Startup Open is a global competition to identify and recognize new and promising startups. It is open to any entrepreneur who has just or is about to start a new venture with a “startup moment” between November 23, 2014, and November 16, 2015.

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 recognizes the GEW 50 – the 50 most promising ventures from around the world– based on their growth potential, passion, creativity, level of idea development, and pitching skills. Those 50 companies will then compete for a grand prize trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Medellin, Colombia in 2016. The winner will be announced during GEW, November 16-22, 2015.

Applicants will have until October 5 to submit their startup.



  • All applications must be submitted in English.
  • Applications will be accepted from January 1, 2015, until October 5, 2015.
  • Applications will only be accepted online through the iStart platform or through an officially approved National Competition.
  • It is not required that a startup be 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, level of idea development, and their pitching skills.
  • Each judge’s score is weighed equally.


  • Prizes are nontransferable.
  • Prizes must be accepted as awarded.


  • This contest is subject to all federal, state and municipal laws.