The Next Step Challenge is an accelerator program offering the biggest prize in Europe, including intensive 5 months of business development, €30,000 in seed financing, free housing & office space, digital infrastructure, and the opportunity to win €250,000.

If you are a startup focusing on next-generation, energy or digital products and services this might be something for you. If you work Smart Energy, fiber broadband technology, eHealth or digital products or services, then you are eligible to apply.

The program is like Accelerace (who is a partner of the Next Step Challenge), aimed at European startups, and focuses on bringing established and startup companies to a living lab, in the unique digital infrastructure region in southern Denmark. The ‘first sprint’ runs November to December 2013 working from the companies home offices, and then will move to the Next Step City in Esbjerg, Denmark from early January 2014 to the final award ceremony and showcase in April 2014.

“There is no requirement that they [the startups] stay in Esbjerg after April, but we and Southern Energy hopes that one or more may see the idea of being and building their international business from Esbjerg,” said Christian Hvashøj Schaarup from Accelerace to

Participants in the program will get the chance to test among 260,000 households in one of the most advanced infrastructure environments available in the world, to easily test and scale their businesses during the accelerator program.

Just as Accelerace suggest to those who want to enroll, the important things you need are: commitment, hard work and determination, international outlook and an interesting business idea.

Read more at the Next Step Challenge website. The deadline is 15 September 2013. Apply!