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UNICORN startup competition: Applications are open

The contest, set to take place from October 9 – December 1

Hybrid format, online + Kyiv, Oct 9, 2023 – Sigma Software Labs together with Ukrainian Startup Fund launches the UNICORN Startup Competition for startups. The contest is structured to guide startups through different stages, offering an intensive two-week program to support dynamic interaction.

The competition will take place in a hybrid format. It will include educational webinars, networking events, and multiple pitching opportunities. Participants will be able to communicate with influential investors and establish valuable partnerships at online sessions and offline events.

The contest is co-organized by Sigma Software Group and the educational wing Sigma Software University. The UNICORN Startup competition is the reincarnation of the IT_EUREKA contest, launched in 2014.

Why participate

  1. 2 Intense Weeks

Experience a fast-paced program to learn the startup building specifics and avoid common mistakes.

  1. Educational and Networking Events

Strike the perfect balance between working hard and networking harder.

  1. Abundance of Pitching Opportunities

Showcase your startup as much as possible during the contest and get helpful feedback on your pitch approaches.

  1. Strong Community

Connect with influential investors and potential partners.

  1. Valuable Prizes

Benefit from no-equity grants of 2 x €1,000 and 1 x €3,000 and partner awards.

Applications criteria

  • Ukrainian startups are welcome to apply
  • The startup must have raised no more than €500K in investments
  • Industry agnostic, but B2B software startups preferred in AdTech, AI, AR/VR, Aviation, Automotive, BigData, Blockchain, CyberSec, EdTech, FinTech, and Machine Learning

“UNICORN is a great opportunity for young startups to showcase their ideas, get insights from industry leaders, and receive mentorship from seasoned founders, respected funds, and influential community leaders. That is why we see this competition as not just a contest, but a vibrant ecosystem for cultivating startup excellence. Our key goal is to create a thriving network that will empower startups over the long term,”

says Daria Yaniieva, Investment Director at Sigma Software Labs.

Visit to register and submit your idea.


UNICORN (former IT_EUREKA) startup competition was founded by the Tempus educational program in 2014. The project was supported by the Swedish Sigma Group and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. After the end of the Tempus program, Sigma Software became the competition’s main organizer. In 2021, Sigma Software Labs became the main driver of the competition, 8 years, over 900 projects were represented by more than 2,200 participants.

In 2023 the IT_EUREKA startup competition has been upgraded into UNICORN. This rebranding emphasizes commitment to developing a startup ecosystem that transcends geographical boundaries and meets the ambitions of visionary entrepreneurs. To help the startup ecosystem grow and achieve even more significant results in the future, the competition is getting a stronger focus.

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