New ChallengeX startup competition rolls out to 157 countries

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US incubator 1776 has partnered with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) to roll out 1776’s Challenge Cup startup competition to 157 countries worldwide, including 30 in Africa.

The Challenge Cup sees participants compete in regional competitions – which thus far have been held in 16 cities across 11 countries worldwide – for the chance to win US$650,000 worth of prizes, and to meet and pitch to investors.

Startups competing in the event are divided into four categories – education, energy, health, and cities-  with the organisers saying the event focuses on startups which are “compelling, world changing, and highly scalable”.

One startup is chosen from each category winning a one-week free trip to Washington DC to compete at the 1776 annual Challenge Festival, where the winners of all the regional events go head-to-head in a global final.

Under the agreement with GEN, GEN national hosts and partners in 157 countries will have the opportunity to host local ChallengeX competitions, with the winning startups to participate in the regional Challenge Cup competitions.

Over 30 African countries belong to GEN, and as such are eligible to host their own ChallengeX competition.

“Because the partnership is brand new, we don’t yet have a number on how many will participate next year, but this is a great opportunity for startups and incubators throughout Africa to participate in the Challenge Cup. The ChallengeX competitions allow incubators to host their own competitions, and the winners of those will have a chance to participate in the regional Challenge Cup events,” 1776 told Disrupt Africa.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Global Entrepreneurship Network as we expand the Challenge Cup to be a truly worldwide phenomenon,”said 1776 co-founder Donna Harris.

“Our top priority is to find the most promising startups and surround them with the connections they need to grow, in whatever city they call home.”

“The Global Entrepreneurship Network is proud to partner with 1776 to give more startups the opportunity to fulfill their potential of using technology and innovation to improve millions of lives,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Disrupt Africa reported in November 1776 announced the first Kenyan leg of the Challenge Cup, held in Nairobi in January, with the four winners to join other regional competitors at the Challenge Festival global final in May.

Nairobi was the only African stop for the competition this year; although a South African leg was held in the previous year.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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