The 929 Challenge startup competition marks its third edition this year, with interested teams able to submit applications between June and September.
Details for the contest, which now has a prize pool of over US$20,000 (161,330 patacas), were announced in a press conference yesterday at the headquarters of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macau), aka Forum Macao, which is co-organising the event, in Nam Van district.
Like the last edition, the contestants will come from the nine main cities in Guangdong province, the two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau), and from nine Portuguese-speaking counties (PSCs), hence the contests’ name.
A statement from the organisers yesterday added that the contest “aims to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in the China and Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs), create sustainable business ideas and strengthen cross-border trade relations”.
Featuring a university category and startup category, selected applicants will present their projects to a panel of investors during the final slated for October, which is also when Forum Macao will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
According to the website of Forum Macao, the multinational organisation was set up in October 2003. It was initiated by the central government and organised by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC), and co-organised by the local government. Nine Portuguese-speaking countries comprising Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste participate in it.
Forum Macao, according to its website, is an intergovernmental and apolitical multilateral cooperation mechanism that is permanently based in Macao and focuses on economic and trade promotion and development. It seeks to consolidate economic and trade exchanges between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and promote Macau’s role as a platform connecting China and Portuguese-speaking countries, in order to foster the mutual development of China, Portuguese-speaking countries, and Macau.
Meanwhile, 929 Challenge co-founder and coordinator Marco Duarte Rizzolio told The Macau Post Daily about the importance of the contest to participants.
For those in the university category, Rizzolio noted that it’s important to have universities join as “a lot of entrepreneurs come from universities”, including graduates that need to look for or create their own jobs, and PhD students doing science and technology research that can have spin-offs of their ideas that can be sold to the market.
“So, it’s very important to have all the universities together”, he said. An entrepreneurship ecosystem works with networks. With more people connected and working together, the better it will be for the ecosystem, he added.
Meanwhile, aside from opportunities to win prizes, Rizzolio underlined that the contest could be important for those in the start-up category as selected applicants have a chance to “access venture capital” and pitch their ideas in front of investors, while interested companies could invest in them.
For this year’s contest, Rizzolio noted that he expects to have around the same number of contestants as in the previous edition, which he said had 250 teams and around 1,000 participants, noting, however, that the quality is more important than quantity.
More information can be found at www.929challenge.org or by contacting email@example.com or calling 6239 2527.