Seedstars and Financial Times launch $500,000 challenge for early-stage startups

Tech startup accelerator, Seedstars has partnered with global business news organisation, Financial Times to launch the first-ever Financial Times Sustainable Development Goals Challenge. The challenge aims to empower promising, impact-driven startups and entrepreneurs with learning and funding opportunities.

The competition is targeted at early-stage startups and entrepreneurs from emerging markets like Nigeria etc. They will be expected to prefer innovative solutions that will help surmount the problems inhibiting the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Through this challenge, the organisers hope to bring awareness to global problems, while also empowering these startups and entrepreneurs who are creating solutions that can address these issues. Seedstars will be expected to bring its experience in organising its world competition over the last 8 years to bear.

Chief Commercial Officer at Financial Times, Jon Slade said partnering with Seedstars is a game-changing opportunity for both organisations to collaborate and make a positive impact towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“We’re excited to see FT Talent grow to include supporting early startups, as well as young professionals who are passionate about technology and entrepreneurship.”

Jon Slade

Only 150 participants will be selected from the total entry. They will be invited to solve real business challenges and present innovative strategies with a focus on the SDGs.

Seedstars and Financial Times launch $500k SDG challenge for early-stage startups

Selected themes for the competition include Gender equality, Climate Action, Quality Education – supported by the School of Management Fribourg (HEG-FR), Good Jobs and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities and Good Health and Wellbeing. 

In all, the challenge will feature a one-month access to Seedstars’ Investment Readiness Sessions. Then there’ll be a five-day programme filled with workshops, masterclasses, talks, mentoring and networking. These events will be hosted by experts from Financial Times and Seedstars.

Winning startups will then be selected after the events and be fast-tracked into the Seedstars Investments Fund where they stand the chance of securing as much as $500,000 in funding. 

Seedstars CEO, Alisee De Tonnac said the tech startup accelerator is very excited to launch the SDG Challenge in partnership with Financial Times. She said her team has been organizing the Seedstars World Competition to support and invest in impact-driven entrepreneurs from emerging markets, noting that this challenge is an amplification of that mission.

“Working with Financial Times, we’re confident that this mission can be amplified together in the FTxSDG Challenge. Looking forward to seeing our combined efforts provide the entrepreneurs with even more resources and a larger global community of expert mentors and investors,” Alisee said.

Application for the competition is currently open to early-stage startups and entrepreneurs operating in emerging markets. The application closing date is November 1. Interested candidates can apply to participate here.


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