Deadline: December 1, 2015 | Apply here
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Dates: The program starts on February 1, 2016
Prize: EUR 250,000
Location: Nupark, Denmark

The Next Step Challenge grants ambitious startups the opportunity to become part of the most ambitious accelerator program you might ever encounter.

The challenge offers a main prize of EUR 250,000 for the winning startup and makes Next Step Challenge the biggest entrepreneur prize in Europe and in the US. Next Step Challenge is opening a whole new world of opportunities for startup companies within the fields of sound and home integration. Only by being part of the challenge is guaranteed to benefit the participating startups and entrepreneurs. The Challenge will last six months and will take each company through an intensive business development program worth more than EUR 100,000. The program will be individually designed to help transform and mature your startup to unleash its full potential.

The grand prize of up to EUR 250,000 for the winning startup makes Next Step Challenge the biggest entrepreneurship prize in Europe. Besides that, all 5-7 startups who qualify for the six-month program, will receive a business development package worth approximately EUR 100,000. You might say that you win even if you don’t.

All Next Step Challenge participants are enrolled in an extensive six-month business development program that guarantees:

– One month of preparation where your business is currently located and five months on site in Nupark
– EUR 30.000 loan opportunity (based on a due diligence) when you relocate to Nupark and Struer – “The City of Sound” in Denmark
– Individual mentoring by external business experts from leading Danish and international companies
– 200+ hours of personal business training from experienced Accelerace consultants
– Learning labs and workshops where you will get intensive training designed to maximize your business potential
– The opportunity to get access to Bang & Olufsen experts and in-house know-how
– Free office space in Nupark with access to high-speed broadband
– Free housing in the region during the five-month relocation period (up to three people)
– Rich opportunity to qualify for further financing from Accelerace and other Danish seed funds
– A Founders pack with resources and tools worth EUR 50,000+
– The benefit of a collaborative business environment featuring ambitious companies like your own.

Next Step Challenge is an international competition for startups working within the fields of sound and home integration. Next Step Challenge offers businesses the opportunity to get access Bang & Olufsen a/s acoustic specialists and facilities, their testing and certification knowledge and labs e.g. EMC test room, quality tests, environmental specifications, and concept specialists.

Sound and Home integration: Interior and creative design solutions, Digital speaker technologies, Adaptive, behavioral and autonomous systems, Directive sound and sound zones, Sensor and internet-of-things technologies, Deep neural networks, Trust / Confidence / Privacy / Security Solutions, Seamless and intelligent home automation & integration and Streaming and value added services.

If your idea is unrelated to the above industries but you still think your startup could benefit from the Next Step Challenge prize and accelerator program, then don’t hesitate to apply – we are willing to consider all great business ideas.

Please note:

  • Participants have to relocate to Nupark in Holstebro, Denmark for a minimum of five months to take part in the Challenge. Office space and accommodation will be provided.
  • Participants must relocate minimum 2 people from the management team.
  • Participants from outside the EU must be able to obtain all necessary permits and travel documents.
  • Since the coaching and mentoring is in English, it is required that participants have the language skills needed to receive the full benefit of the training sessions.

Taking part in Next Step Challenge takes a strong idea and the will to make it happen. Startups should be ready to disrupt the market and aspire to change the lives of the people they reach – or even to change the world. To enter Next Step Challenge, candidates must have the right product, the right team and the ability to meet our eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A minimum of two members from the management team relocate to Nupark in Holstebro for a minimum of five months.
  • Foreign startup representatives must have valid passports and non-EU residents must be able to obtain the necessary travel documents. Free housing as well as free office space will be provided.
  • Since the coaching and mentoring is in English, it is required that you have the language skills needed to get the full benefit of the training sessions.

The Next Step Challenge program is made up of three different content elements: Labs, Camps and Coaches.

Labs are intensive workshops with a skilled group of industry specific coaches who’ll review your company’s business model. The labs also helps decide your company’s critical assumptions and specific challenges that you are is facing. Finally the Labs functions as the driver to plan and individualize the work done with your company during the program.

Camps are developed to inspire as well as teach the most current entrepreneurship and business development methods and tools. For some camps we gather all companies, so that they also function as a great opportunity to reach out and build a network. Other camps are electives where you participate in as many as you like.

Coaches are the persons within the program that are dedicated to working with your company throughout the process. Each coach is backed up by their industry team to make sure that advice and decisions are validated among his or her peers.

All applications must be submitted no later than midnight CET Tueday Devember 1st 2015.

Qualified applicants will be contacted after a thorough initial screening process. Selection is carried out by an expert board.

The Next Step Challenge ends on Award Day in Ultimo August/ Primo September 2016 where all participating ventures and their work are showcased – and where the winner of the grand prize is announced. The final event is not only an award ceremony but an opportunity for the startups to create a vital network and get contacts within the investment community.

The program will be situated in Nupark which is known as the glass mastodon and symbol of innovation will be the focal arena for participants in Next step Challenge Holstebro. Nupark is one of the largest development and business parks in Denmark and consists of a community of nearly 100 different companies gathered in several large buildings on campus.

Participants will have a base at Nupark during office hours while living arrangements and extra curriculum activities will take place in Holstebro. Furthermore, participants will have activities the neighbour city Struer, which is where the legendary Bang & Olufsen A/S is located and has nurtured an undergrowth of companies in the City of Sound.

Combined Nupark, Bang & Olufsen A/S and City of Sound give participants access to a large eco system of advanced and innovative design-, mechanics-, electronics-, acoustics- and software companies.

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