We’re now left with only a few days left before closure of the call for applications for the third edition of the YouStartIT Acceleration Programme (the deadline is 28th January, 23:59). Many will be wondering how we are going to decide who should be accelerated. Here are a few details about what will happen over the so-called Pre-Acceleration period; that is, the phase between the application submission deadline and the announcement of the top five (possibly more) startups to be accepted to the Programme.

On 29th January, we’ll start looking at the submitted applications, and we will be involving a panel of judges, prominent members of the international startup community. In evaluating the applications the judges will be applying the same criteria outlined in the Guidelines document associated with the call and available here. We will continue the evaluation exercise until 6-8 February, after which we will then announce the 10 (possibly more) short-listed projects to go through Pre-Acceleration. If your project is short-listed, it means that you already have a 50% chance of being accepted to the YouStartIT Programme and therefore receiving the funding. If you happen to be residing outside of Malta, it will be a good time to start preparing your travel arrangements.

Pre-Acceleration will cover a set of activities that will be held at the MITA Innovation Hub between 16 and 23 February. However, we will be making available video conferencing facilities for those startups residing outside of Malta.

Activities will revolve around improving and testing your pitch, challenging your roadmap and getting to know the teams on a one-to-one basis. We’ll be having a super coach for the event. That will be IT and sales consultant Angelika Lattner, incidentally not a new face in Malta. Angelika has over 20 years of experience in the corporate world of ICT assisting emerging startup ecosystems across Europe, consulting, training and mentoring early and later stage startups in many sectors. Her role will be to provide you with feedback on your pitch, so you could repeat it after a few days, and take on board her recommendations on both your pitch and roadmap. During the one-to-one interview session, we’ll be discussing with you several aspects about your project and how you will be implementing it. Since one of the Programme requirements is to have you formalise into a partnership or company in Malta, we will also be holding an information session with a number specialists from world class firms based in Malta that will give you some insights on this process and related legal intricacies. We will then be concluding the Pre-Acceleration phase with your final pitch to be delivered on 24th February, at the end of which we will announce the list of the selected startups.

One thing is certain already. The response to the call has been unprecedentedly high, boding for a very exciting February in the local startup ecosystem.