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Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 

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2017 Competition

Following the competitions success in previous years Aston University is delighted to be taking part in the 2017 edition. This year Santander has scaled up the competition and will be providing more events, support and prizes throughout. They will also be taking those who apply through 3 important stages as the competition progresses to make sure the experience helps you grow your business. This webpage will provide you with important information about the competition and how to get involved.


The Prizes

Funding
mentoring
Access


2017 Categories 

This year participants can take part in one of the following two categories. Aston University will select the best entrants from each of the two categories to be entered into the main Santander Competition.  The two Aston businesses selected will each receive £500 of seed funding for their business.

Pre-Revenue Category BSEEN
Post Revenue Category

Stage by stage guide

How to enter the first stage of the competition:

You need to submit  -

  1. A two minute video outlining the idea behind the business and how it came about
  2. A completed business model canvas (more information on how to complete your business model canvas available in the Useful Resources section below). This provides an insight into the inner workings of your idea or business.

Aston University will be collaborating with Santander in order to identify our best student and graduate businesses. At this stage we’ll be providing support on campus through activities such as pitching and business planning workshops.

Wednesday 22nd February 2017 2pm – 4.30pm Pitching workshop

Wednesday 1st March 2017 2.30pm – 5pm Business Model Canvas workshop

Deadline to submit your video and completed business model canvas to enterprise@aston.ac.uk is 12pm on Friday 31st March 2017

Once all of the nominations from Santander’s partner universities have been received Santander will review them in order to identify a list of businesses that will be invited to the next stage of the competition. Please note that a maximum of 30 entries per category will be put forward to the next stage. All unsuccessful entries at this stage will receive an invite to a regional breakthrough event, get a feedback session with one of our local business managers and will be invited to join us as a guest at the regional and national finals.

Judging criteria

In your video we’ll 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 (i.e. personal challenge, as a result of studying) 
  • Evidence of how winning the competition would help you grow your business. 

We’ll also be judging the completed business model canvas based on the information provided in each of the nine areas contained within the template. Please note that each area of the canvas will be weighted equally and that the video and business model canvas will both be worth 50% of the total score for this stage.

Stage 2 will see the successful applicants present their business to a panel of experienced judges at one of three regional heats in June.  The event will take place in front of an audience and give you the chance to talk about and potentially expand on your business canvas that you submitted as part of the first stage of the competition. You’ll have five minutes to present which will be followed by a three minute question and answer session. Information around the location and timings of these events will be provided to successful applicants.

Up to 12 businesses will then be selected to progress to the final stage. These businesses will receive £1,000 of seed funding alongside support from our Business Banking teams. All unsuccessful entries at this stage will receive an invite to a regional breakthrough event as well as a certificate for reaching this stage. They’ll also get feedback session with one of our Local Business Managers and will be invited to the final in London.

Judging criteria

Your pitch will be marked on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of the following four areas:

  • Your customers
  • Your product and/or service
  • Your infrastructure and operations
  • Financial viability

Please note that although some of this information would have been submitted earlier in the competition, the expectation is that presenters should use the time to ensure the judging panel have a clear idea of how the business works and its viability. Each of the areas above will be marked on a scale of 1 to 10 and weighted equally.

Following the 3 regional heats, the successful businesses will be invited to attend an accelerator week which will provide them with a unique educational experience lead by a series of innovative businesses and speakers. Details of the partners participating in the event will be announced over the coming months.

During this week finalists will participate in a series of workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping you understand how to get the most from your business. This information will also help inform the presentation you will deliver at the final in London. Please note that expenses for finalists will be covered by Santander (see Terms and Conditions for further details).

For the last part of the competition the national final will take place in an exclusive venue in London in October 2017, and teams will be expected to deliver a 10 minute presentation followed by a five minute Q&A session. The judging panel for this event will include high profile entrepreneurs, leading academics, Santander executives and business leaders.

Following the presentations the judges will select one winner and one runner up for each category that will win the following prizes:

Pre-revenue winner

  • £20,000 of equity-free seed funding
  • Mentoring from one of the judges at the national final
  • Five page brochure or e-commerce website hosted for six months (Provided by Talent Cupboard)
  • An additional support package (details to be announced in 2017)
  • A fully funded intern.

Pre-revenue runner up

  • £10,000 of equity-free seed funding
  • Mentoring from one of the judges at the national final
  • Five free listings on the Talent Cupboard marketplace
  • An additional support package (details to be announced in 2017)
  • A fully funded intern. 

Post-revenue winner

  • £25,000 of equity-free seed funding
  • Mentoring from one of the judges at the national final
  • Five free listings on the Talent Cupboard marketplace (Provided by Talent Cupboard)
  • Digital growth mentoring session (Provided by Talent Cupboard) 
  • An additional support package (details to be announced in 2017) n A fully funded intern. 

Post-revenue runner up

  • £15,000 of equity-free seed funding
  • Mentoring from one of the judges at the national final
  • Five page brochure or e-commerce website hosted for 12 months (Provided by Talent Cupboard)
  • Digital growth mentoring session (Provided by Talent Cupboard) 
  • An additional support pack 

Judging criteria

  • Your pitch at the national final will be judged on the following criteria. Each will be weighted equally and scored from 1 to 10:
  • Business mission, purpose and overview
  • Understanding of your customers and your value proposition n Identification and mitigation of risks
  • Demonstration of learning from accelerator week
  • Growth strategy 

Important information 

Stage 1

  • Competition launch: January 2017
  • On-campus events: February and March 2017
  • Aston University Pitching Workshop: 22 February 2017
  • Business Model Canvas Workshop: 1 March 2017
  • University applications deadline: 31 March 2017

Stage 2

  • Screening by Santander: 1 May 2017 to 12 May 2017
  • Shortlist announced: 15 May 2017
  • Regional heats: 26 June 2017 to 30 June 2017

Stage 3

  • Acceleration week: 10 July 2017 to 15 July 2017
  • Support and engagement: August 2017 to September 2017
  • National final: October 2017
If you think that you’ve got an idea or business that could compete with the UK’s best then we want to hear from you. For more information and to find out how you can get involved please contact your local University Relationship Branch Manager or Enterprise Department on campus.


Read about our previous Aston University winner 

Aston Santander Business Plan winners and Enterprise Working Group

All applicants must be students or alumni who have officially graduated within 5 years of the date of submission from a Santander UK partner university.

  • Applicants can be individuals or groups. 
  • Throughout the process applicants must be legally residing within the UK. 
  • All businesses taking part in the competition must be registered UK companies. 
  • Applications within the pre-revenue category must have all intentions of creating a UK registered company. 
  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age. 
  • Students or alumni must own at least 50% of the business in question. University professors or members of staff must not have a controlling share in the business or business idea (this includes a financial share, intellectual property or formal advisory role). This excludes businesses owned by the university that have been set up by the student as part of their course, i.e. venture creation programmes.

More information can be found in the Information pack.

We’ve provided you with a template business model canvas (based on the original available from strategyzer.com) and you’ll need to use this template to prepare your awards submission. 

However, if you feel you would like to get a better understanding of business model design there are some excellent resources available online. They include:

  • businessmodelgeneration.com: With content by the founders of the original Business Model Canvas this site and the associated book. provide content covering all aspects of the canvas.
  • strategyzer.com: A fuller look at business model canvas and value proposition design.
  • diytoolkit.org: Practical tools to trigger and support social innovation.
  • thehappystartupschool.com: Resources and guidance for startup founders that put people first and place happiness before profits.   
  • boardofinnovation.com: Placing business model innovation at the heart of larger companies. 

Please note that Santander is not responsible for the content published by these sites

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