Why participate?

Why should you join the City’ZEN Challenge?

As you will discover below, the City’ZEN Challenge has a lot to offer: substantial prize money and multiple winning teams, exclusivity, two parallel competition tracks, professional incubation coaching, domestic and international internship offers and start-up and commercial partnership opportunities.

Taken together, this is an ensemble of advantages that, simply put, you won’t find anywhere else.


An international, inter-school competition reserved exclusively for students at our partner-schools.

Unlike other international innovation competitions, the City’ZEN Challenge is exclusively reserved for students at our partner-schools.
This is a major advantage because it translates into a much higher probability of your project being selected for the official competition and reaching the podium at the final jury.

Two competitions in one

Do you have your own project-idea? We have a competition for you. This is our Competition Track 1.
You don’t have a project-idea? We have a competition for you too.
This is our Competition Track 2.
(Please see the FAQ section for more information.)

Multiple winners and substantial prize money

At stake, a purse of 25,000 € and 7 winning teams:

Track 1: 16,000 € and 4 winning teams

  • 1st Prize: 7,500 €
  • 2nd Prize: 5,000 €
  • 3rd Prize: 2,500 €
  • 4th Prize: 1,000 €

Track 2: 9,000 € and 3 winning teams

  • 1st Prize: 5,000 €
  • 2nd Prize: 2,500 €
  • 3rd Prize: 1,500 €

Professional project-coaching for each finalist-team by employees of Berger-Levrault

One unique advantage of the City’ZEN Challenge which clearly sets it apart from other competitions is the project coaching services provided to each finalist-team.

From start to finish, from conception to proof of concept, your students will benefit from customized project-coaching by qualified staff designed to help each team crystallize their project and prepare for the final jury. The result of this incubation training is a ‘start-up’ experience that will help your students to not only launch their ideas but also to kick-start their careers. ​

International internship offers

Every year Berger-Levrault makes available to members of our finalist-teams numerous international internship opportunities (France, Spain, Canada and Morocco) with a view to developing their skills and promoting their professional outlook.

With a view to promoting their professional development, Berger-Levrault interns are given the chance to work on concrete projects with trained professionals and thus, develop important skills and gain valuable experience.

For more information concerning current internship offers, please visit this webpage.

Post-Competition: start-up incubation and commercial partnership possibilities

Following the end of each annual competition, our laureates (and sometimes non-laureates) are invited to give a ‘start-up pitch’ to senior managers of the Berger-Levrault Group with a view to winning an incubation and/or commercial partnership. Such partnerships could include various forms of support ranging from technical and logistical to commercial and financial. In any case, the goal is to help selected teams transform their projects into bona fide start-ups, and, potentially, become commercial partners with the company.

Who can apply

To be eligible to compete in the City’ZEN Challenge, you must be at least 18 years old, a student at one of our partner-schools and be officially enrolled for the 2021-2022 university year.

How to apply

You have your own project-idea.

In Track 1, student-teams propose and develop their own project-ideas.

The call for project-ideas for Track 1 is from 18 October to 29 November 2021.

You don’t have a project-idea.

In Track 2, student-teams develop the project-ideas proposed by staff and clients of Berger-Levrault.

The call for applications for Track 2 is from 18 October to 29 November 2021.


What students say

What our partner-schools say

What the coaches say