The 2021 Shenzhen Dream Catcher Cup University Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Contest kicked off Thursday afternoon, offering 28 winners with a total of 3.6 million yuan (US$554,596) in prizes.
The contest is co-organized by the Shenzhen Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, Shenzhen Municipal Education Bureau and the Communist Youth League of China Shenzhen Committee.
A total of 1,663 startup companies and teams from 455 higher learning institutions have participated in the contest over the past five years, according to Wu Junjun, vice director of the municipal human resources and social security bureau.
The six-month marathon-like challenge covers a preliminary contest in June and July, an intermediary competition in July, a startup boot camp in August, a final in September and an award ceremony in October.
Themed “Catch Youth, Win Future,” the event invites young entrepreneurs to submit ideas on startup projects. It was divided into two categories; one is open to on-campus students and the other is to entrepreneurs who have graduated from local or overseas universities within five years.
The contest’s highest prize award for the graduate category is 500,000 yuan, and the maximum sum for the on-campus student category is 300,000 yuan.
Meanwhile, the organizers will provide many supporting measures, including mentorship and tutoring, entrepreneurial guarantee loans, project promotions and finance matching.
Zhang Zimeng, the founder of Natural Benefit and the merit prize winner of 2020, shared his story with Shenzhen Daily.
“What the contest offered to you is more than prize money. We started our business just in time when the first wave of the pandemic started. However, our company successfully gained angel investments in less than two years, which I would like to give the credit to Dream Catcher Cup,” said Zhang. “In addition, our mentor in the contest helped us clarify the business model and apply for loans, including an entrepreneurial guarantee loan.”
Interested people can log in to http://zmbcyds.com for more information and submit applications. Young people from Hong Kong and Macao can also apply. The deadline is June 20.