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.

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.

Startup Summit

Win a place on a Leadership Programme in Silicon Valley

Startup Summit is an exciting event ‘bringing the global eco-system to Scotland’s historic capital.’

The event is a one day exploration of all things startup – looking at the changing landscape of business, surviving in the startup world and growing into a thriving business. Founders and Executives of some of the world’s most successful companies will attend the event, speaking and sharing advice for your startup.

Each year, a number of emerging technology entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to earn a place on a five day leadership programme in Silicon Valley. To be in with a chance to pitch you can apply now, here.

For more information about the event on the 1st of November in Edinburgh visit the Startup Summit website. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the event.

Northern Stars Competition 2017

Are you one of the North’s most promising early stage tech companies?

Applications for the North’s biggest startup competition are now open!

Over the past two years the Northern Stars competition has helped 20 winning startups to grow their businesses on both a national and international level. Now it’s your chance!

What’s the prize?

Up for grabs is an impressive prize package including:

  • Trip to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin
  • Entry into the Northern Tech Awards
  • Investor networking events
  • Ministerial roundtable with the UK government
  • Media and pitch training.

In addition to the 10 winners, all 10 runners up will also received support from Tech North.

Who can apply?

  • Early-stage tech startups
  • Must have a product on the market that has gained traction
  • Have raised no more than £2 million in equity-based investment.

A series of regional heats will be held in the coming months, with the grand final taking place in November. Visit the Tech North website to find out more and apply!

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Semi-Finals

Santander Awards Semi-Final Update

This week, Lancaster University’s Santander semi-finalists traveled to Northumbria University to pitch their ideas in the North & Ireland Semi-Final.

Charles Rogers pitched his virtual queuing app first in the pre-revenue category followed by Ze and Adam of Kaizen Academy in the post-revenue category. Both delivered excellent, well prepared five minute pitches which were followed by a grilling from the panel.

 

The results were announced on the day, unfortunately amidst very tough competition neither made it through to the final. However, as winner’s of the People’s Choice Vote, Kaizen Academy have been selected to attend the forthcoming accelerator week and have also be awarded £500 of funding. Both Charles and Kaizen were a credit to Lancaster –  we would like to thank them for all of the hard-work they put into the competition. I think would agree that it was a great day and a lot can be taken away from the experience.

 

Venturefest Manchester 2017

‘Get your idea out there, find investment and accelerate growth’

Venturefest brings together SMEs with investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and academics to connect and do business. It is an ideal opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, learn how to bring innovative new concepts to market and get your idea out there. The event will include a number of panel discussions, keynote speakers and much more.

When? 14th September, 9am-2:30pm

Where? Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

One of the event highlights is the Innovation Showcase Competition, with £40,000 worth of prizes and a chance to pitch to an audience of potential investors! Small and medium-sized enterprises across the North West are invited to submit their entries online within one of the two categories – Startup or Growth by the 30th June.

To find out more about Venturefest and register your attendance visit their website here.

 

Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards – £20,000 prize

Young entrepreneurs (18-25) are encouraged to apply now for up to £20,000 with Baldwins Accountants.

Baldwins KickStart Young Entrepreneur Awards is a national competition for young entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business or have recently done so (trading date must be on or after 31st August 2016).

Entrants should submit their details and ideas here. Entries will then be whittled down to ten semi-finalists before three finalists have the opportunity to present their ideas to a live audience at a gala dinner in November at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham.

The prize includes a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

Entries close August 31st 2017.

For further information visit the Baldwins Accountants website here.

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards – Deadline Approaching!

Deadline: Noon, Monday 24th April

Hopefully many of you have been working hard on your Santander Entrepreneurship Awards Applications. This post is just a quick reminder with regards to what to submit, how to submit and the judging criteria. In addition, please could you let us know via email if you are planning to submit an entry and in which category, so that we have an idea of numbers before the actual deadline. 

To enter, you will need to produce both a two minute video pitch and a completed business model canvas (Download Template).

In your video the judges will be looking for:

  • A clear explanation of your business, its purpose and an understanding of the problem that it solves for customers.
  • An understanding of where your business or idea came from.
  • Evidence of how winning the competition would help you grow your business.

To find out more about the competition including the full process, eligibility requirements and prizes, take a look at the information page here.

A few tools to help you perfect your entry:

  • Simon Sinek – Starting with Why? may help you to better articulate the rationale behind your idea.
  • You can access the Business Model Generation: a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010) online through OneSearch.

Please email your completed canvases and videos to enterpriseteam@lancaster.ac.uk by noon, Monday the 24th of April. In your email please state which category you are entering in – Pre-revenue or Post-revenue. 

IPSE Awards – Calling all Freelancers!

Win up to £5,000 towards your business

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) are hosting a competition to crown the UK’s best independent professional. There are two categories for the award – Aspire for those under 23 years of age and Inspire for those over the age of 24.

Fifteen finalists will be invited to London to pitch themselves and their business to a panel before returning as guests to the IPSE Awards ceremony in June, where the winners will be announced. The winner of the Aspire group with be awarded £3,000 to help their business and the overall winner of the Inspire group, £5,000. There are also additional prizes and business support for runners up.

So whether you are a designer, a writer, a developer, an architect or an inventor… why not put in an application!

Deadline for applications: Friday 17th March 2017

For further information visit the IPSE website.