8 business competitions you NEED to know about in 2018!

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.

DMU’s Pitch2Win
Yep, if you’re a De Montfort University student or graduate and in need of funding, we offer students the chance to win cash for their idea twice a year. Pitch2Win awards one student each round with £1000 towards their idea. 

The current round is open for applications until Monday 19 Feb. Find out how to enter.

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 business competition is ran by one of the largest independent accountancy firms in the UK.  In 2017, the competition launched nationally. 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 usually open around February time.

IPSE’s Freelancers of the Year
IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed) run this annual competition as part of the National Freelancers Day. The Freelancer Awards offers a range of categories for talented and motivated freelancers or independent professionals.

Applications for the 2018 awards are currently open and close in March 2018.



Enterprise Nation Student Start-up of the Year
In it’s second year of running, this competition is looking to find the best student start-up across the UK. The winner will recieve xxx cash plus a host of other prizes including mentors and office space. In 2017, a DMU student was named as a finalist with Ability Access.

Applications for this years competition close on 25 February.

Virgin media Business Voom Pitch Competition
This is your chance to pitch a business idea to Richard Branson and win a share of £1 million in prizes. VOOM is open to those looking to grow their business and those with a brand new idea. Find out more information.

ASOS Fashion Discovery
DMU Graduate Elissa Poppy won this one back in 2016! The ASOS Fashion Discovery competition looks for original, commercial and entrepreneurial brands that show huge potential! In previous years, there’s been a £50k investment plus one-on-one mentoring from industry experts on offer.

Applications usually open in the summer so keep an eye on their website!

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.



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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