As the driving force behind the startup landscape, we understand the necessity of acknowledging not just individual companies, but the vital ecosystems that help cultivate them. Today, Mind the Bridge, in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce, is thrilled to announce the launch of an annual initiative, the Startup Ecosystem Stars (SES).

This global award aims to honor the most effective and influential government-related organizations around the world that are fostering innovation in their regions. They are the unsung heroes, the silent architects of transformative technologies, and the guiding stars of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The SES is more than just recognition. It’s an acknowledgment of the robust work carried out by local (both national and regional) organizations to foster startup culture, amplify entrepreneurial spirit, and initiate breakthroughs in technology. By sharing the best practices of the best performers among those organizations, we aim to inspire others to adopt similar models, creating a ripple effect of innovation worldwide.

Through the SES, we will identify organizations across different continents that have succeeded in creating a thriving startup ecosystem, through their policies, programs and support.

These organizations could be trade organizations, regional economic development agencies, government agencies in support of entrepreneurship or even municipalities, regions, industry associations or research centers.

The common denominator of the selected organizations is that through their policies on innovation promotion, they are creating a tangible impact on the regional economy.

The criteria for selection will emphasize 4 main areas of activities:

  • Startup Support:
    Both programs in support of Startups to help homegrown startups scale internationally (outbound) and programs to attract international startups to expand in the local region (inbound)
  • Industry Support:
    Initiatives to help local Companies (small and medium) adopt open innovation through training, internationalization and immersion programs
  • Investment Boost:
    Financially empowering the growth of ecosystems of innovation through co-investments, matching programs, FDI attraction stimulating VC and Angel Investment
  • Talent and Research:
    programs to attract and nurture entrepreneurial Talent, support the creation of IP and tech transfer

The awarded organizations will be selected by a distinguished panel of industry experts, based on the information gathered in the Application Form.

This endeavor also allows the nominees and the winners to gain recognition on a global platform, helping them activate cross-regional/country partnerships and attract investments, startups and talents. They will be invited to attend the award ceremony in Paris, on November 21st, 2023 (tentative date) and featured in a report that will be distributed broadly.

The Startup Ecosystem Stars awards will match the successful Corporate Startup Stars awards, the annual celebration of the best global practices and role models for corporates operating in open innovation – often referred to as the Oscars for Open Innovation and Corporate-Startup collaborations. The last edition of the CSS was held in London in December 2022, and featured a collaboration with the Economist.

Nominations for the inaugural SES are officially open. We urge everyone to participate and put forward organizations that are making a significant difference in their local startup ecosystems.

In a world where we’re more connected than ever, it’s high time to recognize those who make our startup universe shine brighter. Stay tuned to be part of this exciting journey of celebrating the real stars behind the startup ecosystem.