Start Cup Emilia-Romagna

What is it?

The Emilia-Romagna Start Cup is a business plan competition affiliated to the National Innovation Award and funded by the region of Emilia-Romagna through the European Social Fund.

It is contested by innovative entrepreneurial projects within the region and was established in 2010 via a collaboration between Start Cup Bologna, Start Cup Modena and Reggio Emilia and, subsequently, the Global Spinner Grant 2013.

Since 2015, it has been further enriched by a collaboration between public bodies, incubators and local stakeholders representing the entire region.

The competition is divided as follows:

Scouting Tour: throughout the region, interviews are held in which individuals propose their entrepreneurial ideas

Step 1: Tech Meeting: the best business ideas, selected after the announcement of the tender, take part in two days of workshopping with experienced experts and consultants, in which their ideas are put to the test.

Step 2: Tech Week: those business ideas selected after the Tech Meeting take part in five days of training with lectures, group work and discussion and debate to help develop the idea.

Step 3: Tech Garage: this is the concluding event in which the ten best business ideas are presented to a community of entrepreneurs, investors and business and media supporters.

The event concludes with:

  • the awarding of the best ideas
  • the selection of the best research-related business ideas that will go on to take part in the National Innovation Award (

Who is it for?

Aspiring entrepreneurs (individually or in teams) who intend to launch initiatives to develop innovative products and services in Emilia-Romagna.


The winners of the competition each receive a cash prize from sponsors of the initiative, to be used to help set up of the company. Each year, local partners of the Start Cup also provide additional prizes for the best businesses in each of the local territories, including cash prizes, access to co-working spaces and incubation opportunities.

Participation in the National Innovation Award is reserved for the highest ranked projects or startups that have strong links to the world of research. As per the National Innovation Award rules, selection for participation is reserved exclusively for entrepreneurial groups that can demonstrate a consolidated relationship with the regional research system and structured activities with universities and public research bodies. For the first three Business Plans that, in compliance with the above condition, represent the Start Cup Emilia-Romagna at the National Innovation Award, ASTER will cover the €1,000 competition entry fee as well as partial coverage of any travel costs.

About the Emilia-Romagna Start Cup Edition  2017.