From education to employment

Santander and Enterprise Nation launch university entrepreneurship competition for innovative UK businesses

Santander is offering university start-ups from across the UK the opportunity to win a share of £150,000 equity-free funding through the Santander X UK Awards 2022.

First launched in 2011, Santander’s annual entrepreneurship awards programme is among the UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. To date, it has supported hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs and provided more than £750,000 in equity-free funding to start-ups and small businesses. Recent winners include Sojo, Chip[s] Board, Wase, Cosi Care and Konglomerate Games.

Entries for the Santander X UK Awards 2022 are now open online and there are two categories – Launch (for new businesses), and Accelerate (for growing businesses). Up to 120 entrants will be shortlisted by 7 October and will join an intensive six-week training programme throughout October and November, which will be delivered by small business support platform Enterprise Nation and its network of entrepreneurs and business experts. The training will be tailored to each category and will range from the fundamentals of business through to scaling up established companies, depending on the relevant maturity of each business.

Having completed the training programme, entrants will compete in a two-day pitching event in November in London that will culminate in the national winners being named. The top prize for the Launch and Accelerate categories will be £15,000 and £20,000 respectively. All businesses shortlisted for the Launch category will also receive a £1,000 grant upon completion of the training programme.

As well as funding and support, the winners of the Santander X UK Awards will also secure a place in the Santander X Global Award, Santander’s international university entrepreneurship competition in which they will compete with the best university start-ups from Europe and South America in spring 2023.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK said:

“Given the important role small businesses play in the UK economy, supporting young entrepreneurial talent is a key priority for Santander. We are delighted to partner with Enterprise Nation to support the high potential, early-stage start-ups coming out of universities across the UK. I wish the entrepreneurs applying to this year’s competition the very best of luck.”

Emma Jones, CBE, Founder, Enterprise Nation said:

“For young people, coming up with a good idea or concept for a business is now an established career path. Offering them the right support, guidance and funding to take them to next level is vital. This awards programme from Santander is brilliant because it really enters into the spirit of competitiveness to uncover the next generation of entrepreneurs. “

The Santander X UK Awards 2022 is open to: any current student or employee at a UK University; graduates of the last five years (since 2017); and entrepreneurs in university accelerators, incubator schemes and spinout companies.

Among last year’s winners is Sojo, an app for clothing alterations and repairs which aims to make the fashion industry more sustainable by normalising alterations and repairs in preference to discarding old or damaged clothing. Since its award win in October 2021, Sojo has raised close to £2m funding and has plans to scale its services nationally this year.

Josephine Philips, Founder of Sojo, commented:

“Winning the Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards last year was one of the most exciting moments on my Sojo journey so far. We were among an incredible cohort of exceptional businesses, and it was such an honour to be selected as the winner. The Santander programme, with the workshops, mentorship, interns and support, has really helped Sojo to flourish. Being an entrepreneur can be exceptionally lonely, but a real sense of community developed between all of the entrepreneurs over the course of the programme. To be connected to such a wide network of likeminded young entrepreneurs has been invaluable – I’m still in touch with many of the cohort today.”

For more information, and to apply to enter the Santander X UK Awards 2022, visit:  Applications close on Wednesday 28 September 2022.

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