Spark! Contest 2017

“Why SMR?”

Do you have an idea about the unique role that Small Modular Reactor deployment could play in the future challenges of a global energy supply?

The Spark! Content, a Franco-British energy innovation challenge, is now open for entries. The two round contest is overseen by Energy industries and is sponsored by EDF, Rolls-Royce, Assystem and Atkins. The aim of the competition is to bring talented innovators closer to the energy industry by developing international and professional team working skills, as well as encouraging the brightest minds to collaborate.

Prizes include internships, scholarships and introductions to senior stakeholders amongst many other incentives yet to be announced.

Spark! is open to any current student or recent graduate studying at French or British universities and teams of up to 3 people may apply.

To enter, prepare a 500 word one pager on the subject of “Why SMR?” and submit by 16th December 2016.

Find out more about the Spark! Contest 2017 here, and how to participate in this year’s challenge.

Design Council Spark

‘Turning bright ideas into products’

Design Council Spark is a programme of support and funding designed to help you successfully turn your bright idea into a commercial product.

Up to 15 finalists will be selected for the programme in March, following a selection process which includes a two day design camp for those shortlisted. The programme then runs for 16 weeks and involves the provision of specialist expertise and mentoring. Those accepted onto the programme will receive an initial sum of £15,000 to help develop their product and they will also be given the opportunity to pitch for a further share of £200,000.

Following the programme, finalists will receive lifelong membership to the Design Council Spark alumni network and access to the Design Council’s extensive community.

The deadline for applications is the 10th of January 2017 – for more information and to submit an application visit their website here.

Startup Weekend Connected Home Manchester

‘Lets build the home of tomorrow today’

Sign up for the upcoming Connected Home Startup Weekend in Manchester. Students can use the code ‘STUDENT’ during sign up to get 50% off the price!

Connected home refers to the ways in which advancements in networking technologies are enabling connectivity between consumers and home devices. The three major areas of the connected home market are remote home security, remote home control market and smart home. With this sector rising rapidly this Startup Weekend focuses on building business ideas around this theme.

Startup Weekends all follow the same basic model: anyone can pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from peers. Teams then organically form around the top ideas and then a 54-hour frenzy ensues, consisting of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The ideas are then presented in front of local entrepreneurial leaders at the end of the weekend.

When? 16th-18th of September 2016

Where? The Shed, Chester Street, Manchester, M1 5GD

Like the sound of a weekend living as an entrepreneur and meeting like-minded people? Click here to read more and sign up (don’t forget your discount code…)

Enterprise Fellowships for engineering grads

Gain up to £60,000 and mentoring for your startup or spin out

Recent Engineering graduates (who left University less than 5 years ago) and UK based postdoctoral researchers with a startup or spin out in mind, are encouraged to apply for an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Enterprise Fellowships aim to support the development of early stage startups which bring engineering innovations to the market. Award recipients will receive up to £60,000 funding, mentoring, business training, public relations support and much more for up to 12 months for the continued development of an innovation or technology, and the associated company. The funding may be used for salary support of the Enterprise Fellow and any other costs associated with the development of the product.

To find out more about the fellowship, and to apply, click here.

Please note, applications must be received by 17 October 2016.

The Guardian Competition: Win a Mentor!

Are you an SME seeking some advice and guidance to help you reach your full potential? Here’s your chance to win a Mentor!

The Guardian Small Business Network competition, supported by Barclaycard is giving small businesses in retail, professional services or hospitality industries the chance to win access to personalised support and advice from one of three UK leading entrepreneurs:

  • Sarah Willingham, serial entrepreneur and investor, as well as star of BBC show Dragons’ Den.
  • Lopo Champalimaud, founder and CEO of online hair and beauty appointment bookings service, Treatwell.
  • Andre Balis, founder of restaurant chain Bodean’s.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following question in under 150 words:

What is your biggest ambition for your business, and how could a mentor help you achieve this?

The competition closes on the 22 July. For more information and to enter click here.

Even if you don’t win a mentor through the competition you can apply for one through us. To read more about our Enterprise Mentoring Scheme click here.

Edinburgh Fringe Ambassador Opportunity

Calling all Early-Career Creative Producers/Artists: Exciting Edinburgh Fringe Ambassador Opportunity!

Making Room, a new arts organisation co-directed by alumnus Leo Burtin and Jake Orr are offering a fantastic professional development opportunity for an early-career creative producer/artist during this Summer’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe (5th-29th August).

The offer includes an all inclusive bursary of £250 to shadow & support them for the duration of the festival on their varied portfolio of activity which includes production of performances at Underbelly, active networking and the delivery of free advisory sessions to artists and companies.

This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic student or recent graduate wanting to gain experience in the sector. More details of exactly what is involved, the type of person that they are looking and how to apply can be found here.

Deadline for applications: Midnight, Sunday 19th of June


Business Support Surgery

Business Support Surgery on campus

Find out about the landscape of support for start-ups and existing businesses across the University and the wider region.

Lancaster University Enterprise Team and Winning Pitch invite anyone with a business idea or existing business to come along and find out about the range of support options available through the University and Boost, Lancashire’s Growth Hub.

Pre-booking is not required, just come along and meet Simon and Sue in InfoLab21, by the groundfloor reception  between 1pm and 4pm on Monday 6th June.

If you have any questions in advance, please email

Are you ready to #VOOM?

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Six winners. A share of £1 million prizes. Pitch to Richard Branson. It’s “the ride of a lifetime”.

Over 14 weeks, the #VOOM 2016 competition will include a huge public vote, a 29 hour pitchathon and a series of competitive face to face workshops. There’s also a big final featuring Richard Branson himself.

Entries are now open and there are two categories you can choose to enter into:

Startup – This category is for fresh and exciting businesses that are in the early stages – you’ve either not started trading or just begun. If your business has potential, enter now.

Grow – This category is for businesses with revenue that are looking to grow. If you know that your business works, and works well, pitch it to #VOOM.

The competition also works hand in hand with Crowdfunder; alongside your entry, you’ll need to create and run a crowdfunding campaign to secure public support and raise money for your idea or venture.

Prizes include; £50,000, all expenses paid marketing campaign, social media and PR support from Virgin Media Business and business mentoring for VOOM and Virgin. (Click here to see the full list)

Applications close on Tuesday 10th May.

Click here to find out more on how it works and apply.

Pitch@Palace is back…

Pitch@Palace 5.0 – apply by Tues 2nd Feb 2016


The Pitch@Palace competition is back.

Applications are sought from entrepreneurs at any stage in the following sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Big Data
  • Consumer Healthcare
  • Diagnostics
  • Food Sciences
  • Medical Devices
  • Plant Sciences
  • Research Technologies
  • Therapeutics

The purpose of the Pitch@Palace competition is to support entrepreneurs by amplifying and accelerating their business ideas or startups, connecting them with potential suppliers, mentors and partners.

This year, the competition is sticking to the same format; a Pitch@Palace tour visits Manchester (22nd Jan 16), London (18th Jan 16) and Glasgow (29th Jan 16) where entrepreneurs and potential participants can connect with representatives from the competition, as well as local stakeholders with mentoring advice.

42 successful applicants will then be invited to the Pitch@Palace bootcamp on Mon 22nd Feb 2016 at the University of Cambridge. Here, there will be an opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges and receive support and mentoring from leading industry experts and competition alumni.

From the bootcamp, 12 to 15 entrepreneurs will be selected to pitch at St James’ Palace on Monday 7th March 2016.

Please note: you must be available on all the dates to be part of the competition.

Applications to the Pitch @ Palace bootcamp close on Tuesday 2nd Feb 2016. If your business or early stage idea fits into any of the categories listed above, don’t miss your opportunity to develop your startup and entrepreneurial capabilities.

For further information on the competition and to apply, visit the Pitch@Palace web pages.

The “Big Ideas” deadline is looming

Santander’s new competition closes on Friday 15th January – don’t miss your chance to win with your ‘big idea’


Have you applied for Santander’s Big Ideas challenge? If you’re waiting for inspiration to hit, haven’t clicked submit, or want to know more about the competition, time is running out.

To win your share of £20,000, as well as invaluable business and employability support, you need to enter your innovative ideas into one of three categories by Friday 15th January 2016.

Here’s a reminder of the competition and how to enter.


If you have any queries regarding Santander’s Big Ideas, please email  or contact the Enterprise Team for support with your application.