Competitions, Awards & Opportunities

Innovation Challenges

Organisations are seeking your help in solving these Innovation Challenges. If you can solve or have a new approach to any of these corporate needs simply contact us and we will put you in touch with the organisation.

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FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards 2018

The awards showcase the best small businesses from the length and breadth of the UK, offering national recognition for those who have made the biggest impression over the last 12 months. Expert smaller business judges will select category winners in 12 areas across the UK.

Winning an FSB Celebrating Small Business Award is a great way to showcase your business achievements and celebrate your business hard work, brilliance and innovation within your own geographical area as well as having the opportunity to win a national award.

With 12 categories to enter, including 3 new ones for 2018, there is a category to suit every type of smaller business.

The entry process is simple:

Step 1 – Select your area from the list below and click ‘Enter The Awards’
Step 2 – Select the category or categories you wish to enter
Step 3 – Review your entry and submit

Categories include:
Business Exporter of the Year
Ethical – Green Business
Business & Product Innovation Award
Digital Business of the Year
Micro Business of the Year
Start-up Business of the Year
Scale Up Business of the Year
Family Business of the Year
Young Entrepreneur of the Year (under 25 years of age)
Employer of the Year
Community Award (Area only)
Triumph Over Adversity

DEADLINE: For South East 12th January 2018

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Enterprize funding from Just Develop It

Just Develop It are offering £35,000 in equity free seed funding to support startup ideas and businesses.

DEADLINE: 6pm on 14th December 2017.

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Care Innovation Challenge

A competition for students to take on the challenges in the care sector with the funding, mentoring and network support to take ideas from concept to reality and the potential to create social businesses that create impact.

The Care Innovation Challenge is partnered with UnLtd, the largest supporter of student social entrepreneurs and Oomph! one of the most successful social enterprise working in the care sector.

The event will take place in February 2018, and we are inviting students teams of three to come along for the ‘hackathon’ style weekend where the top 5 teams will win £500 for their project idea, £100 personal prize each with direct support from an experienced mentor in the care sector to grow and develop their team idea.

High quality ideas and teams will then have the change to win a £15k grant to develop their idea further with the best of the bunch being supported in to UnLtd’s ‘Transform Ageing Accelerator’ where there are grants up to £40k with long-term support.

DEADLINE: entrants need to apply by Friday 8th December 2017.

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WE Innovate @ Imperial

The WE Innovate @ Imperial Programme is the new name for the Althea Programme. The programme is a personal and professional development programme aimed at women studying at Imperial. It consists of a series of workshops designed to help you develop your enterprising idea. The programme will include high-profile speakers and tailored one-to-one mentoring.

Once the programme is complete, all participants can opt to submit their ideas to the WE Innovate @ Imperial Prize. Both the programme and its associated prize have been designed to encourage female students, through a series of exclusive development and mentoring opportunities. As individuals or by leading a team, these students will see an innovative project through to fruition.

The top prize is £10,000 and there are a series of runners up prizes.

DEADLINE: 24th October 2017 (12pm)

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Orange Illustration Challenge


Talented? Creative? Ready for a new challenge?

Orange is inviting talented illustrators to contribute to their existing illustration bank.

Sounds interesting? Click below to compete in a challenge and become one of the three winners to win a grand prize money of 5,000€

DEADLINE: 30th October 2017

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Calling innovators to help people on low to middle incomes

Between now and 3rd of November (deadline extended due to demand), we want to hear about what innovative organisations are doing to help people grappling with these issues.

We’re looking for solutions that already exist - not new ideas - which would benefit from support through the programme to help them scale their activities.

In return, we can can connect the best innovators with leading businesses and civil society organisations in the Inclusive Economy Partnership. Over the coming year, we will also help a select group to scale their activities and build their network. Selected innovations could be awarded up to £20k to develop plans to achieve these goals.

We’re open minded: solutions can be, but are not limited to: products, services, programmes, principles, standards of practice and can be delivered by charities, social enterprises, commercial enterprises, voluntary organisations, community groups, and other incorporated entities or unincorporated associations with formal membership structures.

DEADLINE: 3rd November 2017

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Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize

What could you do with £30,000 of R&D?

Morgan Innovation & Technology have been helping innovators and inventors to bring new ideas and products to market for 30 years.

To celebrate this anniversary in 2017, we have launched the Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize, which will award £30,000 worth of R&D services to the winner, in order to take their idea to the next stage of development.

The prize, which is free to enter, will be awarded to the entry that the judges feel has the potential to make the biggest impact on society and who will make best use of the prize to further their idea.

DEADLINE: 5th November 2017

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The Start-Up Series (Worth Capital)

The Start-Up Series: Your chance to receive a £150,000 equity investment

Every month, The Start-Up Series competition searches for the brightest entrepreneurs with the smartest ideas to qualify for one of 12 planned seed investments from a total of £1.8m equity funding...

Where will the investment come from? The investment comes from a dedicated SEIS fund, launched specifically to back the qualified winners of the series of competitions.

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EU-funded Start-up Entrepreneurship Programme

A hands-on interactive business support programme, fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Arming you with an Executive Summary, a Pitch Deck, a Business Model and a basic Financial Plan, this SETsquared programme will put your business on the path to success.
In addition, you will get the chance to:

* hear from other entrepreneurs who have gone on to raise significant investment
* hone your pitch in front of a panel of investors and expert mentors
* receive valuable feedback to shape your proposition from the speed mentoring session.

The programme is open to all - it is ideal for entrepreneurs with an idea for a tech-based product or service and founders of early-stage technology ventures, as well as more experienced entrepreneurs launching a new product/venture.

Next programme runs the 7th & 8th September in Guildford with other programmes to be announced.

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Small Business Sunday

Every Sunday former Dragons' Den judge Theo Paphitis picks six small business owners to retweet to his thousands of Twitter followers. For the chance to be selected tweet @TheoPaphitis with the #SBS hashtag between 5pm and 7.30pm on Sundays.

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Rise mentoring

Rise London organise mentoring sessions on a regular basis where startups get matched with mentors from Barclays and from the bank's corporate partners. Register your interest to attend and someone from our team will contact you about our upcoming mentoring events.

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O2 Think Big

Need money, support or training to help improve your community? We help young people launch ideas and programmes that benefit the places where they live.

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Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme

The Smarter Future programme provides start-up funding of £5,000 and exclusive mentoring sessions with Shell business experts to one winner per month to help young entrepreneurs with the most innovative business ideas to tackle the biggest energy and resource challenges we face.

Monthly deadlines.

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Our Advice

The nest team will advertises a variety of competitions for startups and early stage companies. If we think you are a strong candidate then we may also contact you directly with relevant opportunities. In the past our student and graduate entrepreneurs have done well in competitions such as the Young StartUp Talent (Solent Region) and The National Santander Awards. Of course, we also hold our own annual competition every March, the Enterprise Showcase, where you can nominate yourselves or others to receive one of the highly sought after awards. Keep an eye on our social media after Christmas for how to get involved.