10 Programs around the world giving Equity Free Money to Startups

Bootstrapping is the best way to go if you can find the right mix of opportunities to run your business. The best way to fund your startup is to find a grant or win a startup contest or crowdfund it. Let me list a few good options (grants up to $50k and above) for entrepreneurs to rope in some equity free money from the various startup programs across the globe.

Working at NASSCOM 10000 Startups helps me to get great insights into the worldwide startup environment. I get to meet and interact with officials from various countries on a regular basis.

New trend of governments around the world chasing the startup dream.

Many governments around the world are building strategic programs to attract innovative startups and talents to boost innovative businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurial culture in their countries.

In a bid to woo startups many government funded programs are offering equity free cash to the startups. Apart from that few also offer to-and-fro flight charges, working space and free accommodation for the startup teams to help you choose their country as your operating center.

Is the free Cash too good to be true?

Not necessarily, most of these programs aim to attract innovative companies to their country which will improve the job markets and the overall economy in their countries. If you aspire to travel and have offices across the globe then these are the options coming straight from the heaven for you.

  1. Start-Up Chile is a program created by the Chilean government that seeks to attract early-stage, high-potential entrepreneurs to bootstrap their startups using Chile as a platform to go global. Find out more at www.startupchile.org
  • Location — Santiago, Chile
  • Funding Range — $15k — $90k USD [10 Million to 60 Million CLP]
  • There are 3 programs organized by Startup Chile namely –

. The S Factory — a pre-acceleration program with two rounds in a year of 20–30 companies each focused on female founders providing 10 million CLP & 3 months acceleration.

. Seed Program — Acceleration program with two rounds in a year for 80–100 companies for startups providing 20 million CLP & 6 months acceleration)

. Scale — Follow-on fund with two rounds in a year for top performing startups incorporated in Chile providing 60 million CLP)

2. Hello Tomorrow — Hello Tomorrow is a global non-profit headquartered in Paris that aims to accelerate science & tech innovation by empowering startups with cash prizes & connections with investors & industrials. ‘Hello Tomorrow’ challenge is a global startup competition for the most promising science & technology projects & startups that aim to solve the world’s pressing issues. The grand prize winner of the Challenge is awarded €100k. Track finalists will be awarded €15k. Find out more at http://challenge.hello-tomorrow.org/

  • Funding Range — 15K to 100K EUR [ 16k — 100k USD]
  • Location — Paris, France

3. SEED — Startups and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development is a program created by the Minas Gerais State Government (Brazil) to support national and international entrepreneurs to develop technological-based projects. Find out more at www.seed.mg.gov.br/sobre

  • Location — Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Funding Range — 21K — 25K USD [68K to 80K BRL]
  • Program — A 6-month program of support to entrepreneurs, domestic or foreign, to develop technology-based business projects in Minas Gerais

4. Merck Accelerator — Merck Accelerator in Kenya is applicable for startups in the field of digital healthcare. The aim of the accelerator is to support startups with the potential to reshape entire industries & make people’s lives richer. The program provides financial support along with https://accelerator.merckgroup.com/

  • Location — Nairobi, Kenya & Darmstadt, Germany
  • Funding Range — 30K — 50 K USD

5. Arch Grants — The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition awards $50,000 equity-free cash grants and pro bono support services to innovative and scalable startups that agree to locate their business in St. Louis for at least one year. Preference will be given to companies that are beyond idea stage; bring with them teams of talented, diverse, and value-additive individuals; and demonstrate that the grant money and support services have a meaningful impact on company growth. Find out more at www.archgrants.org

  • Funding Range — 50K USD
  • Location — St.Louis, United States

6. Innovators Program — A twelve-week program that embraces the core principles of Design Thinking, Lean Startup, Saas Business models and team execution enabling founders to rapidly test and validate their ideas in the market with real customers. Selected startups get $10K in equity free funding at the beginning of the program. At the end of the program, an additional $50k of equity free funding will be allocated to the most successful teams plus an additional three-month program to help the teams prepare for growth and raise their first round of funding. Find out more at www.innovatorsprogram.co

  • Funding Range — $10k — $50k USD
  • Location — Silicon Valley CA, Raleigh NC, Santa Barbara CA, and Bangalore, India.

7. Parallel18 — Parallel18 is an economic development initiative that attracts early stage, high impact startups that can scale from Puerto Rico to global communities, beyond the island, including mainland US, Latin America, & Europe. The goal of the program is to position Puerto Rico as a unique gateway to scale globally. The program is running with the support of the Puerto Rico Science & Technology Trust, the Department of Economic Development & Commerce & the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. Find out more at www.parallel18.com

  • Funding Range — 40K to 75K USD
  • Location — San Juan, Puerto Rico

8. Fit for Start — Fit for Start offers early-stage funding & coaching to ICT startups in Luxembourg. The program helps startups develop a prototype of their product & learn how to test it with their first clients. It is a 16-week program of coaching with weekly follow-up by lean startup experts, opportunities to benefit from the offer of other players that support startups in Luxembourg & a grant of €50,000. Find out more at http://en.luxinnovation.lu/Services/Support-for-innovative-start-ups/Fit-4-Start

  • Funding Range — 50K EUR [50k USD]
  • Location — Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

9. French Tech Ticket — The French Tech Ticket is a one year program by the French government to attract gifted & ambitious individuals from all around the world & help them set up & develop their startup in France. More than just a startup visa, this 12-month program offers end to end support on the journey from early stage start-up to successful business from financial support & training to first customer acquisition. Selected entrepreneurs & projects will work closely in one of the 41 top French partner incubators providing among others mentoring, fundraising strategy, expert advice & pitch practice. Find out more at www.frenchtechticket.com

Funding Range — 45K EUR [48k USD]

Location — Paris, France

10. Kickstart Accelerator — Kickstart, the swiss accelerator is a fast-track gateway for entrepreneurs from near & far to access the swiss innovation ecosystem. The 11-week program is open to the best international early-stage startups with a promising business idea within our 4 verticals: Food, Smart & Connected Machines, FinTech & Future & Emerging Technologies. For 11 weeks selected founders & their teams live & work in Zurich, Switzerland. The accelerator provides founders with up to 25,000 swiss francs in prize money, a monthly founder stipend, mentoring, a shared office space & fast-track access to relevant industry partners & the swiss startup ecosystem. The program culminates in demo day where each team presents to investors, corporate leaders & the media. Find out more at www.kickstart-accelerator.com

  • Funding Range — 25K CHF [25k USD]
  • Location — Zurich, Switzerland
This is not the exhaustive list but I hope that you invest some time to discover opportunities around you and make best use of them.