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World Cup



  • There is no fee for entry
  • Any startup throughout the world is welcome to apply and become an Applicant
  • Applicant(s) must be legally registered or planning to register in their country of residence
  • Applicant(s) must be less than seven (7) years old at the date of the Global Finals 
  • EWC Global Winners from previous editions are not eligible to participate again in EWC 2021
  • Employees of the Organizers, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotional agencies, suppliers and immediate family members are not eligible to participate in the Competition


  • Applications must be entered on the official platform – entrepreneurshipworldcup.com – to be considered.
  • Applications must be entered as a Team, according to the categories of the competition (see ‘Categories’ section below)
  • Applications must have a minimum of one (1) representative.
  • Team members must be 18 years old except if applying to the idea stage category.
  • Submissions must be the original work solely of the Participating Team.
  • Only completed applications will be considered.
  • English is the official language of the EWC at the global level.
    • Registrations can be completed in any language.
    • Applications must be completed in English whenever possible.
    • National Organizers reserve the right to accept Applications in their country's official language and even conduct their National Finals in that same language. However, all Global Finalists will be competing in English.
    • The EWC Global Finals will be conducted exclusively in English.
  • Applicants must take all necessary steps to ensure adequate protection of any intellectual property described in their submissions (i.e. appropriate intellectual property filings, patent and copyright notices, etc.).
  • The Global Organizers and National Organizers reserve the right, at any time, to disqualify any Submission that, in its judgment, violates the spirit of the competition, its guidelines, processes, Rules or Terms and Conditions.
  • Any Participating Team engaging in unethical activities, including lying, misrepresentations, or nondisclosure of material information, or any activity that may adversely affect the image of EWC or Organizers, will be disqualified and barred from participation in all EWC related activities.
  • Applicants agree to participate in media and press opportunities related to the Competition.

Section 1: Categories

  • Idea Stage: Building a team and initial product/prototype
    • Does not have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and
    • Does not have any revenue, and
    • Raising funds to develop an idea, product or concept
  • Early-Stage: Building a product, establishing product-market fit and early revenue
    • Has a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and
    • Has not raised Post Series A, or
    • Initially commercializing their product/service in one or more target markets, and
    • Successfully incorporated/registered their venture
  • Growth Stage: Scaling customer acquisition and revenue
    • Has raised Post Series A, or
    • Generating recurring revenues (for the past 3 years) and experiencing solid growth, and
    • Showing clear, growing and measurable user / market traction in a large or rapidly expanding market

Section 2: Phases of Participation

  • Phase 1: Registration
    • Applicants are on-boarded automatically by the competition website and segmented into appropriate categories based on their stage: Idea, Early, Growth.
  • Phase 2: Accelerate 1
    • Applicants are invited to participate in Accelerate 1 and learn from a series of virtual training opportunities to sharpen their skills regardless of their stage (e.g. pitch training).
  • Phase 3: EWC Competitions
    • Applicants compete against others globally in EWC Competitions around the world. Winners are selected from nations around the world as “Global Finalists” and advance to Phase 4.
  • Phase 4: Accelerate 2
    • All “Global Finalists” are invited to participate in a structured virtual bootcamp comprised of two or three cohorts organized by Idea Stage, Early Stage and Growth Stage. Teams participate in weekly 90-minute cohort-level workshop and direct one-to-one mentorship sessions designed to explore unique challenges, uncover applicable solutions and refine their pitch and presentation. This phase is mandatory for idea stage startups but optional for early and growth stage startups.
  • Phase 5: Assess
    • Global Finalists are evaluated based on their performance in Phase 4 for Idea Stage Applicants, and due diligence. The top 100 are selected as the “EWC 100” and one representative per Team is provided with complimentary airfare and hotel accommodations for the Global Finals.
  • Phase 6: Global Finals
    • The EWC 100 are invited to participate in an intensive preparation boot camp hosted at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) before competing live on stage for prize packages including $1 Million USD in cash and millions of dollars more in other services and support.
  • Phase 7: Post-EWC Support
    • EWC 100 are enrolled in the GEN Starters Club, providing a global peer network, mentorship and other support services to help members, especially after the EWC, reach their full potential. Other partners may be engaged to provide post-EWC support.

Section 3: Timeline

  • Phase 1: RegistrationsFebruary through June
  • Phase 2: Accelerate 1February through April
    • Open Call and Registrations
    • A collection of educational curriculum and training opportunities is made available online to prepare Participating Teams to compete in the EWC Competitions around the world.
    • While participation in Accelerate 1 is not a mandatory requirement in countries where there is a National Final for judging and assessment, it is highly encouraged for all entrants.
    • Applicants, however, that are based in a country without a National Final Competition must complete Accelerate 1 to compete in the global pool.
    • Global Pool Applicants will be informed if they have been selected to participate in a Pitch Competition between May 1st and June 15th, 2021, to compete for a slot as a Global Finalist.
  • Phase 3: EWC CompetitionsMay through July
    • Once registered to participate in EWC, a National Organizer will be in contact with Applicants.
    • All information will be sent to the email address provided in the registration – applicants are responsible for ensuring that the email provided is functional and that correspondence is read on a regular basis.
    • The National Organizer reserves the right to extend or shorten the application period at its sole discretion within the global calendar and EWC guidelines.
    • Applicants who are from countries without a National Organizer and who complete Accelerates will compete virtually as part of an EWC Global Pool (see Accelerates 1).
    • Global Finalists will be announced on an ongoing basis as reported by National Organizers and the Global Pool judges on the EWC website and in social media.
    • Applicants selected by their National Organizers to represent their country are invited to register for Accelerate 2 in order to improve their chances of being selected as part of the EWC 100 that will compete at the Global Finals.
    • Global Finalists may be required to update and submit supplemental information including funding details about their startup on the application section of the EWC Platform.
    • The EWC Global Team will assign a number of Global Finalist slots to each nation, taking into consideration the following criteria: number of eligible entrants per category; whether there is one or more live national finals events in that country; and population. While most countries will graduate one winner as a Global Finalist, the nations with the largest competitions may graduate more for a maximum of 10 Global Finalists.
  • Phase 4: Accelerate 2August through September
    • Accelerate 2 will be available from August through September 2021, with early winners joining early cohorts.
    • Accelerate 2 is mandatory for all Idea Stage Applicants and optional for all Early and Growth Stage Applicants.
  • Phase 5: AssessSeptember
    • Based on Accelerates 2 activities and due diligence, EWC 100 teams may be reevaluated for stage placement. If Applicants participating in the growth stage are classified as “Hypergrowth”, they will be competing in this category at the global finals for a chance to receive a special recognition package.
    • Oct 4th: EWC Announcement of “EWC 100” invited to pitch live at the Global Finals.
  • Phase 6: Global FinalsNovember 16-18, 2021
    • The Global Finals will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as part of the Misk Global Forum. All EWC 100 finalists will be pitching on stage before judges, investors, partners, industry experts and young leaders. The EWC Bootcamp at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), directly prior to the Global Finals and hosted at the KAUST campus near Jeddah, is designed for curated preparation support and networking.
  • Phase 7: Post-EWC Global Finals Support
    • All Global Finalists will be enrolled in the GEN Starters Club, providing a global peer network, mentorship and other support services to help members reach their full potential regardless of whether the Global Finalist advances to the EWC 100.

Section 4: Prizes and Awards for EWC 2021

  • Travel to the EWC Global Finals: All EWC 100 finalists will receive a full travel scholarship for one (1) Team Member to participate in the Global Finals and pre-finals EWC Bootcamp at KAUST. 
    • The Team Member must be the Founder, Co-Founder or CEO. In special cases, with the approval of the Organizer, the CFO, COO, CTO would be eligible to participate at the Global Finals in their place.
    • The scholarship includes: a round-trip flight ticket, visa, hotel accommodation, meals, and local transportation.
    • Additional co-Founders and/or any other Team Members are welcome to join the EWC Global Finals at their own expense and must RSVP to requests for conference registration or other attendance requirements by stated deadlines as space is limited.
  • EWC 2021 Awards and Cash Prizes: The EWC 100 will be eligible to receive their share of prize packages totalling more than US$70 million of in-kind services and more than US$1 million in cash. This will include:
    • One (1) Grand Prize Champion: $500,000
    • One (1) 2nd Place Winner: $250,000
    • One (1) 3rd Place Winner: $100,00

In addition to the top 3 prizes listed above (which may be from any stage), separate prizes will be awarded to the top scoring team from the following categories that did not receive one of the top 3 prizes:

  • Idea Stage: $100,000
  • Social Enterprise: $100,000
  • EWC 2021 Service Awards for Global Finalists:
    • One hundred (100) awards of in-kind services valued at $750,000 each for the EWC 100
    • All Global Finalists will receive an in-kind service package valued at $100,000

Section 5: Evaluations

  • Evaluation Criteria - Global Finalists
    • Applicants participating in the initial round of EWC Competitions will be evaluated based on the following criteria to determine if they advance to the next round:
    • Product: 30%
      • Traction: How is the company's market traction and organic growth? Is their growth accelerating?
      • Customer Validation: Is there evidence that this company is delighting customers, building loyalty and retaining users?
      • Value Proposition: Is there a clear product roadmap to increasingly provide excess value to users/customers?
      • Differentiation: Does the company have a clearly differentiated and sustainable advantage or claim to fame?
      • Exclusivity: Does the team own or have access to the intellectual property of the product or technology proposed for the venture?
    • Potential: 25%
      • Market Need: Is there a clear market need presented?
      • Market Potential: How big can this business get? Are they attacking either a massive addressable market or a small, but rapidly growing market?
      • Tailwinds: Is the market opportunity being propelled by technology, economic or cultural tailwinds? 
      • Market Share: Is the company positioned to be the obvious leader in the market?
      • Network Effect: Is the company positioned to benefit from network effects or natural virality?
      • Competitive Advantage: Has the team articulated a clear competitive advantage –first mover advantage, network effect, etc.?
    • Predictability (Business Model): 20%
      • Scalability: Is the business model scalable?
      • Revenue: Does the company have a business model that generates recurring revenues or a formula that produces predictable operating results?
      • Economics: Do unit economics make sense? How feasible is the company's roadmap towards profitability?
      • Growth: How sustainable is their growth rate? What are the underlying assumptions to maintain such a rate?
    • People: 25%
      • Experience: What is the experience and reputation of the Founding Team? Do they have a mix of experience, skills and vision to build a breakthrough company?
      • Track Record: What is the team's track record? Does the founding team have experience solving problems and accomplishing things together?
      • Talent: Has the company shown its ability to attract and retain top talent (as employees, advisors, etc.)?
  • Evaluation Criteria - EWC 100
    • The Global Selection Committee will determine the EWC 100. Those Global Finalists will be scored and ranked on a variety of variables including:
      • Pitch Deck and/or Video Pitch
      • Due Diligence
      • Quality of Accelerates 2 deliverables*
      • Feedback from Mentors*
    • Additional factors include:
      • Regional/geographic diversity
      • Achieving stage balance
      • Industry diversity
      • Inclusion (age, gender, etc.)

* For Applicants participating in Accelerate 2

  • Judges
    • Judges agree to score Applicant (s) thoroughly and impartially based on the technical quality and evaluation criteria without regard to nationality, age, gender, religion, or other discriminatory factors of the Participating Teams.
    • Judges provide feedback in the National Finals and Global Finals to assist Participating Teams in identifying areas for improvement.
    • All Judges agree to Terms of Confidentiality prior to judging applications and pitches, and they agree to abide by the Rules and Terms and Conditions.
    • Under any circumstance, mentors of Participating Teams cannot be judges.
    • Judges will participate on a voluntary basis and are not paid by Organizers. 


  1. Global Organizers
    1. Three (3) organizations are considered the Global Organizers of the Entrepreneurship World Cup: Misk Global Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Network and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation.
  2. National Organizers
    1. There is only one (1) National Organizer per country coordinating national and regional competitions towards one global final. However, in the case of countries with a population of more than 200 million, there may be more than one national final competition driven by multiple organizers.
    2. National Organizers agree to be inclusive of different elements of their national ecosystem and, where possible, develop a National Leadership Team to ensure that there is a coordinated strategy for the country, and diverse communities and regions are represented.
  3. EWC Flagship Events
    1. Global Organizers will be leading EWC Competitions at special Flagship Events where global finalists will be selected. The calendar of activities and events will be available in the official webpage: https://entrepreneurshipworldcup.com
  4. Global Finalists
    1. Criteria for Number of Global Finalist Slots per Country: The number of applicants that advance beyond the first round will vary from country to country and is determined by the following:
      1. Number of entrants
      2. Population
      3. Maturity of ecosystem
      4. Whether countries had a live final
      5. Whether countries had regional finals within the country
      6. Whether countries achieved the minimum pool of applicants per category
      7. Whether countries have followed the EWC Guidelines
    2. Stage or Sector: Organizers reserve the right to focus on a particular stage or sector relevant to the country and provide national prizes accordingly. However, they must observe the following: 
      1. Countries with a minimum of 5 Global Finalists must guarantee representation of all stages – Idea, Early and Growth.
      2. Organizers must register Global Finalists within the deadlines to enter Accelerate 2.
    3. Guaranteed EWC 100 Slots: The top thirty-five (35) performing countries – based on the criteria outlined above in item III (a) – will have one (1) guaranteed slot at the EWC Global Finals and up to (3) guaranteed slots for larger countries with a population of more than 200 million.
      1. Global Finalists selected among the top performing countries must successfully complete the submission requirements in order to qualify for the Global Finals.
  5. Principle of Confidentiality
    1. The Organizers: Misk Global Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Network and The Global Education & Leadership Foundation; Mentors and Judges, and any other person involved in the Entrepreneurship World Cup, will maintain faithful enforcement of the Principles of Confidentiality of the projects presented by the teams for EWC in accordance with the Rules, Terms and Conditions.
    2. All information submitted by the Applicants is considered confidential. Applicants will be asked to provide a brief company description, pitch deck, logos, profile pictures and/or other material that will be made available to the public through the EWC official channels, Organizers’ websites and social media channels. Websites listed by Applicants will be considered public information. During all related competitions, pitch decks will be reviewed by the judges who have previously agreed to maintain confidentiality of the information presented.
  6. Tax and Legal Considerations
    1. The cash prizes awarded may have legal or tax implications for the Applicant’s domestic tax status in their country. Taxes will be entirely the responsibility of the winners. The Organizers hold no responsibility with these or any related tax or legal obligations of the winners.
  7. Acceptance of the Terms and Conditions of the Entrepreneurship World Cup
    1. Registration to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, constitutes acceptance of the Applicant(s) to the Rules and Terms and Conditions included at entrepreneurshipworldcup.com.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the EWC global community's safety, the global finals and all related events may be organized virtually at the Organizers' sole discretion.