What is it about?

The Gaming Startup Retreat is an acceleration program developed by Startup Madeira in partnership with NOVA School of Business and Economics. It is developed within the scope of the eGames Lab counsortium and financed by the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan.

It’s main goal is to bring together 10 startups within the scope of the gaming & creative industries.

It will take in Madeira Island, Portugal where the selected startups will relocate, work and share business & knowledge experience for a 6 week period. Those who join us will have the opportunity to learn & interact with specialized mentors in the Gaming Industry and boost their growth.

The 6-week agenda aims to facilitate and offer intensive networking events, training, and workshops, while also allowing the participants to enjoy the beautiful Madeira Island and take advantage of relaxing opportunities.

The 2nd edition took place in 2024, from the 19th of February to the 29th of March!

Nov. 21 - Jan. 7
Online Application Phase

Online applications for Gaming Startup Retreat 2023 open from Tuesday, November 21th (1pm) to Sunday, January 7th (11h59 pm). All information regarding how to apply can be found on the Application Page

Jan. 7 - Jan. 15
Selection of the 10 Startups

The Jury will gather and select the startups that will be a part of the 1st Edition of GSR. The final decision and communication of the selected startups will be made until January 16th. 

Jan. 15 - Feb. 17
Support to startups before the arrival to Madeira Island

The organization will garantee the support to all Startups selected before and upon their arrival to Madeira Island. 

Feb. 19 - March. 27
Acceleration Program (Madeira Island)

The 6-week acceleration program will take place in Funchal, Madeira Island where the startups will have intensive workshops and mentoring sessions, inspiring networking moments and leisure activities.

March 26
Demo Day

The 10 Startups will Pitch the results of their work to a live audience composed by the local community, the eGames lab Counsortium, industry players and experts 


The Gaming Startup Retreat welcomes and is looking forward to selecting 10 startups in the gaming & creative industries. If you aim to:

>find new ideas
>look for inspiration
>boost your startup
>increase your network

then this retreat is for you! Startups that are interested in this program can apply with 2 to 4 members.

Established Startups with product/service in the market & an MVP in the gaming and creative industries.

Even if you are already in the market and/or raised a significant amount of money we can still leverage everything you accomplished and help you.

Yes! Your startup needs to be up and running, i.e., previously established, functioning, and scalable (first years of business). It must have an updated website/plataform and social media.

No. We do not ask for anything that could compromise your product innovations in the application process.

The educational program, which is totally tailored, is designed by Startup Madeira and one of the leading business schools in Europe – the NOVA, School of Business and Economics. We will also be welcoming local hosts, in order to support and assist the participants.

During the 6-week program, you will be learning or upgrading your knowledge in:

  • Strategy & Team Allignment
  • Business Diagnosis
  • Game Design
  • Business Model Design
  • Gaming profiles & community
  • User acquisition & feedback loops
  • Marketing Plans & Investment
  • Venture Capital
  • Soft & Hard Skills
  • Game Connection to the real world
  • Innovative Leadership
  • Impact
  • Business Measurement
  • Pitching

At the end of this retreat, you’ll have the opportunity to refine your objectives, business model, improve your product/ service, and focus on strategic aspects of your startup. There’ll be a Demo-Day, where you will have the opportunity to pitch to a crowd representing different local and national gaming, VR/AR and creative enterprises/ organizations. What you’ll leave with by the end of this Retreat equals your effort over the course of these 6 weeks. 

Each startup receives a 2.500€ grant that can be used on expenses while in Madeira Island. These expenses may come from travel fees, accommodation, meals, etc). By supporting you in this way, we hope to keep you 100% focused and relaxed during the 6-week-program and so you can truly make the most out of your stay in Madeira Island.

From the 1st day of the event (19th of February, 2024). We recommend you to arrive the weekend before, so you can have a safe and chill arrival and also the time to settle down.

If you’re located in the EU, you can travel to Madeira without a VISA. If you’re from outside the EU, you may need to get a Schengen VISA. It is relatively easy to apply for a 90-day-visa, and we will gladly help you to obtain yours as soon as your application is accepted.

The applications for the 2nd edition of Gaming Startup Retreat are officialy closed.

Have a specific question?

Reach out and we will answer as soon as possible.

The 6 week acceleration program for startups in the gaming & creative industries.

Startup Madeira