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Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards

Win - Entrepreneurship Awards 0: Introduction

Are you a student or graduate from one of our partner universities? Recently started a new business that could use some guidance and extra cash? Then don't miss your chance to win one of our Entrepreneurship Awards. As well as offering cash prizes, this year we’ve also teamed up with Talent Cupboard to provide winning businesses with digital support and a marketing makeover.

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards is an annual business pitching competition. We reward student and graduate entrepreneurs by offering cash prizes, mentoring and start-up support. Since the competition’s launch, we've given away more than £220,000 to start-ups and small businesses.

In 2016 we have £48,000 to offer, as well as a range of other great prizes.

2016 competition categories

Category 1:
New technologies and mobile applications

We're looking for innovative new mobile apps or disruptive technologies.

Category 2:
Important day-to-day products and services

We're looking for businesses that benefit society or have a creative background, as well as those that provide customers with important day to day products and services.


Each partner university is eligible to submit 2 entries per category; one application at idea stage and the other should be an established startup. The criteria for both of these sub-categories is outlined below:

Idea stage criteria – the idea outlined in the submission should be supported by a full business plan. The business must not have commenced trading at the time of the submission but should be ready to launch within the year.

Startup stage criteria – the business outlined in the submission must have launched but have been trading for no longer than 5 years from the date of the submission.


How does the Competition Work?

1. Our partner universities run their own internal competitions or shortlisting process to choose their best business ideas and start-ups to enter into the competition. If you’re from one of our partner universities and would like to take part then please contact your university's enterprise department.

2. Each partner university submits an executive summary and business plan for the ideas and businesses to Santander Universities by 5pm on 29th April 2016.

3. For the first round of judging, the Santander Business Banking and Corporate Banking teams will review all of the submissions based on their executive summaries. The business plans will be used as supporting material if needed, but they won't be marked at this stage.

4. A longlist of 20 entries from each category (10 ideas and 10 start-ups) is identified from the submissions and their business plans are sent to our external panel of judges for shortlisting. The panel is made up of academic leaders, successful entrepreneurs and previous competition winners.

5. The panel will score the plans to identify a shortlist of 10 applicants from each category (5 ideas and 5 start-ups). These applicants are invited to Santander UK’s head office in London to pitch their ideas/business to the panel.

6. After hearing all the pitches, the judges choose 2 winners and 2 runners up from each category to receive the 2016 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. The result is announced by a Santander executive at an awards ceremony in central London in June 2016.

The prizes and judges


This year we’ve teamed up with our friends at Talent Cupboard to bring you a great set of prizes. We have £48,000 to give away, as well as mentoring and support from senior Santander UK teams. Talent Cupboard will also be offering a complete digital transformation to the winners to help them kick-start their business.

To see a full breakdown of the prizes available, download the information pack (pdf).

Terms and Conditions

Competition timeline


5 February 2016 – Universities to confirm participation in the awards and nominate a university representative to oversee the applications.

29 April 2016 at 5pm – Universities to submit a one page (2 sides) executive summary and business plan for both categories to Santander Universities.

4 May 2016 – Executive summary and business plans sent to internal Santander judges.

13 May 2016 - Internal Santander judging score deadline.

18 May 2016 - Shortlisted applications circulated to external finalist judges.

3 June 2016 - Finalist judges scores to be returned.

10 June 2016 – Results to be released and top 10 candidates for each category to be invited to present their business plan to the panel of judges.

30 June 2016 - Top 10 candidates in each category to present business plans to panel of judges.

30 June 2016 - Winners to be announced at an awards ceremony in London.

Previous Winners

Want to know more about some of the other businesses that the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards have helped? Take a look a more of our previous competition winners.


Pick Protection

Pick Protection - University of Strathclyde - 2015 Postgraduate winner

An innovative and discrete personal security device for women.


Mediwikis - Newcastle University - 2015 Undergraduate winner

A learning community for medical students providing helpful insights and resources.

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