The time is ripe for Swiss-based startups. Long unrecognized in the country, the federal government recently announced a financial assistance plan, and Swiss startups are seeing a growing number of successes including reaching unicorn status.

Every year IMD is on the lookout for startups with high potential to work with our MBA and EMBA participants to build viable business models and to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley to make it to the next level. This year is no exception and the deadline to apply to be part of this program, November 12th, is approaching.

This year winners will receive a scholarship of CHF 5,000 towards IMD’s open and online programs.

The IMD Startup Competition is one of the oldest awards for young companies in Switzerland. Former winners include Abionic, AC Immune, BestMile, Doodle, Endosense, FaceShift, Flyability, MindMaze, Nexthink and Xeltis. Many ventures have attested to having gained lasting value from working with the MBAs and EMBAs, a group of talented, experienced and motivated individuals from IMD’s highly rigorous and selective degree programs. 

“Since 1998, the IMD startup competition has worked with some of the best entrepreneurs in Switzerland. In the most recent Swiss Top 100 report, IMD-supported startups captured 28 of the top 100 places, including 4 out of the top 10. These statistics are similar every year,” said Jim Pulcrano, entrepreneurship expert at IMD and organizer of the competition.

Speaking of the new scholarship Dr. Pulcrano said: “As far as I am aware we are the only major business school to offer such a scholarship to startups.”

IMD is looking for early-stage companies that have a solid chance of market success, have a team that is curious and willing to open themselves up to a small group of experienced executives. In addition to providing valuable insights to the startups, the competition is an excellent learning experience for IMD’s MBAs and EMBAS.

“IMD works with a broad ecosystem of partners to deliver the most impactful learning we can. This includes schools, international organizations, science hubs, and we are also proud of the impressive number of startups we have supported and learned from over the years thanks to this competition,” said Albrecht Enders, IMD Professor and Dean of Innovation and Programs.

Executive MBA project opportunity

  • Up to fifteen startups will be chosen to work with three Executive MBA classes
  • Split into small teams each working with a dedicated startup, EMBAs analyze and challenge the company’s strategy
  • Their ultimate goal is to make a pitch on behalf of the startup (with the founder) to venture capitalists and angels in Silicon Valley

MBA project opportunity

  • Up to 15 startups will receive the support of the fulltime MBA class
  • Split into small teams each working with “their” startup, MBAs put in an average of 6-8 hours on this project each week, for a total support of at least 500-600 work-hours

Alejandro Ojeda, CEO and founder of UrbanAlps, said: “I am very eager to participate after getting a taste of IMD’s teaching performance through its EMBA week in the US…. I feel this scholarship can improve our skills considerably, be of great support to the Swiss startup ecosystem and I am very much looking forward to it.

Find out more about the timelines and requirements for the IMD Startup Competition 2018/2019