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Your Startup Could Win a $1 Million Investment from Alibaba Say hello to the JUMPSTARTER 2021 Global Pitch Competition, recognizing innovative startups in retail, fintech, smart city, and deep tech.


Getting a business off the ground and turning that idea you've been dreaming about for so long into a reality is no easy feat. From product development to market research, finding customers and beyond, a lot goes into the successful launch of a company.

This is where Alibaba comes in. The Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, a not-for-profit initiative launched by the Alibaba Group, is running the JUMPSTARTER 2021 Global Pitch Competition. In its fourth year running, the competition aims to recognize innovative startups from all over the world, with a focus on companies in retail, fintech, smart city, and deep tech, such as biotech, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, and more.

The winning company will receive up to a $1 million investment and will need to do work in Hong Kong in the future. That could mean they eventually expand their business there or simply open an office in the city.

"The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund is committed to attracting talented individuals with innovative ideas, and helping them to further develop those ideas in Hong Kong, thus strengthening the city as a world-leading entrepreneurship hub," says Cindy Chow, Executive Director of the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund. "We hope the participants gain valuable experiences from the competition and are able to identify new opportunities in the region, and even leverage their development in Hong Kong as a stepping stone into the global arena."

Applications for JUMPSTARTER 2021 are now being accepted and there are three deadlines between August 31 and October 19, 2020, covering three rounds of applications. Up to 200 startups will be selected for a preliminary round of one-on-one online pitches between September and November. From there, the best 20 startups selected from the preliminary round will advance to a semi-final pitch from which 10 startups will be shortlisted. The "Grand Finale" will be held in March 2021, when the winning company will be determined.

Special attention will be given to companies that have a demonstrated social impact. "When we meet a startup, we always ask about the societal problems they are focused on solving, and how they solve the problem," Chow explains. "It's all about their value creation. As a VC, we have to look at their value creation and assess whether they have a sustainable business model to achieve it."

Startups that are selected as finalists must go through a due diligence process, which is conducted by the Investment Manager of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Chow says. Other requirements include:

  • The business has to be in operation for five years or less
  • The business must be between the Seed and Series C stages of funding
  • Must have an innovative product or service
  • To date, fundraising must not have exceeded $20 million

Last year, the competition received applications from more than 2,000 startups from 65 countries and regions around the world. While JUMPSTARTER 2021 will be held fully online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chow expects a similar level of participation this year. Awards will also be given for innovation, social impact, and women and entrepreneurship.

"The creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of startups not only fuel business and commercial activities, but also bring positive change to local communities," Chow says. "We want to encourage startups to think of different ways to contribute to society."

Click here to learn more about the JUMPSTARTER 2021 Global Pitch Competition and to enter today.