The most promising startup from Eastern Europe and CIS will receive €10,000 from EMERGE 2021

EMERGE, one of the largest technology conferences in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, has opened registration for its annual startup contest, EMERGE CHALLENGE, the final of which will take place online at the conference on May 12-14, 2021. The grand prize of this year's competition is 10,000 euros.

At EMERGE CHALLENGE startups will be able to tell their stories to a jury, which is traditionally composed of international investors and journalists. The goal of the competition is to connect young entrepreneurs with investors and key players of ecosystem, to help startups at the early stage to scale their product.

You may apply to EMERGE CHALLENGE until April 20, 2021, 23:59 GMT+3. To do this, you must leave a note on the website page during the STARTUP TICKET (a special ticket for startups is required to participate in the contest). The EMERGE team will then review and contact each candidate.

Entrants must have:

- An innovative product with global potential;

- a working prototype and a first traction;

- Total amount of funds raised not more than 250 thousand euros.

Later-stage startups will also be able to attend the closed online Venture Lounge event after applying and being interviewed.

"The experience of being on the big stage is impressive and makes you prepare better. Later, this preparation translates into a more crystallized vision of one's product," shares Sergey Budyakov, CEO of Usedesk (startup winner of EMERGE CHALLENGE - 2019).

"Initially, EMERGE CHALLENGE was intended for startups at the earliest stages that are just starting to gain momentum. But then we noticed that more and more later-stage startups were participating. Last year we tested the format of thematic pitch sessions with the participation of international venture investors who invest in Seed/Series A startups (e.g. Atomico, Notion Capital, Northzone, M12 from Microsoft). This format, Venture Lounge, is designed for more mature startups ready to enter the global market. It can be a useful step toward further development for EMERGE CHALLENGE alumni, who have grown significantly since they entered the competition," says EMERGE conference co-founder Alina Nilsson.

"As a result of EMERGE CHALLENGE 2020, we received many inquiries from investors, whether angels or venture capital funds, that we wouldn't otherwise have contacted. Most importantly, we found a lot of new clients who were excited about our solution. All in all, it was one of the highlights of 2020 for us, as the EMERGE team managed to hold a terrific online conference in difficult times," recalls Ilya Melkumov, co-founder of Inovat (startup winner of EMERGE CHALLENGE - 2020).

In 2020, EMERGE was held online for the first time. 40 jurors from the startup ecosystem evaluated contestants that year, and the total duration of pitches then reached nearly 2,000 minutes. More than 100 mentors led nearly 200 hours of mentoring sessions for startups at EMERGE 2020.

This year EMERGE is holding a whole series of events for startups and professionals from technology industries. EMERGE U: ACCEPTED, a free online bootcamp for startups, was held March 1 - 5 and brought together 167 founders and 10 industry experts. Read about other EMERGE initiatives on the website in the startup section. You can also read the key points from the last bootcamp experts on the conference blog.

STARTUP TICKETS can be purchased until May 11, 2021. A wide range of opportunities will be available to holders of these tickets at the event. All startups that purchase STARTUP TICKETS will be featured in the EMERGE Startups directory. In addition, EMERGE will provide attendees with a matchmaking tool that will allow them to arrange personal online meetings with investors, journalists, conference speakers and other attendees.


The EMERGE conference was founded by two young entrepreneurs from the region, Margarita Lazarenkova and Alina Nilsson, and has been held in Minsk since 2018. In 2020, because of the pandemic, EMERGE had to be moved online. At that time, the conference attracted more than 4,300 participants from more than 100 countries.

EMERGE 2021 will be held online from May 12 to 14. The official language of the conference is English.

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