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Tuesday 24 July 2012

The UK & Europe Startup Competition Guide - 1st Edition

Note: We have an updated version of this database. The links and competitions listed here may be out-of-date.
In the last few days I have been asked several times how, in one week, we featured in both the Startups100 and the Pitch80 competitions as one of the UK’s most exciting, disruptive, and innovative startups. Here are my 3 (Flat-Club) rules for success:
  1. Always look for opportunities
  2. Apply on time
  3. Make a brilliant pitch!
I have already discussed the third point in an earlier post about how we won the 2012TechCrunch One-Sentence Pitching challenge, so this time I’ll focus on the first two points.
Finding opportunities and applying. Together with Chris Ramshaw from Flat-Club, we have built the most extensive and detailed database of competitions, grants, and prizes for UK and EU based startups. There are business plan competitions, awards, government grants, pitching opportunities and all the information you need to win!
Yes, we included the deadlines, requirements, and links as well – you just need to apply. This list contains 85 competitions, and links databases of many more. The prizes range from some good publicity and a couple of thousand pounds or some mentoring all the way to £1,000,000! Or for a very special prize, the opportunity to ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange. Each competition has its own merits, so pick what you think your business needs.
They range from Pitch battles to Business Plan Competitions and we've even included a section for social enterprise. There is also the link to the website for UK Government Grants which offers another source of funding. Get applying and good luck!

UK Competitions:

Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: National University Entrepreneur Competition
  • Criteria: strong Students and Grads with a totally new idea.
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Prize: Investment Opportunities
  • Competition Name: Innotech Summit
  • Target: Seeking Seed/Venture Investment
  • Deadline: Beginning of April
  • Prize: £5K Mentoring and Support
  • Application: Enter a Business Plan then finalists Pitch.
  • Competition Name: Enterprising U
  • Criteria: Any Student or Grad from the last 5 years
  • Deadline: Mid June
  • Prize: 1st Prize is £25K, 2nd - £10K, 3rd - £5K

Social Enterprise

  • Competition Name: Richmond's Den
  • Criteria: Company earning less than £30K grants/annum.
  • Application: Describe your idea in 500 words, then finalists pitch
  • Prize: £10K Package
  • Deadline: Late June

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: Orange Different Business
  • Application: Finalists Pitch to a panel of judges
  • Prize: Package of £200K
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Competition Name: The Pitch UK
  • Contest: 3 Minute Pitch
  • Prize: Package worth £50K
  • Deadline: May
  • Competition Name: Thinking Digital
  • Contest: 3 Minute Pitch to a panel of Startup Stars.
  • Deadline: Mid-Late May
  • Competition Name: DublinWeb Summit
  • Criteria: No more than 3 years old, no more than €5M revenue in the previous year, no more than €5M in funding.
  • Prize: Largest fund to date TBA
  • Deadline: End of July
  • Competition Name: Derry'sCulture Tech Festival
  • Criteria: Digital Business in Derry
  • Country: Ireland
  • Prize: £10K 2nd/3rd £5K
  • Deadline: Held at the end of August
  • Competition Name: Discovering Startups
  • Criteria: Technology Startup
  • Contest: Pitch
  • Prize: Package worth £2K
  • Deadline: Mid-November

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: UCL Bright Ideas Awards
  • Criteria: UCL Students and Alumni
  • Prize: Share of £50K Funding
  • Deadline: Announced end of March therefore check early in the year
  • Competition Name: Market E-Test
  • Criteria: New Business Idea
  • Prize: Up to £1000 Market Research
  • Deadline: Mid-April
  • Competition Name: House to Home
  • Application: Download and fill in an entry form
  • Criteria: You must have a country based business
  • Prize: £6K of advice
  • Deadline: End of April
  • Competition Name: British Innovation Gateway
  • Application: Enter your idea online
  • Criteria: UK Based small businesses and startups with technology based prototypes/proof of concepts.
  • Prize: $200K Package inc. $100K Cash
  • Deadline: Beginning of May
  • Competition Name: Million Pound Startup
  • Criteria: Less than 10 years old, less than £1M Turnover, willing to relocate to London
  • Prize: £1M in equity investment
  • Deadline: 1st May 2013
  • Competition Name: Conservative Party Startup Hub
  • Criteria: Less than 2 years old, UK resident, Over 16 years old
  • Prize: TBC/Showcasing your business at the party conference
  • Deadline: May
  • Competition Name: Future 50
  • Application: 400-500 words on why your firm has outstanding potential
  • Criteria: Less than 4 years old, steady turnover and employment growth, innovative and disruptive
  • Prize: Media Coverage and Prestige
  • DeadLine: Published around the end of September – Get entries in over the summer
  • Competition Name: Startup Awards 2012
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old
  • Application: Online form – 4 questions, answer all 4 for each of the 13 categories you are entering
  • Deadline: 14th September 2012
  • Competition Name: Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Award
  • Criteria: Aged 16-30 – Open to international entrants
  • Prize: £1000 – Awarded Monthly
  • Deadline: Last day of each month
  • Competition Name: PEA Awards
  • Criteria: Demonstrating Sustainability
  • Application: 500 words
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: 24th September 2013
  • Competition Name: Competition Wayra UK
  • Criteria: Businesses in Cloud Services, Financial, Mobile, Digital/Video, E-Health, Social Networks, Internet and Mobile Applications and E-Learning. Open to International Entrants
  • Prize: €50K-€70K + Support for 10% Equity
  • Competition Name: Young Foundation Accelerator
  • Criteria: Businesses that have a positive social impact, are ambitious about growth and are able to demonstrate successful delivery in at least one location.
  • Application: Online application form at
  • Prize: Training and Support Package/
  • Deadline: 16th September 2012
  • Competition Name: Young Entrepreneurs' Challenge
  • Criteria: Businesses that have been trading for under two years and with a maximum of 20 employees or prospective start-ups with a credible idea and business plan that is close to maturity.
  • Application: A detailed business plan (no more than 10 pages).
  • Prize: £10,000 investment from the judges; £10,000 from Investec Specialist Bank; £5,000 of consultancy from creative agency Albion London; A year's free financial and tax advice from Berg Krapow Lewis; Profiling in the business pages of the JC and via its digital channels.
  • Deadline: 9 November 2012

Non-Entry Top 100's

  • Competition Name: Guardian - Top 20 Startups to Watch

Non-Government Grants

  • Competition Name: BT Startup Grant Competition
  • Application: Complete an online form with details of your business
  • Grant: Depends on your business

Government Grants

  • Name: R&D Tax Relief
  • Criteria: Fewer than 500 employees, less than €100M annual turnover, balance sheet no exceeding €43M
  • Application: Visit the website for more
  • Grant: For SME's 200% of R&D Tax Relief (Corporation Tax)
For a full list of all the Government Grants available visit:


Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: BBVA Open Talent
  • Criteria: Tech, Innovation, Banking and Financial Services
  • Country: Spain
  • Prize: €100K for 10% Equity
  • Deadline: End of April
  • Competition Name: Arctic15
  • Criteria:Baltic and Nordic Startups
  • Countries: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
  • Prize: €15640
  • Deadline: 31st August 2012

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: European Student Startups
  • Criteria: Only Students can enter
  • Prize: As much investment as you can get
  • Deadline: Late January
  • Competition Name: Le Web
  • Criteria: Received less than €1.5M in Investment, address consumer or business users, Launch at Le Web
  • Cities: London/Paris
  • Deadline: Mid-May – London/ Beginning December – Paris
  • Competition Name: Tech All Stars
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old, less than $1M Capital
  • Prize: Exposure
  • Deadline: Mid-May
  • Competition Name: InnoPitch
  • Criteria: Under 36, EU Resident, Company no more than 18 Months old
  • Prize: Promotional Opportunities and Award
  • Deadline: End of May
  • Competition Name: MLOVE Confestival
  • Criteria: Raised less than $2M since previous January
  • Application: Online Questions followed by Presentation
  • Country: Germany
  • Deadline: Mid-June
  • Competition Name: SWITCH
  • Hosted by: Startup Pirates
  • City: Lisbon
  • Deadline: Being held 15th and 16th June
  • Competition Name: Tech Garage
  • Application: Elevator Pitch
  • Country: Italy
  • Deadline: Beginning of July
  • Competition Name: CleanTech Open Spain
  • Criteria: Less than $1M Private Investment, Less than 5 years old
  • Country: Spain
  • Prize: Package worth $100K
  • Deadline: Beginning of July
  • Competition Name: Webit
  • Criteria: EMEA Startup
  • Application: Apply Online
  • Country: Turkey
  • Prize: Worldwide Media Coverage
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: PitchSlam
  • Application: Apply Online
  • City: Berlin
  • Prize: Tickets to the Tech Open Air Festival
  • Deadline: Being held on August 1st
  • Competition Name: European Pirate Summit
  • Criteria: Minimum Prototype
  • Prize: Free Web Hosting and More
  • Deadline: August 15th
  • Competition Name: MIPCube Lab
  • Country: France
  • Prize: Networking and Pitching to potential investors
  • Competition Name: European Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Must win regional version – Italian, Balkan, Nordic or Turkish.
  • Prize: €90K
  • Deadline: Varies by Region – See Below
  • Competition Name: Balkan Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Balkan Registered Company
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held at the end of March so apply at least a month before
  • Competition Name: Nordic Venture Forum
  • Criteria: ICT, Life-Sciences, or Clean-Tech and Nordic or Baltic Headquarters - Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: 5th October
  • Competition Name: Turkish Venture Forum
  • Criteria: High-Tech Turkish Entrepreneurs
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held 18th October so apply at least a month before
  • Competition Name: Italian Venture Forum
  • Criteria: Italian Registered Company
  • Prize: Entry to European Venture Forum
  • Deadline: Held 13th November so apply at least a month before

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: Lovie Awards
  • Criteria: Web Based, Created by a European Company
  • Application: Online Form
  • Prize: Media Coverage and Prestige
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: Startup 2.0
  • Criteria: Video Gaming, Not older than 2008 and European
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: End of May
  • Competition Name: ICT Spring Europe
  • Criteria: Less than 3 years old
  • Application: Online Form
  • Prize: ICT Award – European Startup of the Year
  • Deadline: Not Given – Held in Mid-June
  • Competition Name: TheEuropas
  • Criteria: Formed in the Last 2 years, not taken Series B funding.
  • Awards: 13
  • Deadline: 7th October
For further EU startup events please visit:


Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: Q Prize
  • Criteria: Less than $2M Funding
  • Regions: Held in 8 worldwide – Brazil, China, India, Israel, North America, South Korea, Eastern and Western Europe.
  • Prize: Up to $250K
  • Deadline: 17th August 2012
    Competition Name: Startup Open Criteria: Started trading from 22nd November 2011 - 21st November 2012 Prize: Conference Tickets, Mentoring Deadline: September 15th 2012

Social Enterprise

  • Competition Name: Global Social Venture Competition
  • Application: Enter a Business Plan
  • Prize: 1st £25K 2nd £10K 3rd £5K
  • Deadline: Join Mailing list for Notifications

Pitching Competitions

  • Competition Name: InnoTribe 100K Startup Challenge
  • Criteria: Financial Tech, Less than 3 years old and no more than $1M Revenue and Investment combined in the last year
  • Cities: New York, Belfast, Singapore
  • Prize: $50K Cash
  • Deadline: NY – Mid Jan, Singapore – End of March, Belfast – Mid May
  • Competition Name: Microsoft BizSpark Summit
  • Criteria: Cloud Based
  • Prize: $20K Seed Funding, $60K Cloud Benefits from Azure, Mentoring
  • Deadline: Mid-July
  • Competition Name: Amazon Web Services Startup Challenge
  • Criteria: Implemented AWS in your business – Hold an account
  • Application: Online followed by Pitch
  • Prize:$50K Cash + $50K Vouchers for AWS Links to compilations of US based competitions that already exist? Did we miss anything? Add your comments below.
  • Deadline: Not open yet but you can register for updates.

Startup Awards

  • Competition Name: TheCrunchies Awards
  • Application: Nomination
  • Deadline: End of January (For voting)
  • Competition Name: James Dyson Design Award
  • Criteria: Product Design or Engineering Students within the last 4 years
  • Countries: All
  • Prize: £10K for you and £10K for your University
  • Deadline: Early August

United States:

  • Competition Name: MIT100K - Consists of 4 contests
  • Competition Name: Business Plan Competition
  • Prize: $100K
  • Deadline: Mid-March
  • Competition Name: YouPitch
  • Prize: $5K
  • Deadline: Late April
  • Competition Name: Elevator Pitch
  • Criteria: Received less than $15K funding
  • Prize: Cash Prizes
  • Deadline: Mid-October
  • Competition Name: Accelerate
  • Criteria: MIT Student, received no more than $100K
  • Prize: $100K
  • Deadline: Early December

Business Plan Competitions

  • Competition Name: VentureLabs Investment Competition
  • Criteria: Entrance by Invitation Only or by winning one of several smaller local competitions
  • Prize: $135K Package
  • Deadline: End of March
  • Competition Name: NY Startup
  • Prize: From 1st - $15K up to 5th – $1.5K

2. Pitching Competitions:

  • Competition Name: TNW Startup Battle/Startup Rally
  • Criteria: Part of an accelerator/ Left one no later than a year before
  • Application: YouNoodle Questionnaire, Followed by Video Pitch, and then Comprehensive Interview
  • Countries: EU, Latin America, US
  • Prize: Prestige
  • Deadline: Europe – Beginning of March /Latin America – Beginning of July US – TBA
  • Competition Name: Funding Post
  • Prize: As much Investment as you can get
  • Deadline: Regular Event
  • Competition Name:Startup World
  • Criteria: Launched in the last 2 years, no more than $500K External Funding
  • Application: 10 Online Questions
  • Prize: Package worth $332K
  • Deadline: Unspecified
  • Competition Name: Launch: Silicon Valley
  • Criteria: Not been launched for more than a few months
  • Prize: $25K Investment and $75K of Benefits and Services
  • Deadline: Mid-May
  • Competition Name: Startup2012
  • Prize: $75K
  • Deadline: Early May

3. Startup Awards

  • Competition: NYSE Big Startup Competition
  • Criteria: Member of Startup America or EO
  • Prize: To ring the bell at NYSE opening
  • Deadine: Mid-April
For a list of competitions in the US please visit either:
or for a list of predominately University based competitions:
Did we miss anything? Please add more competitions in the comments and we’ll update the list.
Nitzan Yudan
Co-founder & CEO