Deadline: September 14, 2016, | Register here
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attendance of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress plus mentorship and networking opportunities
grand finals will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa

Startup Open 2016: Celebrate Your Startup Moment

Startup Open is a competition to recognise and reward startups and the entrepreneurs behind them. Held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Startup Open will recognise the top 50 startups each year and award prizes to help them grow their business.

It is open to any entrepreneur who has just or is about to start a new venture with a “startup moment” between November 22, 2015, and November 14, 2016.

A startup moment can be when a business is incorporated, doors open for business, a first sale is completed, outside funding is secured, or something else that can be interpreted as the company is “open for business.”

Startup Open recognises the GEW 50 – the 50 most promising ventures from around the world– based on their growth potential, passion, creativity, the level of idea development, and pitching skills.

The GEW 50 will be announced in October and the final winner will be announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week November 14th-20th.

Those 50 companies will then compete for a grand prize trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017.



  • All applications must be submitted in English.
  • Applications will be accepted from March 14, 2016, until September 15, 2015.
  • Applications will only be accepted online through the Startup Compete platform or through an officially approved National Competition.
  • It is not required that a startup is incorporated, but a company cannot be incorporated over 18 months to compete.


  • The GEW 50 and the winners will be selected by a panel of judges who are looking at a range of criteria including growth potential, passion, creativity, the level of idea development, and their pitching skills
  • Each judge’s score is weighed equally


  • Prizes are nontransferable
  • Prizes must be accepted as awarded

Global Entrepreneurship Network

Startup Open is a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. GEN is a year-round platform for programs and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November.

Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people in 160 countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.

GEN Mission

  • Expanding the number of ordinary citizens working for or starting firms around the world by fully legitimising entrepreneurs in all cultures and economies. The world needs more entrepreneurs.
  • Increasing understanding between the new and traditional elements of emerging startup communities and ecosystems including the constructive engagement of the public sector in supporting entrepreneur designed public programs. It takes a village where everyone collaborates to succeed.
  • Supporting the emergence of a new class of global entrepreneurs with access to research, programs and networks inside the 160 nation strong GEN network.National boundaries are porous to innovation and a new creative class of risk takers is hard-wired to a global network.
  • Connecting an emerging community of national startup policy advisors with a next generation network of world-class entrepreneurship research institutions in an effort to generate more robust research and data to support evidence-based policymaking and more effective entrepreneurial support programming.In short, data and analysis on what works and what does not in helping new firm formation.

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