The Biggest Startup Pitch Competition in the World

The Largest cash prize pool at any startup event in the world!

What is the Supernova Challenge Pitch Competition?

The Supernova Challenge is the biggest pitch competition in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and your opportunity to become the next unicorn!

This year $200,000 in cash prizes was up for grabs, the Supernova Challenge is an anticipated pitch competition for entrepreneurs willing to display groundbreaking innovations and highlight their value in front of the world.

How can I apply?

To enter the Supernova Pitch competition, you will need to be one of the exhibiting startups attending Expand North Star, October 15 – 18 at Dubai Harbour. The startups that apply for the competition will then be required to pitch their ideas, with the semi finalists being announced closer to the time of the event.

To become an exhibitor and to apply to the Supernova Pitch Competition, follow the button below and fill out the form so that one of our team members can contact you directly.



What winning the $100,000 award meant for 2022 winners, Desolenator.

Alexei Levene, co-founder of Desolenator, accepted the grand prize money of $100,000:

“Winning this incredible prize really demonstrates how sustainability – and the world’s water crisis in particular – is now front and center of global and regional agendas.

This award also highlights how Dubai, and the UAE are taking a leadership position on the most intractable sustainability issues facing the world. We are delighted to win the North Star Supernova challenge and this prize money will contribute towards our work to tackle the global water crisis around the world.”

Meet the 2022 category winners






Sustainability & ESG


Fintech Innovator


Blockchain Frontier Leader


X-Verse Builder


Martech innovator


Creative Economy


AI Innovator


Mobility & Smart Cities Innovator


Africa Fast


Top MENA Startup Award


Last year's category awards

Take a look at the category awards for the Supernova Pitch Competition last year in 2022.

FinTech Innovator

The winner is building the boldest product or service in financial technology whether it is bringing access to financial services for all, leading in green fintech revolution, protecting consumers’ financial data and privacy, or broadening transparency in the supply chain.

MarTech Innovator

The winner is building applications of new technology in marketing and communications including advertising, data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, media, and social media.

Sustainability & ESG Innovator

The winner is utilizing technology to solve social challenges including energy and environmental fields. Solutions include but are not limited to renewable energy, digital inclusion, waste management, food security, battery technologies, clear or green tech, decarbonization, healthcare, circular economy, social or corporate government.

AI Innovator

The winner showcases how the product or service is moving AI technology forward in terms of new algorithms, data analysis, forecasting, and decision-making with less risk.

Blockchain Frontier Leader

Recognizing the startup that harnessing the transformative power of blockchain technology to impact their industry. Startups in this category also include crypto projects, DeFi, Metaverse, Gaming and Web 3.0 applications.

Creative Economy Innovator

The winner boosts the culture and creative industries with a product or service in the arts, design fashion, music, photography, film, video, etc.

Top MENA Startup Award (new)

The winner is building a product or service based in MENA service the Arab region with high potential for global expansion.

Overall Industry Pioneer Award (new)

The winner has submitted an industry application or case study that made use of the latest tech whether AI, Blockchain, Healthtech, Agritech, Edtech, Fintech, Energy, and other industries; which has a strong commercial and sustainability impact.

In 2022 partnership with :

Fast Female Founder Award in Partnership with Sharjah Business Women’s Council

The winner is a women-led startup building a product or service with high potential for global expansion. The startup has a female founder with a minimum of 50% ownership in the business and is an active Senior Executive.

In 2022 partnership with :

Pitch Competition Timeline

Application Deadline

15 Sep

Final Shortlisting of Applications

1 Oct

Semi-Finalists Announced

5 Oct

Pitch Prep Online Session

9 Oct

Supernova Pitch Competition Begins

15 Oct


To enter the Supernova Pitch competition, you will need to be one of the exhibiting startups attending Expand North Star, October 15 – 18 at Dubai Harbour. The startups that apply for the competition will then be required to pitch their ideas, with the semi finalists being announced closer to the time of the event.

Overall Supernova Champion: $100,000 cash prize to selected overall winner

Winner per Category: $8,000 cash prize to selected winner per category

The team will be in touch regarding your cash prize and next steps 1 week after North Star 2023.

If you are not shortlisted, there are many opportunities to engage with investors and the wider North Star audience. We will be keeping a waitlist in case of any last-minute changes. Please note that we receive hundreds of applications per category and the shortlisting goes through multiple rounds of review to reach only a final 10 for the semi-finals and 2 for the finals.

The deadline to submit on the Exhibitor Portal is August 1st 2023. Any date changes will be announced.

Here are two good references for you:


Your Pitch Video must be ONLY 60 Seconds or it will not be considered. Your Pitch Video must be in English and have a clear shot of your upper body (sitting or standing). Please submit your video by either a YouTube or a Vimeo URL.

Check out Paul Graham’s advice on story telling when pitching:

"Your goal, and your only goal, is to make investors feel it's not safe to cross you off. And there is a verb for convincing someone that something is not safe. It sounds dramatic, but your goal is to frighten them. But what frightens them? The possibility that you might become really big. They know there are maybe a few companies that will become really big….Before you start meeting investors, put together a rough draft of your fundraising vertebrae. These are the 3-4 points that compromise the narrative of why your company will be really big. Together, if investors believed in any of these points, they’d be afraid not to bet on you. As you do, keep in mind that there is an important distinction between what the business is and how you tell the story of what your business is. Your conversations with investors should influence the latter, not the former. No investor knows your business as well as you do.”

The announcements of the shortlisted startups for the semi-finals will be done by September 15th 2023. Any date changes will be announced.

The general judging criteria is broken down to main areas. Please keep these in mind as you design your pitch deck, pitch video, and semi-finals, finals pitches!

    Idea: How innovative is this idea?
    Market Opportunity: Market Size, Competition, Scalability
    Business Model: Revenue Model, Pricing, Target Customers
    Traction: Any revenue, customers, investors?
    Team: Is a skilled team in place for the startup’s success?

No, there will be a new selection process each year. You will have to apply to be considered again. Similarly, if you are shortlisted for the finals after pitching in the semi-finals but you miss the pitch, you will be replaced with the next runner-up.