Top 8 Idea and Innovation Competitions in the World

If you have an innovative idea or invention that you can pitch in competitions to win amazing cash prizes in form of grants or angel investments, then this information is for you.

First, you will agree with me that a major challenge many startups encounter in their business is how to raise capital to fund their project.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of idea competitions available to entrepreneurs and they come with monetary rewards for the winners.

Well, it’s not your fault that you have not seen these ideas and innovation competitions.

You are probably not looking in the right places, and that’s why I have written this list of idea competitions to help you.

In this article, you will find the top 8 global idea challenges that you can apply for immediately.

At least, you can make an attempt by applying to one competition and if you have a good pitch, you may emerge as the winner.

I believe this is a good time to let you know that sometimes, the innovation competition may not necessarily be your business idea you wish to start up.

Sometimes, it may just be an open competition for creative independent agents to solve the innovation challenge of a certain company.

So, if you think you’ve got what it takes, then continue reading until the end to see the top 8 global idea and innovation competitions available to you.

top idea and innovation competitions around the world

Why do I need to apply for idea competitions?

There are several reasons to apply for idea competitions of which the prize money stands out.

So, besides the monetary and material rewards that come with many idea competitions, here are some strong reasons you should give this a shot.

  • You will be able to raise funds for your business through grants and direct investments.
  • Applying for global idea competitions also gives you the opportunity to travel the world as you progress to higher stages of the competition.
  • Idea and innovation competitions offer a unique learning experience for all participants at all stages.
  • In addition, it gives you an opportunity to belong to a community of intellects like you.
  • You also get the opportunity to network with people from different works of life and culture.
  • Some of these competitions help you to see the business side of every idea.
  • Also, idea challenges are a good way to get smart people to share their ideas about how to make the world a better place.
  • Finally, idea competitions help you to get mentors who have years of experience and are successful in their field.

There many more benefits of participating in idea competitions, but right now, let’s jump over to the top idea competitions out there.

What are the top idea and innovation competitions?

#1. Unilever IdeaTrophy

The first on our list of global idea and innovation competitions is the Unilever IdeaTrophy.

The Unilever IdeaTrophy is a creative marketing experience, where you will figure out how business works in real life while developing your skills and competencies. 

Unilever IdeaTrophy offers a unique learning experience for all participants at all stages.

This idea competition is targeted at helping Unilever develop marketing ideas for one of their products each year.

Therefore, a leading Unilever brand or function is selected as the sole focus of Unilever IdeaTrophy every year.

In this competition, you stand a chance of winning a seat at the global Unilever competition in LONDON

Also, you get a fast track to career opportunities at Unilever

There are also lots of Apple products up for grabs by winners and many other exciting prizes.

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#2. Hult Prize

The Hult Prize is an annual event organized by the Hult Prize Foundation, USA. 

It aims to create and launch the most compelling social business ideas especially start-up enterprises.

These businesses, in turn, tackle pressing issues faced by billions of people around the world. 

Winners receive USD1 Million in seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice from the international business community.

The Hult Prize is one of the world’s most acclaimed entrepreneurship programs.

It currently operates on more than 1500 university campuses in 121 countries.

Since its inception, it has become a benchmark startup challenge for social entrepreneurship.

This idea competition challenges young people to solve the world’s toughest issues.

It achieves this by empowering them to make money, do good and make life better for millions of people through the creation of for-good for-profit businesses.

Through leveraging human capital, knowledge and the crowd like never before, the Hult Prize has helped launch social enterprises that share the common goal of the Hult Foundation.

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#3. Creative Business Cup

This business competition is organized by the Creative Business Cup, Denmark. 

The Creative Business Cup is the destination for all creative minds, innovative thinkers and future leaders. 

It is a global competition with more than 70 creative supernovas, brilliant keynote speakers, judges and investors.

These all come together to form a community that focuses its entire focus on promoting innovation and creative business efforts. 

In clear terms, the purpose of the Creative Business Cup is to strengthen the business skills of creative entrepreneurs. 

From all the applications submitted for this idea competition, only the best 20 applications will get an invitation to the Bootcamp academy.

At the Bootcamp, the organizers provide pitch training and strategic business plan advice.

They also provide a focused one-to-one high-profile mentoring to prepare participants for the competition 

In the end, participants will have the opportunity to win a variety of prizes.

The prizes will help them develop their ideas and concepts into sustainable businesses. 

In addition, there is of course the possibility to expand your own network and to be inspired by all the creative minds.

At the same time, you will gather knowledge for your further professional career and put ideas into practice.

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#4. Thought For Food Challenge

The TFF Challenge®️ is the world’s leading incentive prize competition in food and agriculture. 

The global TFF Challenge is a flagship collaborative agri-food-tech innovation competition and is also the world’s largest and most diverse.

The annual competition serves as a “call to action,” galvanizing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to create and accelerate breakthrough solutions to one of the biggest questions of our time: How to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050?

Since 2014, TFF has helped young innovators around the world to develop locally-relevant solutions that address a wide-range of pressing food and agriculture challenges across all parts of the food chain—from production to distribution through to consumption and waste. 

So, if you have an innovative idea that will foster the growth of agriculture and global food production then go ahead and sign up for this competition.

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#5. Microsoft Imagine Cup Innovation Competition

The Imagine Cup Innovation Competition is an idea competition organized by Microsoft Corporation, USA. 

This global competition is one you should definitely sign up for if you are a computer science student or have an interest in computing.

The reason is that it empowers the next generation of computer science students to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications that shape how we live, work and play. 

Interestingly, students can win up to $100,000 in prizes including mentorship opportunities with industry leaders, an Azure grant and cash.

The bottom line is that the Microsoft Imagine Cup can help students take their project to the next level.

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#6. Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Internation Competition is organized by Shenzhen Government, China. 

This competition is the penultimate event in a series of competitions held around the world that will exhibit innovative thinking and game-changing advances in technology and industry.

Participation is free of cost and allows participants to consult with senior industry specialists and therefore improve both their projects and their experience of working with leaders in the China market. 

Besides the experience and mentorship, you will get in this competition, winners also receive prizes from RMB ¥100,000 (about AUD $20,000) to RMB ¥30,000 (about AUD $6,000).

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#7. Innovation Prize for Africa. African Innovation Foundation (AIF)

The Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is one of the top idea competitions organized by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), Switzerland. 

This competition holds every year with the purpose of encouraging African pioneers to develop creative ideas and techniques to overcome some of the challenges faced by the continent and support sustainable development. 

As a result, this innovation competition is open to innovators, academics, entrepreneurs living and based in Africa. 

The winners and runner-ups of this competition receive prize monies from $100,000 to $5000.

With these prices, they are able to implement their ideas and scale existing ones.

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#8. JumpStarter

JUMPSTARTER is a not-for-profit initiative curated by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund.

This idea competition provides a platform for all entrepreneurs and young people to jump start their dreams in Hong Kong. 

It is also a first-of-its-kind startup event focused exclusively on showcasing quality startups and providing high-impact networking opportunities.

The goal of this competition is to build, empower and boost Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship.

They hope to achieve this by bringing entrepreneurs, corporates, investors and the public together.

As a result, helping to transform Hong Kong into a leading hub for global innovation and technology.

The top two teams of this competition get to win up to $4 million in investments.

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As stated earlier, there are many idea and innovation competitions out there.

You can apply for any of them and win great prizes that will help you scale your business.

And as promised, I have provided you with a list of the best idea competitions.

Next step is for you to follow the links to each website.

Learn as much as you can about each of them – their selection criteria, past winners and other necessary information.

I wish you the best as you embark on this journey.

Make sure to share this article with someone.

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