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Friday, 12 April 2013

The UK & Europe Startup Competition Guide - 2nd Edition

With a bit of spring cleaning, we've freshened up our start-up competitions database for 2013, with returning players alongside some new and exciting opportunities. Take a look at our 2012 archive for more info on the older contests. Also, the winner of TechCrunch’s One Sentence Pitch Challenge, JC Young Entrepreneur's Challenge, and a featured start-up at Pitch80 and Startups100, our CEO Nitzan Yudan has some excellent tips to get you started on competitive pitching! If you want to have a chat with us about how to best prepare for any of these competitions, please drop by during our office hours. Best of luck!

Some of the highlights of this year are: PopUp Britain, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to sell products on the high street, the James Dyson Design Award for engineering students who have designed a problem solving widget, the NYSE Corporate Connection which matches start-ups with established companies, and the Million Pound StartUp competition, where one worthy start-up will win £1,000,000 of equity investment.

The rest of the collected grants, competitions, pitching opportunities, and awards are collected here!


1. Business Plan Competitions

Competition Name: Innotech Summit
Target: Seeking Seed/Venture Investment
Deadline: Beginning of April
Prize: Investment opportunities
Application: Enter a Business Plan then finalists Pitch.

Competition Name: RBS Enterprising U
Criteria: Any Student or Grad from the last 5 years
Deadline: 19th July
Prize: 1st Prize is £25K, 2nd - £10K, 3rd - £5K

2. Social Enterprise

Competition Name: Richmond Den
Criteria: Richmond’s residents that come up with idea benefiting the borough
Application: Describe your idea in 500 words, then finalists pitch
Prize: £10K Package
Deadline: 7th May

Competition Name: Santander Enterprise and SocialDevelopment Awards
Criteria: Local businesses that can improve community
Prize: Up to £50K
Deadline: TBC (opens in June)

Competition Name: UM13 Social Enterprise Competition
Criteria: Students/recent graduates of Manchester University
Prize: 'Try it' awards of up to £500, 'Do it' awards of up to £5K
Deadline: 24th May

3. Pitching Competitions

Competition Name: DublinWeb Summit
Criteria: More info coming soon (check website)
Deadline: 30th May

Competition Name: Social Innovation Camp NI
Criteria: Northern Ireland's software developers with ideas that use tech to solve social problems
Prize: Help with developing a product, exposure to potential investors
Application: Pitch ideas via website, finalists implement them in under 48 hours 
Deadline: 10th May

Competition Name: Pitch Up with Chillingo 
Criteria: Start-ups developing games or gaming applications
Prize: Opportunity to pitch the idea to premium game publisher Chillingo
Deadline: 27th May

Competition Name: PopUp Britain 
Criteria: Retail entrepreneurs 
Prize: Opportunity to showcase products in high-street retail spaces 
Deadline: Ongoing

Startup Awards
Competition Name: Market E-Test
Criteria: New Business Idea
Prize: Up to £1000 Market Research
Deadline: 12th May

Competition Name: House to Home
Application: Download and fill in an entry form
Criteria: Business ideas related to interior design
Prize: Various forms of advice (bootcamp, advice session, books)
Deadline: 30th April

Competition Name: Cisco British Innovation Gateway
Application: Enter your idea online
Criteria: UK registered organisations, companies and UK residents aged 18 years or older
Prize: Over $250K in prizes
Deadline: 21st June

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: 25th April

Competition Name: Startup Awards 2013
Criteria: Less than 3 years old
Application:  Register to indicate interest for 2013 and receive information 
Deadline:  Entries not open yet

Competition Name: Shell LiveWire Grand Ideas Award
Criteria: Aged 16-30, based in the UK and have been running a business for less than 12 months
Prize: £1000x4 – Awarded Monthly
Deadline: Last day of each month

Competition Name: Shell LiveWire Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Criteria: Same as the competition above
Application: Cumulative result of the above competition
Prize: £10K

Competition Name: PEA Awards
Criteria: Demonstrating Sustainability
Application: 500 words
Prize: Prestige
Deadline: 24th September 

Competition Name: Young Foundation Accelerator
Criteria: Social entrepreneurs with successful track-record 
Prize: £50K Training and Support Package
Deadline:  Early autumn

Competition Name: LeWeb London’13 Start-up Competition
Criteria: Eligible start-ups should have less than €1.5M (US$2M) of investment and have a major announcement at LeWeb 
Application: Online application, selected start-ups participate in competition, winners pitch on Plenary Stage
Prize: Opportunity to present products at LeWeb Start-up Lounge
Deadline: 15th April

Competition Name: Catalyst Centre
Criteria: Individuals or early stage science and/or technology based companies.
Application: Online application, email for more information.
Prize: 6 months free office space, support from a business coach, up to £1,000 for business expenses.
Deadline: 31st May

Competition Name: Nectar Small Business of the Year

Criteria: Small businesses that have been trading for over 12 months, employ under 250 people, and have a turn-over of less than £9 million a year.
Application: Downloadable entry form with online application, or by post.
Prize: £2,000 cash, 50,000 Nectar points, and an invitation to the Nectar Business Roundtable with Karren Brady!
Deadline: 19th May

5. Non-Entry Top 100's

Competition Name: Telegraph Startup 100

Competition Name: Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies 

Competition Name: Wired’s Hottest European Start-ups

6.  Government Grants

 R&DTax 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:


1. Business Plan Competitions

Competition Name: BBVA Open Talent
Application: Submit video pitch online
Criteria: Technology based innovative projects 
Country: Spain
Prize: Up to € 100K + 1 week training for finalists
Deadline: 8th May

Competition Name: European Business Plan of the Year
Application: Submit executive summary (max 3 pages) and a full business plan (max 30 pages) in PDF format
Criteria: Student created, managed, and owned ventures
Prize: TBC
Deadline: 10th May

2. Pitching Competitions

Competition Name: Le Web Paris’13
Criteria: Tech start-ups
Prize: Opportunity to showcase products
Deadline: TBC

Competition Name: Tech All Stars
Criteria: Tech start-ups 
Prize: Tickets to LeWeb Conference, workshops, opportunity to pitch for top entrepreneurs
Deadline: 15th May

Competition Name: SWITCH
Hosted by: Startup Pirates
City: Lisbon
Deadline:  TBC (register to indicate interest and receive info)

Competition Name: Webit StartUp Challenge
Criteria: EMEA Startup, established less than 4 years ago
Application: Apply Online
Prize: Free stand for Trade Expo area, opprtunity to pitch idea to VCs, cash prizes
Deadline: 30th April

Competition Name: Midem Lab 2014
Criteria: Entertainment startups 
Application: Sign up online to be notified when more details appear
Prize: Investment opportunities
Deadline: TBC (event takes place in January 2014)

Competition Name:  Europe Venture Summit 
Criteria:  European Startups (more details online)
Prize: €25K Grand Prize, opportunities to present in front of VC panel
Deadline: 31st May

Competition Name: Balkan Venture Forum
Criteria: Must be registered in Southeastern Europe, provide innovative products/services and be privately owned 
Prize: Mentoring, networking entry to European Venture Forum 
Deadline: 22nd April

3. Startup Awards
Competition Name: Lovie Awards
Criteria: Web Based, Created by a European Company
Application: Online Form
Prize: Media Coverage and Prestige
Deadline: 19th April

Competition Name: ICT Spring Europe
Criteria: Less than 5-year-old innovative company
Application: Online Form
Prize: ICT Award – European Startup of the Year
Deadline: Not Given – Held in Mid-June

Competition Name: The Europas
Criteria: Early stage EMEA start-ups
Awards: 18
Deadline: TBC

For further EU startup events please visit:


1. Business Plan Competitions

Competition Name: Startup Open
Criteria: Open to start-ups that started from November 18th 2012 to November 24th 2013
Prize: Conference Tickets, Mentoring
Deadline: September 15th 

2. Social Enterprise

Competition Name: Global Social Venture Competition
Application: Enter a Business Plan
Prize: $50K in prizes
Deadline: Join Mailing list for Notifications

Competition Name: Hult Prize
Application: Submit idea online
Criteria: Students, alumni and staff of Hult Business School, the topic of this year is the Global Food Crisis
Prize: $1M in start-up capital
Deadline: 19th April

3. Pitching Competitions

Competition Name: Microsoft BizSpark India Startup Challenge 
Criteria: Start-ups created by residents of India
Prize: $70K cash and $2M worth non-cash prizes
Deadline: 5th May

Competition Name: Amazon Web Services Startup Challenge
Criteria: Implemented AWS in your business – Hold an account
Application: Online followed by Pitch
Deadline: Not open yet but you can register for updates

Competition Name: Seedstarsworld Worldwide Startup Competition 2013
Criteria: Only invited start-ups in emerging countries, established less than 2 years ago Application: Participate in regional pitch to be able to enter global contest
Prizes: Various
Deadline: Various

Competition Name: Socialize13 Startup Competition
Application:  Email application, 3 finalists pitch to judges panel
Criteria: Start-ups developing business with social-added values
Country: Israel
Prize: Finalists present their demo products to investors
Deadline: 1st May

Competition Name: The Startup Conference
Application: Apply online, then elevator pitch
Criteria: Less than 3 years old, received less than $500K funding
Prize: Investment opportunities 
Deadline: Not specified

4. Startup Awards

Competition Name: TheCrunchies Awards
Application: Nomination
Deadline: Takes place in the end of the year, more info to appear soon

Competition Name: Telstra Business Awards
Criteria: Entry is by Nomination
Country: Australia
Prize: $500K in prizes
Deadline: TBC

Competition Name: James Dyson Design Award
Criteria: Product design or engineering students, design that solves a problem
Countries: All
Prize: £30K for you and £10K for your University
Deadline: 1st August

United States:

Competition Name: MIT100K – Consists of 4 contests
Deadline: Register to receive further info

1. Business Plan Competitions

Competition Name: VentureLabs Investment Competition
Criteria: Entrance by Invitation Only or by winning one of several smaller local competitions
Prize: $78K in cash, $24K hosting and cloud services, $25K launch package
Deadline: 15th April

2. Pitching Competitions:

Competition Name: Funding Post
Prize: As much Investment as you can get
Deadline: Check site regularly for possibilities to meet VCs and Angel Investors

Competition Name: Startup World
Criteria: Launched in the last 2 years, no more than $900K External Funding
Application: 10 Online Questions, winners pitch in front of judges panel
Prize: Package worth $332K
Deadline: Unspecified

Competition Name: MDCMillion Dollar Challenge
Application: Email Pitch
Criteria: Technology driven business idea that will affect communications, marketing and brand building
Prize: Partnership with MDC Partners to build a business
Deadline: Not Given

3. Other opportunities

Competition: NYSE Corporate Connection 
Application: Matches start-ups with established companies
Prize: Whatever you agree on with the company
Deadine: Ongoing

For a list of competitions in the US please visit either:

or for a list of predominately University based competitions:

Big win for Flat-Club at the JC!

With the weather starting to brighten up here in London, there is much to celebrate at Flat-Club. Even more so than the advent of short-sleeved shirts, however, we’re celebrating our win at the very first JC Young Entrepreneur's Challenge!

As you may know, Flat-Club has won a few competitions in its time, and we’ve been cataloging many more, even those that we are unable to enter ourselves. It was by lucky chance that we were able to enter the JC competition, as co-founder Nitzan Yudan happened to be shown the issue announcing the competition while he was having dinner with friends. Don’t wait for your lucky break though, take a look at the new 2013 edition of the largest database of UK and EU startup competitions that we’ve researched for you!

The JC Award included £10,000 from the panel of judges, £10,000 from the UK’s Investec Specialist Bank, £5,000 of creative consultancy from Albion London, and free advice from North London accountancy firm Berg Kaprow Lewis! Nitzan was so happy over the experience, “Being an entrepreneur is a journey full of ups and downs. Most of the time you hear the words ‘no’, and ‘it won’t work’ so to have the endorsement of such an impressive panel is a huge boost.” What a wonderful way for Flat-Club to ring in Spring.

If you’re looking to get your start-up noticed and test out your pitching skills, consider applying for a few of the contests listed in the 2013 edition of our 85+ strong database of start-up competitions, focused primarily within the UK and Europe. Competitions such as these are a great opportunity to review your weaknesses and make the most of your strengths as a company. If you’re looking to enter one of these yourself, read through some of the advice from Flat-Club co-founder Nitzan after his winning TechCrunch’s One-Sentence-Pitch Challenge, and from his experiences as a finalist at Pioneers Festival, Startups100, and PitchUK.

Entering these start-up competitions is incredibly beneficial, with such perks as an increase of the company’s reputation among investors and customers, coverage, and a boost to morale for the team--everyone wants to be part of a success story! Of course there are also financial benefits to many competitions, and profitable networking often results from coverage and connections made during contests, as well. There are really innumerable benefits to entering competitions as an entrepreneur, just the buzz you feel is invaluable. As with everything in life, trying out at these competitions, making mistakes, and failing are all necessary stepping stones to eventual success, as we had at the JC Young Entrepreneur's Challenge.
 Thank you again to the JC for hosting the competition, and to the panel of judges for seeing such merit and potential in Flat-Club.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Five Reasons to Go On An Exchange Semester!

Maria Ahmed is Editor of, a professional networking and news site for the business school world. Visit the site for info on MBA jobs, MBA rankings and the popular Why MBA series!
Whether you’re a homebody at heart or a natural backpacker, mosttop business schools will offer you the chance to go on an exchange semester in a different country.
Many students opt for the glittering lights of Paris or the bustling streets of Shanghai. Others prefer less glamorous locales, but pretty much every exchange student attests to the value of their experience abroad. It takes extra creativity and networking to forge a post-MBA career these days so for both personal and career reasons, the market in exchange students is booming. Here are some of the top reasons BusinessBecause members have given for going on an exchange semester abroad!
  • Open your mind
  • Dilek Altin, from the EuropeanSchool of Management and Technology in Berlin, spent ten weeks at Peking University. He noted that, “In most lectures…topics [like the role of government and the use of censorship] can be addressed openly.” He admits that he had not expected the campus at Peking University to be quite so liberal and emphasizes how meeting people from a different culture can offer a deeper, broader perspective on things.
    India native Leo Tom Zachariah found that while Germans “take time to get friendly,” Spain felt much more similar to India, especially when he was nearly hit by a car shortly after his arrival!
  • Move your career to a new, booming market
  • Daniel Harrison did his MBA at HEC Paris and chose to attend an exchange program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). His time in Asia gave him far more than an education: it helped him land a job. With the Asian jewellery market booming, Daniel’s exposure to the Hong Kong market allowed him to parlay that experience into a job as the Director of Retail Operations for jeweller Pandora.
  • Learn from the best
  • Xu Shu and Liu Junwei from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance got the chance to intern at world leading financial exchange Eurex, in Frankfurt, picking up plenty of new ideas to take back to Shanghai!
    The pair spent three months with the exchange house through the SAIF’s career services. While there they focused on business development for derivative products for the Middle East and Asia, and clearing systems.
  • Discover new business opportunities
  • As his exchange semester in Rio de Janeiro came to a close, MBA student Vinod Jose found himself in his landlord’s office talking about his problems letting out his flat over the New Year and Carnaval period. Using his background in real estate in his hometown Bangalore, Vinod helped his landlord find some clients, and got a free stay in a Copacabana apartment in return.
  • Become an insider
  • How would you ever discover that the ShangriLa Hotel in Shenzhen is where Hong Kong natives flock for cheap and excellent dim sum? Or which bars to avoid in the red light district of Wanchai? Or how to get a table at date spot Cafe Deco? By going on an exchange there!
Have any other great reasons to go on semester abroad? Share them on the Flat-Club Facebook page!

If you're going on an exchange semester, use our Expert Search to find your particular accommodation based off of your needs. Best of all, it is completely free.