



EU Commission, European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions they all recently agreed that improving the ecosystem for start-ups and scale-ups in Europe will have a direct beneficial effect on jobs and growth in the EU.

Following this premise, the goal of StartUp Europe Awards (SEUA) is to identify local role models in each ecosystem of startups across Europe. These local entrepreneurs will become inspirational examples for the new generations that will have a positive impact on improving the entrepreneurship culture in Europe. All the same, the identified local successful entrepreneurs will be crucial for local authorities to define tailored programmes to invigorate their local ecosystems and enhance public – private collaboration. These models will be used by external investors to approach local ecosystems.

StartUp Europe Awards also contributes to Commission General Objective 1 to ensure that the new boost for jobs, growth and investment is not concentrated in a few areas in Europe. As it is a fact that startups are the main creators of new jobs in Europe, we need to ensure that the wealth generated by the startups is spread all across Europe benefiting a wider segment of the European society.

To grow and consolidate, startups need an ecosystem of key-players that support these objectives. Along with universities, incubators, accelerators and investors, public administrations have a crucial role: from policies adapted to the new challenges startups tackle to the creation of programs or services for supporting their developing.

A large number of entrepreneurship awards go to startups, entrepreneurs or entreprises. However, despite their important role, public administrations supporting and boosting entrepreneurial activity in their territories do not have a specific recognition for their determination, effort and commitment with potential enterprises which will create wealth and employment. From this fact, Best Public Administration Awards comes to life.


Best Public Administration Award recognises the effort and support of Public Administration at a city, province or region level for the boosting of entrepreneurial activity and innovation in their territory. It aimed to award the Public Administration with the best programme/service addressed to boost entrepreneurs or startups of their geographical area of influence.


The following criteria are essential and discriminatory to be a participant for the aforementioned contest:

  • To have a supporting programme/service addressed to promote entrepreneurship (startups/entrepreneurs) in the geographical area of influence.
  • The only programmes that are considered valid to contest are those that are already implemented (plans are not valid).
  • For 2016 edition, candidates to Best Public Administration Award will be nominated by the organization of StartUp Europe Awards. The nominees will be the winners of prestigious European Awards addressed to Public Administration as European Entrepreneurial Region, EIPA/EPSA, Regio Stars Awards, among others. The list of nominees will be published on StartUp Europe Awards website.


The criteria for the evaluation of the candidates are the following:

  • Goals aligned with Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan and the StartUp Europe Awards mission (highlight local success models to serve as example for other entrepreneurs and next generations; contribute to Commission General Objective 1 to ensure that the new boost for jobs, growth and investment is not concentrated in a few areas in Europe, etc).
  • Impact of the programme/service addressed to boost entrepreneurial activity (startups/entrepreneurs) in the geographical area of influence, based on facts and figures publicly exposed.
  • Commitment to continue supporting startups/entrepreneurs (follow-up, demonstration of how the actions will be sustained beyond the program/service for a longer period, complementary programs/services in 2017, etc.)
  • Social Clauses: job generated, collaboration with NGOs, trainees program.
  • European Dimension: collaboration with StartUp Europe Awards 2016, participation in European funded projects, partnership or agreements with other European partners. Optimal use of European Structural and Investment Funds or other European funding.

Best Media Partner


It is known that startups need to be visible in order to get attention from investors, clients, partners, public administration, local entities and acceleration programs that can support them to grow and scale up according with their objectives. As a startup, one of the biggest hurdles to face is building an initial reputation. One of the best ways to do this is by getting your startup featured in media coverage, but doing that is often easier said than done.
Being featured on media could leave huge benefits for startups: brand visibility and reputation; user acquisition; Investor and partner interest; talent and recruitment, etc. That is the reason why StartUp Europe Awards intends to create a Media Partner Alliance, aimed to engage media from all over the world working on the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation.
In the first year of the initiative, StartUp Europe Awards has proudly achieved to involve 21 Media Partners.


It aims at rewarding the most committed Media Partner of StartUp Europe Awards 2016 with the promotion of the initiative StartUp Europe Awards and the startups participating in the contest.


The most important eligibility criteria are the following:

The criteria for the evaluation of the candidates are the following:

  1. Goals aligned with the StartUp Europe Awards mission (highlight local success models to serve as example for other entrepreneurs and next generations).
  2. Relevance of the media at local, national and European level (figures, recognitions and awards achieved).
  3. Commitment of the media with StartUp Europe Awards 2016 (publications made by the media as part of the coverage of SEUA16 and other types of participation).



The rise of fintech has forever changed the way companies do business. The traditional model of a new business turning directly to its local high street bank and/or a conventional investor is no longer the only game in town. Global investment in financial technology increased more than twelvefold from $930 million in 2008 to more than $12 billion in 2014. Europe experienced the highest growth rate, with an increase of 215% to $1.48 billion in 2014. Furthermore, the associated reworking of financial regulations, new innovations and customer behaviour, means this figure will continue its sharp growth in the coming years.
The rise of fintech has opened up a world of possibilities. Businesses can offer more services than ever and for a fraction of the price of what it would have cost before. Such is the impact of technology on how finance is run, cities like London actively and aggressively pursue technology talent to ensure it remains competitive.


Fintech StartUp Europe Awards Awards aims at recognising startups offering disruptive solutions as new applications, processes, products or business models in the financial services or insurance industry: payments, blockchain/distribution ledger, lending platforms, etc.


The most important eligibility criteria are the following:

  • Innovation: We will focus on the grade of innovation, disruption and originality of the startups.
  • Business model: We will rate the added value to society resulting from the startups (economic viability, private-public collaboration, etc.).
  • Customer Value Proposition
  • Scalability and Market Reach
  • Social Clauses: job generated, gender policy, social inclusion, collaboration with NGOs, trainees program.
  • European Dimension: participation in European funded projects, partnership or agreements with other European partners.


We all share the desire to live long, happy and healthy lives, but challenges such as infectious and chronic diseases, pandemics and antimicrobial resistance are increasingly present. Research and innovation in this field, which is not only an investment in our health, but also in healthcare professionals and a healthier economy, helps to address these challenges.

eHealth Startup Europe Awards aims to recognize those startups that offer solutions to problems in the field of health and wellness through products and services that help improve people’s quality of life and connect health with technologies.


One of the fundamental pillars of environmental conservation in Europe is the protection of water resources, of fresh and salt water systems and of the water we drink and with which we clean ourselves. The stakes are high, the problems transcend borders and cooperation within the EU is essential to ensure effective protection of this indispensable resource for life.

Water Startup Europe Awards rewards startups working towards the implementation of sustainable water systems, coordination with the public, reduction of chemical pollution, groundwater, flooding, intercalibration, etc.


Tourism is a very important economic activity in the European Union. Indeed, it is a major source of economic growth, job creation and social development, and therefore has the potential to combat economic decline and unemployment. However, the sector has to face a number of challenges, as the economic crisis has deeply affected the sector both nationally and internationally.

Tourism Startup Europe Awards rewards those startups that offer products, services and methodologies covering the following topics: tourism, mobility, hotels, sustainable tourism, applications for tourism, location of establishments, etc.


The internet of things represents the next step towards the digitalization of our society and economy. In this new paradigm, objects and people are intercommunicated through communication networks that provide information about their situation or that of the environment. According to a study by the European Commission, the market value of the internet of things in the EU could exceed billions of euros by 2020.

The IoT StartUp Europe Awars seek to bring added value to European development related to new technologies that will improve the EU’s competitiveness in this sector and increase the use of ICT in society.


Social innovation can be defined as the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and models) to meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. They represent an opportunity for both the public sector and markets, as products and services satisfy both individual and collective aspirations.

The Social StartUp Europe Awards aim to reward startups that offer products, services or methodologies that address one of the following issues: education, health, training, job search support and rehabilitation. They will recognize the work of startups working in this field and trying to make the world a better place.


The energy sector is at a time of great change. In fact, it is expected that by 2030, half of all energy will come from renewable sources. These awards aim to highlight Europe’s leading position as well as to support innovation and creativity in the field of renewable energy.

Energy StartUp Europe Awards will reward the best projects in the field of developing sustainable and efficient energy models based on renewable energies. Attention will also be paid to projects that include technology transfer in the field of renewable energies and projects related to governance that encourage the participation of citizens in the development of renewable energies.