Applications are now being accepted at St Petersburg University from those who would like to participate in the fifth Start-up SPbU competition for business projects. The winners will receive a million roubles and will also be able to defend their idea as a graduation thesis.
This is the fifth time that the Start-up SPbU competition has been held at the University. For young businesspeople, it is a chance to put together a team, test out their idea and win funding to turn it into a reality. An added bonus is the possibility of defending their project instead of a graduation thesis. This means that these entrepreneurs will be able to devote even more time to realising their dream.
Last year’s first-place prize – a scholarship of 300,000 roubles and a grant of 1 million roubles – went to the α-Tear-Test team, which was developing a system for early detection of Parkinson’s disease through the use of lachrymal fluid. The second-place prize – a scholarship of 200,000 roubles and a grant of 700,000 roubles – was awarded to the In Sapiens team, which was working on a device that would make it possible to remotely monitor the medical condition of people suffering from diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. The third-place prize – a scholarship of 100,000 roubles – was given to the Biotrek team, which was developing a procedure to track how a drug is distributed throughout the body without damaging a person’s health.
A business project can be devoted to artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, bioinformatics, the handling of solid and liquid household waste, medical technology, trans-border logistics of the ‘New Silk Road’ and new energy sources, among other possibilities. Participants who choose one of the proposed topics may be able to reach the international stage of the competition. The organisers, however, are prepared to consider projects that fall outside the topics that they have designated.
This year, the key requirements are the same: teams are to be composed of from three to five St Petersburg University students who are in different fields of study, and they are expected to come up with a knowledge-intensive project that is commercially promising.
Applications will be accepted from October 22 through November 22, 2019.
The authors of ideas that make it through the stringent selection process, carried out by experts, will be invited to defend their projects on-site in December. During the following four months, from January to April, the participants in the finalist teams will be given a special grant of 10,000 roubles so that they can develop their concepts. They will also receive counselling on copyright protection and other matters.
The teams that propose the most knowledge-intensive and commercially viable business models will receive monetary prizes. First-prize winners will be given 300,000 roubles; second-prize winners, 200,000 roubles; and third-prize winners, 100,000 roubles. When the results of the competition are announced, the top two winners may be offered an opportunity to create their own small innovative enterprises, in collaboration with the University. There will be grants of 1 million and 700,000 roubles to develop these businesses, and they will be allotted depending on how many points each of them has accrued.
The students’ research supervisors may also take part in the competition. If their advisees take one of the top three prizes, these teachers will receive a bonus of 100,000 roubles.
NOTE: Each team can present only one project, and a student can participate in only one team.