UnLtd Awards

Awards to help start and grow your social enterprise

UnLtd offer support for enterprises with a social or environmental aim at the core of what they do. They have two types of awards available at present, for which expression’s of interest close on the 27th March 2018. Although this deadline is soon, award cycles run three times throughout the year, so good to keep in mind for future too!

Do It Awards

For those who want to create social change and would like to start working on an idea. Award includes 1-to-1 support, expert advice and access to resources including some funding.

Grow It Awards

For those who have identified a social issue and are committed to tackling it and have experience relevant to grow a venture. Award includes support to grow your venture and up to £15,000 funding.

For more information on UnLtd awards, visit their website.


Thrive: A Social Accelerator

‘Help your venture to Thrive’

Thrive is a new social accelerator run by UnLtd, aiming to help ambitious social ventures to scale. The programme will include six months of intensive support along with an opportunity to secure up to £50,000 for your venture.

20 social ventures will be supported each year and for their first cohort they are looking specifically for ventures which are working to improve access to employment for those distant from the labour market.

If you would like to find out more about the accelerator or are interested in applying, Cathryn Chrimes from UnLtd will be coming in on Thursday the 15th of March to talk to potential applicants. This information session will take place from 12-2pm in Learning Zone Pod 4. You can also read more about the accelerator online. 

Win £25,000! Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards info session next week

One of the UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competitions, is HERE!

How can I find out more?

Come along to our information drop-in on Friday 23rd February in Pod 4 in the Learning Zone.  We’ll be there throughout the day, ready to answer your questions and help you get off to a flying start. If you’re interested in hearing from someone who has been involved before, Charles Rogers, semi-finalist from last year’s competition will be joining us at 10:30am to share his experience. It would be great if you could email us to let us know if you are planning to attend.

Can I read anything in the meantime?

Yes!  Please visit our competition information page here.  You’ll be able to get an overview of the competition and download the information pack.

What other support will be available?

We will announce dedicated workshops on completing your competition Business Model Canvas, and producing a 2 minute video pitch, and offering 1-2-1 support with your individual application before Easter.   Watch this space!

Enterprise Nation Student Start-up of the Year

Win £2,500 for your business

Following a successful launch last year, Enterprise Nation’s Student Start-up of the Year competition is back! The competition is supported by the Enterprise Trust and offers young people and recent graduates the opportunity to win a range of prizes including, a top prize of £2,500 for your business.

Applications close: 25th February 2018

To find out more about the competition, the prizes and how to apply visit Enterprise Nation’s blog.


Campus Capital Launch Event

Looking for funding to help your startup?

Campus Capital is working in partnership with a number of UK universities to deliver on-campus venture capital funds, part-run by students!

The Lancaster team will be hosting their first event this Monday the 29th of January, 6:30-8pm in The Hub, Lancaster University Management School. This event will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurial students and alumni of the University to find out more about potential funding for their startups. With Campus Capital being able to provide investment of up to £350k to startups – this is not an event to be missed! Anyone who attends the will get the chance to meet the Students VCs and receive advice for securing funding.

Please visit the event page for further information and you can find our more about Campus Capital Lancaster here.

Funding Update: Samuel Bafunso

Samuel Bafunso (MSc International Innovation (Entrepreneurship), 2016) received an Enterprise Funding award for his business, SB Consultancy Ltd. Here he shares his update.

SB Consultancy Limited was founded in 2016.  SB are the initials for the founder (Samuel Bafunso).

SB Consultancy Limited is a management and marketing consultancy. We provide design, digital and marketing services for  individuals and businesses of all sizes. As a company, we help craft digital experiences that combine design, technology and strategy.

The Lancaster-China Catalyst Programme was instrumental to the birth of SB Consultancy Limited. By being a part of a multidisciplinary graduate team which provided support for two different UK-Chinese company collaborative partnerships; I realised and finally articulated my personal mission, which was to help individuals and organisations, do whatever they do, but better.  Whilst in China, I was very fortunate to work with a few successful entrepreneurs and in the process, I developed a number of productive relationships. This put things in perspective for me, and I decided that when I returned to the UK, I would set up my own consultancy, which offers a range of services to small businesses to improve their overall business execution.

After returning from China, I participated in a few UK-China Entrepreneurship and Investment competitions. The feedback which I received from these competitions gave me the much needed confidence to continue with my entrepreneurial journey.

I have worked closely with the Enterprise Team from the onset, and they have helped shape my company into what it is today. The support which I have received from the team has been invaluable; from spending quality time in working through my business model canvas, providing financial support for my business to introducing me to other successful entrepreneurs within the industry.

With regards to the financial support; I received £500 from the Enterprise Fund, sponsored by Santander Universities, which was very instrumental to the growth of my company.  The bulk of the  fund was primarily used to cover transportation costs to meet my first 3 potential clients in London, Leeds and Lancaster. I also used some of the funding to print some business cards for my company which have been useful at various networking opportunities. Being awarded the enterprise fund made life easier for me at the start and I’m very grateful for that support which I received.

I have now worked on over 12 different projects with a range of clients and the business is growing rapidly. I am very excited with the progress so far and also looking forward to the future. I am very keen to connect and work with other entrepreneurs.

I am very passionate about growing businesses so please feel free to have a look on our website or contact us on any of our social media pages to see how we can help you.

Connect with Samuel on social media and online: Website | Facebook | Twitter |

Bright Sparks Award: Submit your pitches!

Submit a 90-second video pitch to win up to £1,000 to make your idea happen!

Do you have a bright idea which you think will capture the imagination and support of your peers? Then this may be just the opportunity for you…

As you will have probably heard by now, we are busy planning for the re-launch of the Lancaster University Enterprise Awards this December. The Bright Sparks, People’s Choice award is looking for individuals or teams of students, recent alumni (past 3 years) or staff with an idea for a new venture. The proposal may be for an idea that is still as concept stage, or it may already have been registered as a formal trading entity, as long as it is still in the survival stage and has not yet achieved financial sustainability.

The Bright Sparks Award is unique from the other award categories – as not only are we asking for video pitch nominations, but also because the actual winner of the award will be determined on the night of the awards through an audience poll! The winner will receive access to support and up to £1,000 funding from The Enterprise Team through Santander Funding to help make the idea happen.

Think you’ve got a great idea which fits the bill?

To nominate an idea, send a link to your 90 second video-pitch to enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk. It is expected that your video pitch will cover the following:

  • A brief statement of opportunity (pain points for users)
  • A description of the solution you put forward
  • Is the solution desirable? (Consider competitors and alternative solutions)
  • Is the solution viable? (How will it be financially sustainable)
  • Is the solution feasible? (Do you have the skills and resources necessary, and if not what skills/resources would you need and how would you acquire them?)
  • How would the award help you kick-start your idea?

Deadline for submissions: Sunday the 19th of November. 

Please email The Enterprise Team if you have any questions.

Terms and conditions of the Bright Sparks Award:
Entrants will be judged and shortlisted by the Enterprise Team based on the following criteria: desirability, feasibility and viability of idea ; creativity and presentation. The shortlisted videos will be presented on the night of the awards event. Finalists will be invited to attend the awards event where a winner will be judged by the audience. To be eligible, nominations need to be submitted by Lancaster University students or staff, as well as alumni who have graduated up to three years ago. To claim the prize teams need to be able to engage with the offering of the enterprise team to develop their project, which would mean being able to attend regular meetings in Lancaster.

New student-run investment fund

Campus Capital to invest thousands in Lancashire startups

Lancaster University have signed a partnership with venture capital firm, Campus Capital, to bring investment to the region and further strengthen Lancashire’s startup ecosystem. The model is unique in the sense that the fund is part-run by teams to Student Venture Capitalists!

This partnership will see the investment of between £50k-200k in early stage, high-growth potential companies, on and off campus.  There is a particular focus on ‘making sure existing startups who are already doing great things get the investment they need to scale.’ It is hoped that the fund will help to increase opportunities for companies to collaborate with the University, stay and grow in the region.

Campus Capital will open to Lancashire-based startups in the New Year, although companies who are considering fundraising within the next six months are encouraged to get in touch sooner.

Fancy trying your hands at being an venture capitalist?

Students are given the opportunity to take part in an experiential learning opportunity where they will be trained as Student Venture Capitalists to run some of the early aspects of the fund pipeline. In addition to training, students will receive ongoing mentoring and experience of assessing and analysing a company’s investment-readiness. Application to take part in the scheme are now open, you can find out more here.

To find out more, visit the Campus Capital website.

Funding Update: Leon Seefeld

The South Africa Challenge 2017

My name is Leon Seefeld and I am an International Business Management student at Lancaster University. The generous sponsorship of the Enterprise Centre and Santander Universities enabled me to participate in a programme called South Africa Challenge. For two weeks in summer, this programme takes young and passionate people out to the beautiful country of South Africa to develop their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. Through theoretical input and practical experience in the form of social projects, participants grow personally and make a meaningful difference in the townships of Durban, South Africa.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to be exposed to the entrepreneurial environment in Durban. A major part of the challenge consisted of meeting partners and learning about their stories in the space of entrepreneurship. We were able to talk to the Durban Chamber of Commerce, Bizfarm (a company providing entrepreneurial support), Catalyx Consulting (a social enterprise catalysing the CSR (corporate social responsibility) budgets of large corporates and community developing initiatives) and many more. Learning from people who successfully entered this exciting space was truly inspiring.

Through our own project development and implementation, we all were able to learn a lot about how to set up an international project or organisation. Especially the research on a particular issue and the creative collaboration to work out solutions are things that I will benefit from for future initiatives and internationally operating businesses. As previously mentioned, meeting so many partners not only inspired me but also taught me how important reliable business partners on the ground are when setting up something outside of your immediate surroundings.

Since all the people we met are really open-minded and appreciate every outside perspective on the problems that they have been dealing with for a long time, I was able to build a large network of people and contacts that I can refer back to in the future. My work at Enactus Lancaster, dealing with various projects in the space of social entrepreneurship, will benefit from this new network, and even I personally can see myself coming back to Durban and continue working with these amazing people.

But not only my Durban specific horizon was widened during our trip; also, my general entrepreneurial skills like pitching, holding meetings, working with the business model canvas and defining visions and values around an idea were strengthened. I developed both as a person, and as an entrepreneur, and took many more things home than I initially expected. Particularly the early stages of a project and organisation are things I dived deeper into and I worked on my own approach.

Finally, I can say I even refined my knowledge about and view on the entrepreneurial mindset. Whilst creating a workshop for young people to evaluate themselves and decide if they might be an entrepreneur, I did a lot of research. I can now say that I have a clearer picture on what an entrepreneur actually is and what the key characteristics are.

Overall I am really grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in the programme; learning so much about entrepreneurship in South Africa (and in general) and meeting so many inspiring people. I am certain that this experience will play a major role in my future career and engagements. I would like to that the Enterprise Centre for making this possible for me and can only recommend exploring this space to everyone else. This is truly a lesson for life.

Spaces 4 Change

Unlock the potential of unused or under-utlised space in your community

Spaces for Change (S4C) is a UK wide programme funded by Young UnLtd. The scheme is looking to fund and support individuals or groups of young people aged 16-24, to start and run social ventures using under-utlised spaces within their community.

Successful applicants are awarded £5,000 of project funding along with a dedicated award manager providing tailored support, cohort support and peer to peer networking opportunities for sharing knowledge and learning.

Expressions of interest can be submitted up until the 13th of November. Successful applicants will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel in January.

To find out more about the scheme and to apply, visit the Spaces for Change webpages.