EBRD Star Venture programme

Start-up Innovation Challenge

Startup Innovation Challenge in response to the coronavirus

The EBRD has financed and advised high-potential start-ups in its countries of operation through various advisory and investment vehicles including Star Venture ProgrammeEarly-Stage Innovation Facility, and Venture Capital Investment Programme.

Building on its experience and know-how in the start-up space, the EBRD is launching its first online competition for high-potential start-ups that have innovated their business models in response to the coronavirus. Innovative early-stage enterprises that have the technology and the potential to scale are welcome to apply by 22 November 2020.       


The competition will be held on 17 December 2020. The applicants that pass our screening test and are eligible to pitch their innovative business models at the competition will be notified individually by 7 December.


  • Your enterprise is based in one of 30 countries listed here
  • You have an annual turnover of less than €1 million
  • You have been in business for less than 5 years
  • You have the technology and demonstrate a high potential to scale
  • You must be primarily locally owned and have less than 50% of foreign ownership (e.g. outside of EBRD operating countries.)
  • The enterprise’s main areas of activity fall under any business area except: military products or services, gambling, tobacco, and hard liquor.
  • Your area of innovation falls under one of the following categories:
    • Health innovations that help treat, test and monitor the coronavirus outbreak
    • Lifestyle innovations that improve the environment or quality of life during and beyond the pandemic.
    • Business process innovations in various business areas (e.g. procedures, solutions, products, etc.) that represent a meaninfgul contribution to improving business operations during the pandemic.


  • A total of USD 500,000 of mixed cash rewards and vouchers for 5 selected startups to cover the costs within the framework of the Star Venture programme including business diagnostics, tailored one-on-one technical advisory, mentoring, access to international investors, etc. To learn more about Star Venture's services, please refer to the videos/articles under Star Venture News here

How to Apply

Thank you for submitting your applications. We will contact you individually about the outcome of the screening tests on the 7th of December. The results will also be announced on the website.

Star Venture News