Competitions, Awards & Opportunities

Natwest back her business

Helping women turn their ideas into reality!

Natwest wants to support more women to start businesses, so they've teamed up with Crowdfunder to help you get started. Together they'll help you raise money for your business through crowdfunding, and they'll also provide free coaching, mentoring and opportunities to meet like-minded women. What’s more, they're also offering up to 50% of your fundraising target (max. £5,000) in grant funding for certain successful projects.

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Unloc Enterprise Challenge

The Unloc Enterprise Challenge brought to you by Verizon is an online entrepreneurship competition looking for people aged 16-25 with fresh, new and innovative technology-led business ideas. We are reaching out to a Pan-European audience in our search for a great new start-up business.

Applicants will compete to win the overall prize at the London finals:

- £10,000/€11,000* of funding for their start-up business.
- A mentorship package to accelerate their idea
- Finalist runner ups will also receive £1,000/€1,100* of funding for their start-up business

We are really keen to open this opportunity up to as many people aged 16-25 as possible - and your organisation's help could enable us to do exactly that. We would like to invite your organisation to become a partner of the competition, with key benefits including:

- Free tickets for the Grand Final in London
- Providing young people in your network with the opportunity to apply for the competition
- Joining a network of like-minded organisations that are putting youth entrepreneurship on the map
- Recognition of your support on competition material, including your logo on the competition website

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Dare to do more!

This is more than a competition. This is innovation in action. PepsiCo's Global Student Challenge is a unique opportunity to pitch your own big idea. The chance to respond to a real, thought-provoking challenges that could make a difference on a global scale.

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Barclays: Local Genius

Are you a UK university student? Got a great tech idea that could help your community? When that lightning bolt of inspiration strikes, it’s time to enter the Barclays Local Genius Challenge. It’s your chance to find mentoring, skills workshops, and the expert training to help get a business off the ground.

Deadline 15th February 2019

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John Lewis Partnership Retail Innovation Programme

The John Lewis Partnership has launched a competition to find leading start-ups and established businesses to help shape how they shop in the future.

In a world of endless aisles and faceless interactions, a key part of the John Lewis Partnership's strategy is to reinvent the role of retail, and invest in personalised services and experiences in our shops - such as concierge-style shopping; personal styling, craft workshops, cinema screenings and a rooftop ice rink.

This competition is being run through their retail innovation programme, JLAB, which is one of the largest innovation programmes in the UK and has been running for five years. JLAB provides start-ups and businesses with access to expert advice from across the Partnership, customer panels, a chance to launch trials and pilots, office space and possible financial investment. It follows two other JLAB challenges earlier this year which looked at innovation in the field of health and wellbeing and reducing the impact of plastic waste.

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The 2019 FSB awards are now open for entries!

The FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards recognise the best small businesses and the self-employed from right across the UK, from every sector and industry and from businesses of all ages and all sizes.

The awards are the leading celebration of small businesses, shining a light on some of the best, most innovative and most determined small businesses.

This is why we choose to keep entries to the awards free and have them open to all small businesses and the self-employed, whether they are current FSB members, or not.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, with an incredible 5.7 million small businesses in the UK and we want you to help us celebrate that. The 2018 awards saw over 2,000 entries across the length and breadth of the UK from some of the most innovative and successful small businesses. The 2019 awards promise to be even bigger offering recognition to small businesses across the whole of the UK and culminating in a prestigious and high profile UK Final in London at Battersea Evolution on 23 May 2019.

Winning an FSB Celebrating Small Business Award is a great way to showcase your business achievements and celebrate business success, brilliance and innovation.

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The Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize 2019

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

To celebrate their 31st anniversary, They are again running the Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize which will award £31,000 of R&D services to the product that the judges feel has the potential to make the biggest impact and will make the best use of the prize.

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The hunt is on for the best student and graduate business ideas!

Are you a college or university student or did you graduate anytime after 2013? Are you running a business? Or do you have a business idea that could be the next big thing?

Fancy winning a whopping £10,000, a national title and more networking than you can shake a stick at? Then the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition 2018 is for you!

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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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The Pitch 2018

"...there will never be a 'perfect time'.

Start your application to The Pitch today to win a money-can’t-buy mentoring package and national exposure. Participants get the chance to attend free boot camps.

The day-long events include access to a professional pitching coach, practical workshops and an opportunity to build confidence and gain validation from your peers.

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MSDUK Innovation

The MSDUK 2018 Innovation Challenge is now open!

The MSDUK Innovation Challenge is about identifying innovative & diverse entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds across the UK. Pitch your innovation, win exciting prizes, recognition and opportunities to build your business.

Top Ten finalists will be given the opportunity to pitch on a global platform, to Senior Global Business Leaders, attending entrepreneurs and investors at the MSDUK 2018 Conference & Awards on September 26th, 2018.

A unique opportunity not to be missed.

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Voom Pitch 2018

Want a share of £1,000,000 in prizes?

Fancy pitching your business or bright idea to Richard Branson – for more exposure than you can shake a stick at? You can.

Because the UK and Ireland’s most exciting pitching competition is back.

Get your VOOM on!

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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.

Applications for February and March are now closed, other programmes to be announced.

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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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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.