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For the ASC we have seven main selection criteria.


1. You have raised funds (dilutive or non-dilutive).
2. Your academic startup is a spin-off or is affiliated with a Dutch research institute or it’s incubator.
3. You have not won the ASC in previous years.
4. Your startup is between the 0-3 years ‘old’.
5. Your team comprises out of at least two.
6. You address an industrial, societal or environmental unmet need within our defined domains.
7. Your tech solution is based on new scientific discoveries or complex engineering processes. If you are a social startup you need to have a new and disruptive systemic process.  

If you have any questions about the programme or candidate requirements, feel free to contact for more information or book an info session.

We do not look at TRL’s. You need to be an impact or commercially focussed startup with a C.o.C. (KvK) registration between 0-3 years.

You have validated the Proof of Principle (PoP, you know your tech can work) and have build a Proof of Concept (you know your solution is feasible), with which you are able to interact with the market. If you are a social startup you need to have generated impact in the market already, with a successful pilot or more.

If you have any questions about the programme or candidate requirements, feel free to contact for more information or book an info session.

Within the ASC we are not looking for startups from a specific domain, but we have an increased interest for startups within the 8 domains visualized in the domain overview on the homepage. However, the domains themselves do not play a role in the competition. We will support you on topics that are interesting for all founders, irrespective the domain you are in.   

In general Dutch Universities, Dutch University Medical Centres, or other established research institutes. You cannot be a spin-off of an established commercial company.

The competition offers the selected academic startups the chance to showcase themselves to an audience of (international) investors and businesses. The startups that are in the race to become one of the best Academic Startups and will participate in an unique program of peer to peer sessions, a promotion track and access to international conferences to help the founders to accelerate the growth and scalability of their business. They will be introduced to the innovation ecosystem, and help them develop a network of peers, experts, and mentors.

As a winner you receive multiple grand prizes:

– You are announced as one of the ‘’most promising Academic Startups of 2023/24 and will receive an high quality promotional material; 

– You will get access to a national network of the top experts and other founders in the field of academic entrepreneurship;

– You enroll in a unique support program where you will be supported by top of experts relevant for your sector, to support you to overcome your main challenges with regards to changing your mindset from a research to entrepreneurial perspective, daring to think big and building the right team.  The ASC will help you develop your network of peers, experts, and mentors. 

– You will receive services such as an extensive team assessment, executive recruitment support and scouting opportunities;

– Lastly, as a winner you can join us on trips to some of the top events and conferences around such as State of the Dutch Tech, Hello Tomorrow, and have a chance to join us to a USA trip,  offered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. Here you will meeting relevant hubs, experts, investors and more!

Once a company has won (meaning has gotten through the selection process and entered the actual support program) of a prior Academic Startup competition award, they will not be allowed to compete in future competitions using the same company. Were you excluded in previous years during the selection period or did you  win but founded a new startup? Then you may participate in future competitions.

The Academic Startup Competition looks for startup companies that are linked to the world of academia either as a spin-off or through partnerships. The ASC aims to valorize academic startups in their respective fields, whilst also wanting to connect them with startups from other fields. Sharing skills, knowledge and expertise is why we want to include various and diverse organizations into our network. We do this by providing  a stage for the top Dutch academic entrepreneurs, giving national and international recognition to academic startups that provide innovative solutions to global challenges.

Click here to find the Terms & Conditions for this Academic Startup Competition 2023.

During the competition the support program challenges (3x half day) will be mandatory. To support your journey to overcome these three challenges, the ASC program offers you additional (optional) services based on your needs connected to each challenge, since we acknowledge that they might not be as valuable to all the winners. Let us know before 22 January (kick-off support package) if you wish to (not) participate in any trips/events.