Salesforce.com and European venture capital firms have announced a 5 million (£4.2 million) Innovation Challenge, a competition for European start-ups building enterprise cloud apps on the Salesforce platform.

Eligible start-ups will be invited to present their ideas to professional investors at a series of Innovation Challenge pitch events throughout Europe, hosted by Salesforce.com from September to November 2013.

European venture capital firms Notion Capital, Octopus Investments and MMC Ventures have backed the Challenge.

The winning start-ups will have the opportunity to negotiate with the participating venture capital firms for seed funding to jump-start a new business or for a Series A investment to accelerate growth of an existing business.

Winners will also be able to build, package and sell their apps on the Salesforce AppExchange.

"The explosion of growth in Europe's enterprise app market is fueling innovation across the region," said Salesforce.com EMEA chairman Steve Garnett.

According to a study conducted by the Centre of Economic Business Research (Cebr) the demand for enterprise cloud apps is expected to attract 159 percent more cloud developers in Europe over the next five years, with the enterprise cloud app economy projected to generate £2.6 billion in revenue, an increase of 206 percent by 2018.