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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News blog19 June 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs4 min read

Youth Start-Up Competition (YSC) 2023: Encouraging Young Entrepreneurs to Shape the Future

Youth Start-Up Competition 2023

Are you a young entrepreneur with a transformative start-up idea? Are you passionate about addressing pressing global challenges while championing European values and principles? If so, we have exciting news for you! The European Commission is proud to announce the launch of the 2023 European SME Week Youth Start-up Competition (YSC), a competition designed to celebrate and support young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 25 who are developing innovative start-up ideas that tackle today's most critical challenges.

We're thrilled to announce an exciting new chapter for the SME Week! Over the past years, our Youth Essay Competition (YEC) has served as a launch pad for young thinkers and innovators across Europe and COSME countries. This year, we are turning a new leaf with the launch of the Youth Start-Up Competition (YSC)!

The YSC is our fresh, bold initiative set to take the stage during SME Week 2023. This is not just a contest - it's an opportunity for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 25 to share their inventive start-up ideas that address today's pressing issues, such as sustainability, social inclusion, and technological innovation. You can enter until the new deadline 2nd of October.

What you need to know

To be eligible for the YSC, you must be between 18 and 25 years old and submit a video of no more than three minutes explaining your start-up idea, its relevance, and your business plan. Participants and their start-up should be from one of the EU or COSME countries. The video should be submitted in English. We are particularly interested in start-up ideas that promote sustainability and reflect EU values. Originality, uniqueness, and the potential to generate public interest and media attention are also key criteria for selection.

The winner of the YSC will be chosen by a jury based on three essential criteria: creativity, visibility, and communications. The three shortlisted candidates will be announced online and invited to the SME Assembly in Bilbao, Spain, which is taking place in 13-17 November. In a dedicated YSC session at the event, they will have the opportunity to present their start-up idea and business model. The audience, along with the jury, will vote for their favourite, resulting in a final winner.

Attending the SME Assembly 2023 is not only an opportunity to showcase your start-up but also a chance to connect with potential investors and partners. The event offers a variety of workshops, panel discussions, and networking events where young entrepreneurs can learn, grow, and collaborate with industry professionals.

Submit your entry for YSC 2023

YSC 2023 square


SME Week Youth Start-up Competition – At a Glance

Eligibility criteria:



You must be between 18 and 25 years old.


You must be from any of the EU or COSME countries.



Project Requirements



Your start-up idea must promote sustainability and reflect EU values.


You need to create a short video (maximum 3 minutes) detailing:

  • the concept of your start-up idea;
  • why your idea is relevant today;
  • a brief overview of your business plan.

New Deadline

2 of October


Take your start-up idea to the next level

The YSC is organised as part of the European Commission's ongoing efforts to promote enterprises and support entrepreneurship across Europe. We recognise the crucial role that young people play in shaping the future of the European Union, and we are committed to fostering entrepreneurship as a promising career path for the next generation.

Are you ready to take your start-up idea to the next level? If you are, then don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to showcase your innovation, connect with like-minded individuals, and gain exposure for your start-up. Start preparing your video submission today and get ready to make your mark on the world of entrepreneurship. The new extended deadline for submissions is Monday 2 October 2023.

The winner will be carefully picked by the YSC 2023 Jury members, headed by Yolanda Alcala Garcia, Spanish SME Envoy, Deputy Director of SME Support, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Together with: 

  • Igor Kalinic, Head of Sector, EISMEA;
  • Viktoria Vass, YEC 2022 winner;
  • Kosima Kovar, CEO & Co-founder, ADA Growth;
  • Bart Becks, Board Member, European Innovation Council.

As a reward for an exceptional entrepreneurial vision and dedication, the winner of the Youth Start-up Competition will be granted a remarkable opportunity: the chance to attend the EIC Summit in 2024. This prestigious event will serve as a dynamic platform for innovative start-ups to gather, exchange knowledge, and connect with industry experts. The EIC Summit is akin to an SME assembly specifically designed to celebrate and empower groundbreaking start-ups. More information about this extraordinary prize will be revealed soon, so get ready to embark on an inspiring journey alongside industry leaders and fellow visionaries.

For more information and to submit your entry, please visit the competition page for Youth Start-Up Competition 2023. Get ready to unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and be part of shaping a better future for Europe!

Promoting Enterprise - categories
  • EU SME Assembly
Promoting Enterprise - tags
  • SME Assembly
  • entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurs