The Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) organizers have announced that the competition’s top 100 startups from around the world – ‘the EWC 100’ – have been selected to compete in the EWC Global Finals that are taking place at the Misk Global Forum from October, 18-20. The 'EWC 100' will join a network of entrepreneurs from last year's competition in the GEN Starters Club – a global community of talented founders who have been battle-tested through the EWC or one of GEN’s other programs.
The EWC is one of the world’s largest and most diverse pitch competition and support programs for the next generation of entrepreneurs – with 175,000 entrants applying from 200 countries (up from 102,000 entrants from 187 countries for the EWC 2019).
The EWC is hosted by GEN in conjunction with Misk Global Forum and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation. It is supported by a range of global partners including GSVlabs, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, TechCrunch, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, WebCongress, Endeavor and the organizations who hosted the EWC National Finals.
Over a thousand startups pitched at 65 national finals held across six continents during 2020, organized and judged by organizations from the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. Most of the events were held virtually, due to COVID-19.
The EWC 100 includes 10 idea stage, 62 early stage and 28 growth stage startups. Collectively, they have already raised more than US$52 million in funding. The most common sectors represented are Big Data/AI, Health and Wellness, Saas/Enterprise Software, Mobile, Foodtech and Agtech, Manufacturing and Infrastructure, Cleantech, Energy and Sustainability, Fintech, IOT, Blockchain, Edtech/Learning and Talent.
The EWC 100 are based in a wide variety of countries. The regional break down of the EWC 100 is: Africa (10), Asia (35), Europe (17), Middle East (8), North America (13), Oceania (2) and South America (15).
The EWC 100 will be competing at the global finals for a share of US$1 million in cash prizes – US$500,000 for first place, $250,000 for second place and $100,000 for third place. In addition, a cash prize of US$50,000 will be awarded to one top scoring startup from each of the following categories: idea stage, early stage and growth stage. There is also a new social entrepreneurship category for this year's competition. Each of the EWC 100 startup finalists will also receive a package of in-kind services valued at US$850,000.
Prior to the Global Finals, the EWC 100 attended a virtual bootcamp hosted by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s Entrepreneurship Center, with experts on hand to help them hone their business and pitching skills.
A global audience will be able to watch the global finals live or view summary videos and short clips of individual pitches. There will be virtual meeting rooms for the audience to meet the competitors and a special mechanism for investors to engage with them directly.
All 175,000 global participants gained access to free training materials from experienced mentors and US$25,000 worth of perks from dozens of partners including Zoom, Amazon Web Services and Shopify. Already, more than US$3.5 million worth of perks have been claimed by EWC 2020 contestants.
Jonathan Ortmans, President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network said, “Entrepreneurs are leaders in times of disruption, and they are critically important now as every industry looks to pivot out of this global pandemic. There are no borders on earth for viruses - but the same is also true for ideas and innovation - making us especially proud to see entrepreneurs from 200 countries participate in the Entrepreneurship World Cup. These 100 finalists are the best and brightest of the bunch and will help us build back our jobs and economies even stronger.”
Abdulrahman Al-Suhaymi, who leads the EWC and entrepreneurship programs at Misk said, “I like to think there are three ‘Cs’ of entrepreneurship that we’ve brought to the EWC. The first is competition –big prizes and a challenging pitch format with high profile judges that ensures contestants are at the top of their game. At the EWC, we think that the other 2 ‘Cs’ are cooperation and community; and they are just as important. Every entrepreneur I have met tells me about the importance of the ecosystem for taking their individual spark of innovation to the next stage. So every EWC participant has opportunities to collaborate with, learn from and contribute to a supportive global community. I’m really excited to see such a high quality of global finalists this year, and I wish them the best of luck.”
Shiv Khemka, Executive Chairman of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation said, “In response to this year's unique challenges caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the EWC community came together to provide a platform to inspire job creation and innovation. Along the journey, we found 100 of the most innovative and promising solutions from our ecosystem, and we look forward to introducing these ideas to the world during the Global Finals.”