7 business competitions you NEED to know about

You’ve had the light bulb moment, done the market research and now want to make it happen but you’re lacking a little something called funding. Don’t panic!

There are many ways to fund your business idea including grants, loans and equity funding. We seek out as many funding opportunities as possible for DMU students and graduates because we understand it’s an important factor when starting-up. You can keep up to date with the latest opportunities for your business by following us on Twitter.

Another way to fund your business can be through competitions offered by start-up support organisations and there are quite a few out there!  We’ve compiled a list of competitions which you may want to consider applying for if you’re eligible and in need of cash to get your idea kick started.

Remember to always read the terms and conditions to ensure you fully understand each competition.

NACUE Varsity Pitch
Also known as the ‘premier student business competition’, the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs look for the  best businesses coming out of colleges and university’s between August and October every year.

There are 8 different award categories with the overall winner being awarded with £10k funding.

Baldwins Kickstart
This annual regional business competition is ran by one of the largest independent accountancy firms in the UK. The winner is awarded with a whopping £10,000 grant and £10,000 of valuable mentoring and accountancy advice. Two runners up receive £5,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

DMU graduates Derry Holt and James Heath reached the final of this competition in 2015 with their technology start-up Stormburst Studios. Read about their story here.

Entries open February 1st 2016 and are set to close July 31st 2016. 

The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise has been helping start-up creative businesses since 1993.  The annual competition awards one winner from five categories with £10,000 each and five runners up with £1,000. This is a great opportunity for those looking to kick start a new creative business, project or just be self-employed within the creative sector.

Applications usually open mid January and close mid February. This year, applications close on Friday 19th Feb – so there’s not long left!

DMU’s Pitch2Win
Yep, if you’re a De Montfort University student and need funding, we offer students the chance to win cash for their ideas with out monthly pitching competition. Pitch2Win awards one student each month to win £250 towards their idea.

Shell Livewire Smarter Future Programme
This programme awards a start-up grant of £5,000 each month to one 16-30 year old entrepreneur with an idea that addresses sustainable living challenges through smart innovation. Winners are also invited to take part in a coaching workshop with Shell senior business leaders.

Sky Arts Scholarships
The Sky Academy Arts Scholarships are open to UK and Ireland residents aged 18-30 looking to start a creative project. There will be four £30,000 scholarships awarded to UK artists and one €40,000 scholarship awarded to an Irish artist across six award categories.

Applications close on 10 March 2016. For more information about the scholarships, please head over to Hiive.

Ideas Tap Innovators Fund
We were very sad when IdeasTap closed it’s doors in 2015 however, they’re still able to offer opportunities to those looking to pursue a creative career by partnering with Hiive – a professional network platform for creatives. The Innovators Fund provides up to 10 groups or individuals with £500 to help kick start their creative project.

Applications close for this round on 11 March 2016

If you need further help and support regarding funding your idea book an appointment at our start-up surgery and speak to a qualified business advisor.


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