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The Competition Structure:

Stage 1 - Registration and Application submission (January 15- March 15, 2023): At the end of this stage the board will select promising projects that will progress to the next stage.

Stage 2 - 20 Selected: startups to be announced.

Stage 3- Pitching event: Five teams will be selected for the Final Competition after the pitching event

Stage 4 - The Final Competition (September 2023): The 5 finalists will present their project to a Board of Judges and to the audience (3 minutes presentation each), followed by Q&A with the judges.

The winner will be determined by the judges and audience (Merage Fellows, investors, advisors); the finalist with the highest score will win the first prize ($100,000 USD).

The prize will be presented to the winner by Mr. Paul Merage.

The Competing Projects:

There is no restriction on the type of projects participating in the competition. Any project from any field that meets the conditions of the competition is suitable for the submission of a proposal in the competition.

The Prizes:

  1. First Prize: $ 100,000 - (a) one hundred thousand US dollars to be used for the initial financing of the winning project according to the business plan.
    (b) automatic acceptance into the prestigious Merage Institute Innovation Bridge Program in California (all expenses paid; flights are excluded).
  2. Second and fifth Prizes: automatic acceptance into the prestigious Merage Institute Innovation Bridge Program in California (all program related expenses in California are covered; flights are excluded).

Admission Terms and the Criteria for Participation:

  1. Competitors age 45 and over Or startup is led by a woman (at any age) that holds above 50% of the shares. - If a group of entrepreneurs is involved then at least one entrepreneur meets this condition.
  2. The competing projects – joint venture/ applied research idea/ innovative technology has viable commercial potential.
  3. The project has not been awarded financing in the past (whether self-financed or by a third party) in an amount exceeding $1 million (one million US dollars).
  4. Ownership of the project belongs to the competing entrepreneur/s (thus the competition is not suitable for employees of universities/ research institutes/ civil servants, etc. if the intellectual property of the project belongs to their employers). A declaration to this effect is to be made as part of the registration form.
  5. Completion and filing of all the documents and terms of registration - For the registration documents. - click here.

Selection of the winning Project:

The winning startup will be selected at the end of the day of the competition (the fourth stage) following submission and presentation of all the business plans by the competitors.

The manner of selection of the winning startup will be determined by the organizers of the competition and will be published prior to the date of the competition.

Important Issues/Additional Terms

    Voluntary Allocation of Equity – For the purpose of funding a similar competition(s) in ensuing years, the Merage Institute strongly urges the winner of the First Prize, to consider transfer/allocation of a portion of the holdings in the entity that is established to develop and commercialize the project, to the Merage Foundation.
  2. Confidentiality - The candidates are requested not to include or divulge any confidential material in the registration documents (the registration form and the executive summary). The Merage Institute does not undertake to keep the registration documents in confidence. Additionally, as part of the competition day, presentations of the selected projects will be made to the audience. The Merage Institute cannot ensure confidentiality of the information that is to be furnished by the competitors during various competition stages, including the mentoring stage, and/or confidentiality of the details presented to the audience on the competition day. Nevertheless, candidates wishing to preserve confidentiality of some of the details that are to be furnished by them at the mentoring stage (the third stage) are kindly requested to state this in writing on the registration form and to come to an arrangement regarding this matter with the Merage Institute. If it is not possible to reach an arrangement on this matter, the candidates may elect not to participate in the competition.
  3. Refusal - the Merage Institute may cancel the participation of any applicant/competitor if they do not meet the participation criteria or if the way they are being conducted at any stage is unbecoming of the spirit of the competition and/or do not comply with the requirements of the Merage Institute including the requirements of the mentor assigned to them.
  4. Use of the competition prize for the benefit of the winning project -the winner of the first prize shall undertake to use the amount of the prize solely for the benefit of the winning project and in accordance with the business plan that is formulated in the competition's framework.
  5. Changes - The Merage Institute reserves the right to vary the conditions of the competition and its stages upon giving notice in writing to the competitors.