Below you will find the answers to FAQs relating to participation in the Start-Up AwardsXXI. Look for the answer to your question and if you can’t find it, don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll be more than happy to help.

1. Who can apply?

Young innovative companies with their registered office in Spain or Portugal which meet the participation requirements and started their business activity after 1 January 2020 may apply for the Start-Up Awards XXI.

2. Which awards can I apply for?

Simply submitting your entry gives you the chance to win these awards::

  • Regional Award: the company with the greatest impact in its territory will receive €6000 and a training programme at a leading innovation hub. All companies in a territory compete for this award, regardless of their sector. This contest grants 19 awards. In Spain an award is granted for each of the 17 Autonomous Communities and two awards are granted in Portugal (one award for the North/Central Area, and another for Lisbon/South and the Islands).
  • Start-Up AwardsXXI Challenges Award: the most innovative companies with the most potential to solve the “Future Challenges” that we propose will receive €12,000 for each challenge and an international support programme. All companies that can provide solutions for the proposed challenges compete for this award. Awards are presented for the following six categories, each involving two challenges.
    • FUTURE PLANET: We are looking for the best solutions to help preserve the planet and its natural resources, and enable sustainable farming. Driven by AgroBank and imagin.
      • AgroBank: Projects that transform the agrifood industry via sustainable husbandry and farming, incorporating technological innovation in production processes.
      • imagin: Projects focusing on leaving future generations with a better planet with solutions based on achieving a lifestyle in which natural resources are handled with care.
    • FUTURE WELLBEING: We are looking for projects focusing on civic wellbeing and disease prevention, paving the way for a full and healthy life. Driven by VidaCaixa and CaixaBank Seniors.
      • VidaCaixa: Solutions in the field of therapeutics, diagnoses, development of medical technologies, and e-health. We are looking for projects that apply technology to medicine to help improve the quality of health, patient access and disease prevention. 
      • CaixaBank Seniors: Solutions focusing on the wellbeing of our elderly (silver economy) in all aspects of their everyday life to ensure active ageing, enjoyment of leisure time, and a long and healthy life thanks to technology.
    • FUTURE TALENT: We are looking for companies that support the development of human talent and the work of the future, understanding that we are living in a world of constant evolution and technological transformation, which implies very positive changes in society but also challenges for current and future generations. Driven by MicroBank and Grupo CaixaBank.
      • MicroBank: The technological transformation implies highly positive changes in society, but also challenges for current and future generations. It is important to prepare people to adapt to new technologies, refresh their knowledge and ensure the inclusion of all citizens in this work sector, including those linked to the tertiary sector, through EdTech solutions and tools that facilitate the transition.
      • Grupo CaixaBank: Products and services focused on talent development and facilitating company talent recruitment, management and retention processes.
    • FUTURE CITIES: We are looking for value proposals focusing on how to make the towns and cities in which we live safer, more sustainable and more connected, also providing adapted transport. Driven by CaixaBank Real Estate&Home and CaixaBank Payments&Customer.
      • CaixaBank Real Estate&Home: Thanks to technology, the home of the future saves energy, is connected to the Internet and contributes to the improvement of the natural environment, preventing further degradation whilst being useful to humans both in terms of ecology and economy. 
      • CaixaBank Payment&Customer: Technology and mobility solutions in tomorrow’s cities that back sustainability, convenience and innovation.
    • FUTURE ECONOMY: Companies and the economy face many challenges, not only linked to the shock wave of the pandemic but also to longer, more profound changes that have and will have lasting effects. Innovation and technology play a crucial role in the transformation of all sectors. Driven by CaixaBank (Innovación) and DayOne.
      • CaixaBank (Innovación):We are looking for solutions that support the transformation of the finance sector and new business models in banking (fintech, insurtech, retail, cybersecurity).
      • DayOne: Tomorrow’s companies, whatever the sector, are currently undergoing a process of change thanks to technology: SaaS, e-commerce, productivity. In this challenge we support initiatives that drive innovation and company digitalisation.
    • FUTURE LEISURE: We are looking for proposals that help to transform people’s experiences when enjoying their free time, whether in hotels and restaurants, or when partaking in different travel, gastronomic and leisure activities. Driven by Hotels&Tourism and Food&Drinks.
      • Hotels&Tourism: Products and services focusing on the transformation of the hotel sector thanks to technology and innovation.
      • Food&Drinks: Products and services focusing on improving experiences and management in the catering sector.
  • Special second prizes: Sustainability and Deep Tech, with a cash prize of €9000 and access to international training.
  • The Start-Up AwardsXXI, through CaixaBank DayOne, plan to launch the “DayOne Open Innovation” programme in 2024. The aim of this programme is to select a company from each sector of the vertical market in which the challenge will be to carry out a pilot programme with a CaixaBank group business line.
  • Furthermore, all of the prizewinning companies will have access to the AlumniXXI community and will take part in the Start-Up AwardsXXI Investors Day.
3. ¿Can I win more than one award in one edition?

You can win them all! The selection processes and juries of the different awards granted in a specific edition are totally independent. Therefore, one company can win the challenge applied to, territorial and second prizes.

4. If I already won an award in a previous edition, can I apply again?

A company cannot win the same award twice, but it can apply for the other awards. Thus, for example, a company that was the winner at the national level in a previous edition can apply again and compete for the challenge category and second awards, although it would be ruled out for the regional awards that it already won.

5. Who am I competing against?

In the Regional Category, all the companies which have applied in that territory compete in the award for the company with high impact in its territory. There are 19 territories involved in the competition: the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain and 2 areas of Portugal (North/Centre and Lisbon/South and the Islands).

In the Start-Up AwardsXXI Challenges Category, for the award for the most innovative companies with the greatest potential to solve the challenges proposed, compete all companies that can provide solutions to the challenges proposed, regardless of their territory of origin.

In innovation award by the Embassy of Israel in Spain all candidate companies from Spain. All the companies presented in Portugal compete for the second prize for Innovation awarded by the Agência Nacional da Inovaçao de Portugal.
The two special prizes, the Social Impact award for the company with the greatest positive influence on society and the Deep Tech award for the most disruptive technological innovation, will compete with the companies that fit in this sector against all the candidate companies.

6. I am a freelance employee. Can I apply?

No, only profit-seeking legally incorporated companies can apply.

7. Can projects without an incorporated company apply?

No, it is necessary to have an incorporated company when presenting the candidacy. Exceptionally, candidates whose constitution date is set in January 2024 may be admitted, provided they have a minimum viable product already on the market.

8. What is the period to present the candidacy?

Entries can be submitted from 9.00 a.m. on 26 October 2023 until 6 p.m. on 17 December 2023 (all times are listed in GMT+1). The organisation reserves the right to extend the end date, which will be announced through this website.

9. How can I submit my application?

You have to fill in the form which you can access through the Awards website, https://www.emprendedorxxi.es/en or in the link https://emprendedorxxi.es/formulario-2023.

10. Can I modify the details of my candidacy?

Yes, you may modify the details until the end date to present a candidacy or until you close your candidacy by submitting it.

11. I do not yet have the required documents, can I present my application?

We need the required documents to verify that your application meets the participation requirements and they are therefore essential. Not presenting these documents may lead to your candidacy being discarded.

12. How are the winners chosen?

The first stage reviews the eligibility of the candidacies. The candidacies that do not meet the legal bases or which have not presented the required documentation are ruled out from the process.

Later, all the candidacies are scored. All the evaluators have evaluation tables that specify the criteria to be assessed and the scores to be assigned based on said criteria. The candidacies are reviewed by several evaluators. Once the candidacies have been evaluated, rankings are created by category of challenges and these are sent to the different selection bodies.

Each award has an independent selection process. This means that there will be 50 technical committees and juries to select the 35 regional winners and of the challenges. This phase requires the candidates to present and defend their application in person before the committee or jury either in person or virtual.

13. How is transparency ensured during the selection process?

The formality, independence and transparency of the selection process is one of the elements that define these Awards, therefore we take special care to ensure these aspects. Some of the mechanisms that we have established are:

  • The evaluation is carried out based on clearly established criteria and scores in evaluation tables used by the evaluators.
  • The committees and juries work based on operating guidelines that establish, among other aspects: how to manage conflicts of interest, the voting and tied scores.
  • We invite the winners from previous editions to the juries so that they know how the selection process first hand and can verify the transparency in the process.
14. What is evaluated?

The following criteria will be taken into account when evaluating candidates:

  • Team: Commitment, dedication, and risk assumed by the entrepreneurial team; suitability of the team’s experience/training to the needs of the business; completeness of the team and capacity to attract talent; motivation; existence of Boards of Directors and the profile of the experts, etc.
  • Business model: Value chain and monetisation of the business model; competition analysis; capacity to attract customers; commercial and marketing plan; potential and capacity for globalisation; capacity or probability of having the necessary resources to implement the business plan; internal and historical coherence of financial projections, etc.
  • Ambition: Size and growth projection of the accessible market; scalability; existing and expected competition; concentration of customers; ambition and strength of sales projections; expected gross margin; job creation, etc.
  • Innovation: Level of innovation of the product or service; suitable analysis of customer needs; competitive advantages and barriers to entry; positioning with respect to competition, etc.
  • History: Revenue and/or financing achieved; results obtained with respect to the resources employed, etc.

For the Awards to the best company in its territory, in addition to the criteria above, the company’s link to and impact on the territory will be evaluated. For the awards to the best company in the challenge category, we will also evaluate the impact of the company’s project on transforming its sector as well as how the value proposal fits into the challenge to which they are applying.

15. Who is on the juries?

The different Technical Committees and the juries are formed by members of the innovation ecosystem: investors (venture capital funds and business angels), successful entrepreneurs, prestigious businessmen, previous award winners, representatives from universities and business schools, organising and collaborating entities in the different territories, and representatives of the granting entities.

16. How are the winning companies notified?

Between the months of February and May 2024, summits and regional territorial delivery events are held. The event and a closing ceremony where the delivery of the challenge phase takes place will take place May or June 2024. All dates will be published on the website of the Start-Up AwardsXXI.

17. How is the cash prize paid out?

The cash prizes are paid out by bank transfer to a current account held by the winning company opened in CaixaBank (Spain) or Banco BPI (Portugal). We inform you that these prizes paid by Caixa EmprendeXXI are considered income from economic activities (not derived from participation in games, contests or raffles) subject to corporation tax.

18. Do the Awards cover other costs?

The organisation covers the travel costs to Barcelona for one representative of each finalist company of the phase Start-Up AwardsXXI Challenges Award called by the sector committees and juries. The costs for the other trips associated with the territorial awards are to be covered by the participants.

19. If I have won another award, does that make my application incompatible?

No, there is no incompatibility with other awards.

20. Who is behind the Awards?

The Awards are backed by CaixaBank and organised by DayOne, the service for tech companies and investors. The company that formally grants the awards is Caixa EmprendedorXXI.

In Spain, the Awards are co-granted with the Empresa Nacional de Innovación (ENISA) and in Portugal with the Banco BPI.
More than 130 entities from Spain and Portugal also collaborate in the organisation.

The innovation Award in Spain is granted by the Embassy of Israel and in Portugal by the Agência Nacional da Inovaçao through the BFK awards.

21. I have some questions. Who can I contact?

For any query or clarification you can contact us by email at
premio@emprendedorxxi.es or by telephone at 93 409 74 79.

22. And finally… any winning advice?

Some points in the questionnaire are of utmost importance as far as assessment is concerned and approaching the question correctly can make all the difference at the scoring stage. We’ve picked out the most important ones for you:

  • Market size: This is all about evaluating the accessible market for the company. This means that it is necessary to clearly define both the area where the company operates and the market segment. The basis for the economic valuation of this market should be close to the income model. For example, for an app related to running, the market would not be the number of mobiles in the world but the number of mobiles in Europe (where the company works) x % of the population that regularly does sport x % that would be willing to pay to use an app of this type x the annual cost of the application in euros.
  • Milestones achieved: This involves demonstrating to the assessors where the company stands and what it has achieved. For example: In terms of the product: if it is in the development stage, if a minimum viable product has been completed, if you are already marketing the product, etc.; in terms of the team: if profiles have joined the company beyond the entrepreneurial team; in terms of sales: if a pilot product has been sold, if the first customers have bought the product, if there are any loyal and repeat customers, if you have reached agreements with partners, distributors, etc.; in terms of innovation: grants/awards obtained that show the level of innovation of the company, if you have reached any partnership agreements with a university, technology centre, strategic supplier, etc.
  • Main challenges: Under this point it is important to show that you know what your company’s main mid-term challenges/goals are, what will be key or influential to your growth and what resources will be essential for fulfilling your business plan. To do this, describe the profiles of the people to be hired and when they are to be incorporated; how much it will cost and how it will be financed, whether financial resources are necessary, how much, when and what for; where you will look for these resources; if it is necessary to make investments, give details explaining the reasons behind the investments and what you think you will achieve from them, etc.
  • Competitive advantage: Show that you know the elements that give you a competitive advantage inside out. Describe what sets you apart from your competitors, what you are better or worse at; how you detected your weak points and why your product/service irons them out; how you plan to maintain these competitive advantages as time passes and your competitors try to incorporate this advantage into their product/service.
CaixaBank Group Partners
Imagin Agrobank CaixaBank Banca Privada CaixaBank Negocios CaixaBank Empresas CaixaBank Séniors MicroBank CaixaBank Dualiza Payments and Consumer VidaCaixa CaixaBank TECH
Regional organisers / Collaborators

START-UP AWARDSXXI | Caixa Emprendedor XXI