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!

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.


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 by noon, Monday the 24th of April. In your email please state which category you are entering in – Pre-revenue or Post-revenue. 

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards: Business Model Canvas Workshop

Tips for creating the most effective Business Model Canvas

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are your chance to win up to £25,000 funding plus mentoring and a whole range of other startup support for your business or idea!

Round one submissions for the competition this year involves the completion of a Business Model Canvas. We will be hosting a workshop to help you explore the canvas and build the best possible submission!

The workshop will take place on Monday the 20th of February, 12:30-2pm in Management School Lecture 12. You can book you space now through Target Connect.

In the meantime, if your are unfamiliar with the Business Model Canvas, a copy of the Business Model Canvas can be downloaded from the Strategyzer website. The first 80 pages of the Business Model Generation book can also be downloaded here.

Santander Entrepreneurship Awards 2017

Opportunity to win up to £25,000 funding, mentoring and start-up support!

The UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competition is back! This is your chance to win up to £25,000 funding, mentoring and start-up support.

Information Session: 6th of February, 12:30-1:30pm, George Fox LT5 (please note, change of venue from Charles Carter A17)

The Process

Stage one: You and your idea

This stage will involve the production of a two minute video pitch along with a completed business model canvas. These will be judged internally and two entries will then be submitted to Santander – one in each of the two competition categories: pre-revenue and post-revenue.

Stage two: Understanding your Business

Santander will shortlist up to 30 businesses to take part in regional heats, delivering a 5 minute pitch followed by Q&A.

Stage three: Growing your Business

Up to 12 businesses will reach stage 3. They will all receive £1,000 seed funding and be invited to attend an accelerator week to help prepare for the final event in London. The final will take place in October and involve the delivery of a 10 minute presentation followed by Q&A.

The Prize

Attractive prize packages for a pre-revenue and post-revenue winner and runner-up . Prize packages include between £10,000-£25,000 of equity-free seed funding, a fully funded intern, mentoring from one of the judges at the national final and additional support provided by Talent Cupboard such as free listings on their marketplace or e-commerce website hosting for several months.

What Next?

  • You can enter as a team or individual. Alumni must have graduated within the past 5 years.
  • Attend our Information Session on Monday the 6th of February, 12:30-1:30pm in George Fox LT 5. This session will include everything you need to know to prepare an entry for the competition – help you check your eligibility, understand the full process, find our what the judges will be looking for and ask any questions you may have. You can book on to the session through Target Connect.
  • Email the Enterprise Team if you have any further questions.

What we learnt from the National Apprentice Challenge 2016

nac2016 team2

Learning to work as a team, keep calm and share the load

In March 2016, we, along with the Careers team, supported four students to represent Lancaster at the National Apprentice Challenge. The team, Dmitrii Ishutin, Anais, Adley Chan and Christopher Scanlon had already proved their aptitude for competitions after taking home third place during FLUX 2016 and we were more than happy to support them to take on another challenge together. Here’s their take on the experience.

On 12th-13th March 2016 Lancaster University students, supported by Careers and the Enterprise Team, and sponsored by Santander Universities, took part in the National Apprentice Challenge 2016 held in Birmingham at Aston University. This year, teams from more than 20 UK universities participated in the competition.

The challenge lasted for two days and consisted of two tasks that evaluated our different skills and competencies. On the first day we used special simulation software to run our own airline company. The conditions were as close to real life as possible, meaning that all business aspects should have been taken in mind – price strategy, marketing research, understanding of customer behaviour, R&D, HR and many others. The simulation was divided in 7 business cycles of 30 minutes each, so all the decisions we made were limited by this time constraint.

The second day of the challenge started with a new task – to propose an idea of a new social network and deliver a 3-minute pitch followed by 5-minute Q&A session to the panel of judges. We had only 4 hours to come up with an idea, to conduct research and to prepare our pitches. Our team focused on the idea of social network for Small- and Medium-size businesses (SMEs). As a team, we tried to answer such questions as why 9 out of 10 businesses or start-ups close down within 4 years, how can we tackle these issues and help them not only survive for a longer time but also be profitable and competitive. Eventually, we proposed to develop a platform where SMEs representatives could negotiate price, make bulk orders, establish partnership and solve issues with like-minded businesses around the globe.

Overall, NAC 2016 was an interesting experience, and thanks to LU Enterprise team and Careers, we were able to take 7th place out of 21. Although we did not win, we learned to work better in a team, to keep calm under pressure and effectively divide labour. It was a valuable experience definitely worth doing!

Big Ideas winners from Lancaster University!

Sebastien, Patrizia and Kyaw win £5000 with Santander Universities

copyright: Kirsten Holst

copyright: Kirsten Holst

From L-R: Sigga Sigurdardottir (Head of Customer and Innovation, Santander UK), Patrizia Carbone, Sebastien Combret and Kyaw Tun Sein

Three Lancaster University students have scooped first prize at the final of the Santander Big Ideas competition. Patrizia, Sebastien and Kyaw are all studying on the MSc International Innovation and flew back from China especially for the final event, held in London yesterday (21st March 2016).

The competition was set up to identify transformational ideas to overcome some of the key technological issues and bring digital innovation to the financial industry; Lancaster’s Project Gryphos have received £5000 to develop their idea for fingerprint, voice, heartbeat and SMS recognition for password authentication. Teams from the University of Surrey and Aston University also received £5000 after winning in the two other categories.

Matt Hutnell, Divisional Retail Director at Santander Universities said: “It’s vital that we encourage and reward entrepreneurial students to dare to challenge and innovate. Through Big Ideas, we asked students to create unique, forward thinking solutions with the potential to transform the sector.


The Big Ideas Executive Judging Panel included:

  • Juan Olaizola ‐ Santander UK’s Chief Operating Officer, Santander UK
  • Sigga Sigurdardottir ‐ Head of Customer and Innovation, Santander UK
  • Edward Metzger ‐ Head of Innovation T&O, Santander UK (Panel host)
  • Sergio Varela – Head of Solution and Innovation at ISBAN UK
  • Michelle Kent – Head of Digital, Santander UK
  • Aurore Hochard – Head of Entrepreneurship Programmes, Cass Business School

As part of their prize package, they have won £5000 and the opportunity to develop their idea with Santander’s Innovation team as well as great experience in pitching their ideas.

Congratulations Sebastien, Kyaw and Patrizia!

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.

Big Ideas by Santander Universities

Win big cash prizes with Santander’s newest competition


Santander Universities have £20,000 to share with innovators and enterprising individuals with a “big idea” which addresses the key technological issues facing the financial industry today.

This brand new competition is split into three challenges:

Entries will close on Friday 15th January 2016. In assessing your big idea,  the Santander judging panel will consider your proposed solution in terms of its creativity, feasibility, viability and credibility.

If you’re a UK or International student or recent graduate (last five years) you may apply with your big idea. Applicants are encouraged to work in teams as successful candidates will be asked to create a prototype in the second phase of the competition.

To find out more about the prizes, the judging criteria and how you can get involved, visit the Santander’s Universities Enterprise Portal here.

Startup Stories 19th November – Programme announced


‘Start up Stories’ –  Entertainment, wisdom and valuable career insights for all and a drink in the bar with Lancaster University Alumni – Thursday 19th November 2015

Book now on Target Connect to secure your place.

 ‘Almost a quarter of UK students are starting a business whilst at university, generating a turnover of around £44M a year.’ (Santander 2014)

Are you still exploring career options and sectors, or you have ever wondered what it takes to be or work with an entrepreneur?

Curious..? Then join us for this storytelling event with our very own alumni who will share the highs, lows and lessons learned on their own entrepreneurial journeys; transitions from blue chip careers to starting their own businesses, making a life and a living from their research, or simply fulfilling their purpose by doing something to make positive change for people.

You’ll hear it from the heart from people who are doing what they love and loving what they do:

Winner of the Women in Business Award 2015

BA Hons English Literature

Pendle College

Founder of an Oxfordshire based Award Winning Digital Design Agency

BA Hons Art, Design and Marketing

Fylde College

An Aids Charity founder whose strategies once saw him rise £12M in 12 weeks

MA Marketing

Fylde College

Creator of a widely-cited, award-winning framework for decision making,

who earned notoriety as a student as one of the ‘Lancaster 25’ in the 1975 occupation and legal case

BA Hons Philosophy 1975

County College

As a potential employee, manager or entrepreneur, you really can’t fail to learn something valuable and you might meet a future employer, a mentor or simply expand your networks.

Stories will be told to the magic of live illustration and we’ll all be heading to the pub afterwards for a social. You may meet a potential employer a mentor, or simply increase your network on LinkedIn.

Book now on Target Connect to secure your place.  Search for ‘Startup Stories (MIH)’

Still need convincing? Watch this film here made by a first year sudent.

This event is organised by The Enterprise Team thanks to funding from the Alumni  and Friends of the University.