Business Competitions & Awards in the UK

Business Competitions

There is a range of UK and internationally-based business awards and competitions that provide funding, support, press and much more to startups, entrepreneurs and new business ventures. They can be a great source for testing your concept and providing the resources/ networks to grow your startup.

These start-up competitions range from the Shell Livewire award that offers monthly prizes of £1,000 to four businesses, and some prizes in excess of £10,000, to the Lloyds Enterprise and business awards that aim to support small and medium businesses with prizes up to £50,000. These competitions and others are a good way to secure initial resources, finance or support for an expansion.

Business Competition List

Growing Business AwardsGBA logo options

Overview: Brought to you by real business in conjunction with Lloyds Bank, the award recognises established start-ups and medium sized businesses for exceptional growth and innovation.

Prize: Awards include Entrepreneur of the Year, Growing Business of the Year (Large, Small and Medium), and innovator of the year and a range of others. Prize amounts are unclear.

Useful: You can find information on previous winners and shortlisted businesses here.

Apply? To find out more and about applications you e-mail them.

EDF Pulse Awardedf pulse

Overview: As the world’s leading electricity producer, EDF innovates within its various areas of business to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage more restrained and efficient use of energy.

Prize: In 2015 three EDF Pulse Awards would given to start ups and research laboratories based in Europe. The three winners would each receive 100,000 Euros.

Useful: the prize is based on three categories smart living and electricity, science and electricity and Health & Electricity.

Apply? To submit your entry you need to create an account through the following link.

Santander Universities 60 second Pitch Awardssantander

Overview: All you need to do is share your business or idea and why do you feel it deserves to win in 60 seconds. People will be voting to decide the winner.

Prize: The winner will get business support and advice from Satander. for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place the prize money is £1500, £1000 and £500 respectively.

Useful: For people that are thinking to start a start up business.

Apply? You can apply through the following link by signing up.

Cleantech Innovate Showcase 2015cleantech_logo

Overview: Cleantech innovate, which is run by ecoConnect celebrate all that is great about green industry innovation in the YK in a unique one day format.

Prize: 36 companies will present in London and 25 in Glasgow. Presentations will once again be in industry sectors with accompanying Q & A. 20,000 cash prize will be awarded to 1 Finalist at both London and Scotland Showcases.

Useful: Application is now close for London but is still available for Scotland.

Apply? You can apply as a presenter through the following web address.

Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneurmayor of london

Overview: They’re looking for great student ideas to help reduce London’s carbon emission.

Prize: £20,000worth of prizes and Siemens paid internship.

Useful: If you’re a London student or a recent graduate with an idea to reduce London’s energy use and carbon emission then you can use your skills to apply here.

Apply? Entry is free; you can find relevant details here.

IE Venture Day Londonie venture trade

Overview: IE business School invites all budding entrepreneurs to submit their idea to pitch venture day in association with the UKTI in London.

Prize: The prize amounts are unclear.

Useful: It can prove to be an amazing opportunity for star ups. It can allow them to network investors, mentors and successful entrepreneurs.

Apply? You can find registration details through the following link.

CGIU 2014 Campus representative Applicationcgui

Overview: It is built on the model of Clinton Global Initiative, which bring together world leaders to tackle global challenges. They aim to nurture and support the next generation of leaders to tackle global challenges.

Prize: Mentoring the great minds of tomorrow as Global Leaders.

Useful: The university centre for entrepreneurship is seeking student to apply and become a part CGI annual meetings.

Apply? You can apply by going through the following web address.

London Entrepreneurs Challengelondon entrepreneurs

Overview: The London Entrepreneurs Challege is a workshop program and business plan competition to all members of UCL, SOAS, Royal veterinary College, Birkbeck and London Business School.

Prize: Throughout the program there will be a substantial cash prize of £15,000.

Useful: You can find information on previous winners here.

Apply? The details on how to submit your application can be found here.

RBS MyKindaCrowd Challengemykindacrowd

Overview: RBS challenges are aimed to encourage young people to start their own business. They award 30 top young entrepreneurs who have new businesses.

Prize: Awards are given to two different categories of entrepreneurs, which include one for students aged 12 to 18 years old and another one for 19 to 25 years old. They publish the top 30 ideas in paper and electronic books and the student with the best idea will be rewarded with a business suit or a brand new iPad.

Useful: You can get support on submissions and ask questions here.

Apply? Applications can be submitted on their website.

Shell LiveWIRE Awardsshell-livewire3

Overview: The Smarter Future Programme supports young entrepreneurs with smart and innovative ideas that meet the energy and resource needs of a fast-growing population.

Prize: The 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.

Apply? To apply for the Smarter Future Programme, visit their website.

Cisco British Innovation Gateway Awardscisco

Overview: Cisco BIG Awards supports the innovators, entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in their early stages. They provide support and investment opportunities to small businesses and start-ups which have technology-based prototypes and proof of concepts (PoC) for development.

Prize: Awards worth $250,000 are given to three distinct categories of businesses categories; Big Data, Collaboration, Internet of Things and Mobility. UK registered organisations, companies and UK residents of age 18 years or older can apply.

Useful: Terms and Conditions for full contest rules are available on the provided link.

Apply? Application for different categories can be sent here.

BITC Inspiring Young Talent AwardBusiness in the Community

Overview: Inspiring Young Talent Awards are given to businesses that are socially more responsible and are reducing youth unemployment by inspiring young people to start their own businesses.

Prize: Awards are given to those businesses which have top programs for providing career advice, making opportunities and fostering ‘youth-friendly’ workplaces. Prize amounts are unspecified.

Useful: You can access useful information on the award process here.

Apply? To enter the competition, register on their website.

Future 100 Awardsfuture 100

Overview: The Future 100 awards recognise young entrepreneurs of ages 20 to 35, who show top entrepreneurial and innovation abilities to develop a socially and environmentally responsible business project.

Prize: Prizes are given to top business projects which maintain a balance between the achievement of economic, environmental and social goals. The amount is not specified.

Useful: Other details about Future 100 awards are available here.

Apply? Details on Application process are provided here.

Verb U Dell Social Innovation Challengeverb

Overview: Verb U competition is a part of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, which supports university students and graduates across the world to start their business. This competition gives an opportunity to university students who want to gain global exposure and collaborate with fellow social entrepreneurs.

Prize: Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC) has so far engaged students and social entrepreneurs from different regions and has awarded more than $800,000 till now.

Useful: The rules of the competition are presented here.

Apply? You can check their website for other details and the registration process.

NACUE Varsity Pitch Competitionnacue

Overview: Annual NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition recognises top five business ideas from UK students. They will be pitched from each of seven industry categories. The finalists will be selected after rigorous enterprise training.

Prize: A panel of industry experts will select the final winners who will be prized £10,000 in cash.

Useful: You can access the terms and conditions here.

Apply? Application details can be found here.

Clean Tech Challengecleantech_logo

Overview: The Clean Tech Challenge is an international business plan competition for innovative clean technology product ideas.

Prize: A team would be asked to compete over three rounds for £10,000.

Useful: It brings together business and student to create viable start ups. Entrants are mentored by industry experts from the Clean Tech, entrepreneurial and related sectors. Here is also a list of success stories.

Apply? You can find the relevant details in the following link.

China UK ChallengeChina UK

Overview: The China UK-Challenge aims to encourage new business ventures between china and the United Kingdom.

Prize: Winners will be provided with expert ideas and comments, a total of £7000 would be shared. It also provides an investment opportunity of £250,000 for the best business plan.

Useful: It is intended to simulate the real world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start up funds from early stage investors and venture capital firms.

Apply? You can take part in this competition by emailing relevant details provided in the following link.

Nectar BusinessNectar

Overview: Since 2005 nectar business has given rewards to British business including team dinners, holidays and trip to cinema.

Prize: The amount of prizes is unclear.

Useful: Here is a list of 2014 winners provided in the following link.

Apply? You need to set up an online account on their website, the relevant details are found on this web address.

The Telegraph Tech StartupTelegraph

Overview: The start-up 100 is an attempt to create the most authorative and trustworthy ranking of promising technology start-ups in Europe.

Prize: The prize money and its detail are unclear.

Useful: It is supported by Orrick, Silicon Valley bank and Microsoft BizSpark. In association with tech crunch Europe.

Apply? You can apply by emailing your details on the following address

Digital Entrepreneur Awardsdigital entrepreneur

Overview: The Digital Entrepreneur awards are the UK’s only national awards dedicated to internet entrepreneurialism. The awards celebrate the best of a rapidly growing industry and have been recognising Britain finest online talent for 10 consecutive years.

Prize: The awards are given to small, medium and large businesses based on different tech categories.

Useful: here is a list of 2014 finalist and winners.

Apply? You can apply by making an enquiry through the following web address.

FedEX Small Business Grant UKfedex

Overview: FedEx is helping small businesses with the FedEx Small Business Grant UK. Giving the chance to win £20,000, FedEx is looking to help these companies achieve their international ambitions.

Prize: Two Grants will be awarded: a Grand Prize of £20,000; and a Runner-Up Prize of £5,000

Useful: Participants register online, where they will be asked about their business plans to go global.

Apply? You can enter the competition through the following web address.

Shell Springboard Awardsshell-springboard

Overview: No-strings attached funding is awarded by Shell Springboard to low carbon UK SME’s, supplying crucial support for scaling up and commercializing a low carbon business. Any UK-registered SME can apply to Shell Springboard but they must be focused on reducing carbon emissions, be commercially viable and innovative.  

Prize: Regional Springboard winners get £40,000 in funding and the national winner gets a further £110,000.  Entry to the regional competitions can be made year-round.  

Useful: Since its launch in 2005, Shell Springboard awarded approximately £3 million to 86 SMEs at the cutting-edge of the low-carbon economy.

Apply? To apply for Shell Springboard Awards, visit Shell Springboard website.