New call for applications for the Boldbrain Startup Challenge accelerator


USI Startup Centre

26 April 2024

Until June 14th early-stage startup projects can apply to participate in the three-month acceleration programme organised by Fondazione Agire in collaboration with USI Startup Centre. Boldbrain Startup Challenge, that now reached its 7th edition, aims to support early-stage entrepreneurs by providing cash prizes totalling CHF 120,000 and in-kind prizes worth CHF 80,000, including a full scholarship for the USI Executive MBA valued at CHF 56,000.


The acceleration programme is aimed at early-stage startups from any industry sector with an innovative product or service that has the potential to become a scalable business and is held entirely in English. Interested candidates can receive additional information and meet the programme organisers at the dedicated information session scheduled on May 16th at the VistaLago restaurant in Lugano.

Over the past six years, the Boldbrain Startup Challenge has achieved significant results:

  •  >650 applications
  • 120 accelerated startups
  • 2,800 hours of coaching
  • >CHF 1m awarded in cash and in-kind prizes


The 20 teams selected for the 2024 edition will start their acceleration journey on August 29th with a kick-off event. During the three months they will go through an intense programme comprising workshops and coaching sessions to give a boost to their startup project, but only ten teams will access the final stage to compete for one of the five awards and the audience prize. Besides workshops on value proposition design, finance, pitching, legal and intellectual property, this time, there will be an additional session dedicated to sustainability organised in collaboration with Impact Hub Ticino. The winners will be announced at the final award ceremony scheduled on December 4th at the Palazzo dei Congressi in Lugano.

The acceleration programme is organised by Fondazione Agire in close collaboration with the USI Startup Centre and a network partners with the financial support of the Economics Division of the Department of Finance and Economy (DFE) of the Canton of Ticino, BancaStato and other sponsors. One of the awards is provided by the USI EMBA, which provides to winning team with one full scholarship worth CHF 56,000 for its Executive Master in Business Administration. 

For more information, admission criteria, and registration, please visit