Unicorn startup competition: applications open

Sigma Software Group launches the UNICORN Startup Competition for startups from Ukraine and the EU. 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 in Kyiv and Warsaw.

The contest is organised by Sigma Software Group, the business incubator Sigma Software Labs, and the educational wing Sigma Software University in co-organisation with Ukrainian Startup Fund. The UNICORN Startup competition is the reincarnation of the IT_EUREKA contest, launched in 2014.

Why participate

  • 2 Intense Weeks
  • Experience a fast-paced program to learn the startup building specifics and avoid common mistakes.
  • Educational and Networking Events
  • Strike the perfect balance between working hard and networking harder.
  • Abundance of Pitching Opportunities
  • Showcase your startup as much as possible during the contest and get helpful feedback on your pitch approaches.
  • Strong Community
  • Connect with influential investors and potential partners.
  • Valuable Prizes
  • Benefit from no-equity grants of 2 x €1,000 and 1 x €3,000 and partner awards.

Application criteria

  • Startups from Ukraine and the EU 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.


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 organiser. In 2021, Sigma Software Labs became the main driver of the competition. In 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 emphasises Sigma Software's 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.