The European Semantic Technology Conference 2008

The European Semantic Technology Conference (ESTC2008, 24-26 September, Vienna) is set to be the stepping stone to success for smart start-ups. This year's Business Idea Contest at ESTC2008 gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to win a cash prize and consultancy to help them get started on making their semantic technology application a commercial success.

Semantic technology enables computers to understand the information they process, and is a technology that is increasingly finding its way into real world applications. Application areas include web search, business intelligence, engineering and pharmacy.

The ESTC Business Idea Contest is an international competition for individuals, groups and start-ups with outstanding ideas and skills in implementing semantic technologies.

The contest is open to everyone who can Present innovative and new semantic applications which can be used for commercial benefit; Showcase that their idea has the potential to revolutionise the way enterprises work; Prove that the idea offers a return on investment (ROI) for potential customers.

The ideas have to be brand new or represent at least a 40 per cent enhancement to an existing solution. The applicants have to plan to take their solutions to market within the next 1.5 years.

The deadline for entering the contest has been extended to 15 September. The shortlist will be announced on 19 September. The three winners will be announced during the awards evening on 25 September.

The winner will receive a prize of 5000 Euros, the second prize, of 2500 Euros, and the third prize will be a cheque for 1000 Euros. All winners will also have the opportunity to present their ideas to possible investors and pitch for funding during a business lunch.

"Last year's business contest proved to be extremely successful. We hope to receive more international applications this year and look forward to supporting promising start-ups in the sector of semantic technology." Says Hannes A. Schwetz, investment manager at austria wirtschaftsservice (aws), the federal finance bank with a special start-up programme funding innovative technology-based companies with high market- and growth-potential.

The judges include international experts and will be announced just before the conference. Last year's judges were: Mark Greaves, Senior Research Programme Manager at Vulcan, Benjamin Grosof, assistant professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, Klaus Matzka, IT entrepreneur and founder and managing partner venture capitalist at GCP.

The last year's winner was Aleph which provides a semantic web service, search and aggregation, which is now branded as Seekda. Seekda will also be speaking at ESTC.

The contest is funded by the austria wirtschaftsservice (aws) & the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour of Austria.

The ESTC2008 brings together the best and brightest in semantic technology. It is organised by the Semantic Technology Institute International (STI International).

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