Competitions For Start Up Funding

Whether it be to develop skills, looking for mentorship or seeking funding, competitions are a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and start ups. 

Most programmes are run as monthly or annual competitions, some have a specific focus in one area, others are openly broadly to any sector. The amount of funding and conditions will be different for each competition. 


Santander X Global Challenge | Finance For All

Financial inclusion is key to reducing inequality and creating new opportunities; we need to think about how not to leave anyone behind. The online world is here to stay and its changing behaviors and will require us to evolve; and as an essential part of any digital solution, user-centricity requires cutting-edge technological innovation.

That is why Santandar X have launched the Santander X Global Challenge: Finance for All. A new global competition for startups and scaleups with innovative and scalable solutions that adapt to demographic changes and create a long-lasting social and economic impact for millions of people worldwide.

Projects must show solutions that meet at least one of these three objectives:

Finance for Youth
How can you help improve and simplify the customer experience increasing trustworthiness to attract and retain younger clients?

How can your solution improve product offering and widen financial opportunities to better serve the younger customers, help them access education, and prosper?

Finance for Elderly
How can your solution help provide products enabling the elderly to easily manage their finances and their everyday lives?

How can you help increase digital banking adoption by the elderly through a smoother, more transparent, and personalized experience?

Finance for Unbanked
How can you help bring financial products to the unbanked population and increase the rate of adoption?

How can your solution help unlock finance for the unbanked by enabling them to build a credit history and enter the formal financial system?

For information and how to apply for the fund, please visit 

Jay Smith Innovation Award

The Jay Smith Creativity and Innovation Award was launched in 2017 through funding generously provided by Jay Smith, a local businessman, to promote entrepreneurship within the student body. The funding available for 2021 is £550 and will be awarded to a current student with a creative / innovative idea for a new product or service. All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to tell us a bit about your innovative, early-stage business idea and why the funding would help you get to the next stage.  This level of funding may be exactly what you need to take that next step. 

The winner of this award will also be able to access the Business StartUp Summer Workshop Programme and the mentorship and bespoke workshops being offered through the Summer Company Programme. Incubation space will also be available once we are able to return to campus in line with Scottish Government guidance.

All that is required is an outline of your business idea and how the funding would help you progress your idea using the application form below. 

Jay Smith Creativity and Innovation Award

The closing date for applications is Sunday 9 May at 5pm. These should be submitted 

Those shortlisted will be invited to give a 10 minute pitch on their business idea to our virtual selection panel in the week beginning 17 May 2021. 



NACUE Tata Varsity Pitch Competition

Tata Varsity Pitch 2021, powered by NACUE is an annual, national early-stage business pitching competition, that celebrates the best businesses exanding out of colleges and universities across the UK. It represents one of the flagship enterprise events as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), highlighting and showcasing the entrepreneurial flair of young businesses for over 10 years now. 

Open to both current students and graduates since 2016, applicants have the opportunity to apply in two categories, simply by submitting a 60 second video pitch, presenting their radical business solution and innovative ideas. It’s that simple!

The Grand Final will see the seven startups competing to win the £15,000 equity free funding and a national title bestowed upon them in Global Entrepreneurship Week, in November 2021. Each finalist will have three minutes to pitch their concept to an esteemed panel of industry experts, in order to become the 2021 winner.

More information on how to take part can be found here: 

Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards

***Closed for 2021 Application***

The Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards launched in 2011. Since then it has grown to become one of the UK's largest student and graduate business pitching competition with over £600,000 given away to start ups and small businesses. The competition sees start ups from across the UK compete to win up to £75,000 worth of business support in funding, mentorshop and accelerator opportunity. 

In 2021, Kreuzberg Chocolates went forward as the University of Glasgow's entrant, taking part in the final at Wembley Stadium. 

More information about the competition and eligibility criteria can be found on the Santander Universities website. All submissions must be submitted via the University of Glasgow Student Enterprise Manager not directly to Santantder. 

Scottish Edge 19

Scotland’s biggest entrepreneurial funding competition is back for its 19th round! If you’re an innovative startup with heaps of potential, get your application in before the 15th Feb deadline and win up to £100,000 in funding and support for your business at  

They’ve already given away over £19 million to Scotland’s most promising entrepreneurs and now Scottish EDGE is back for its 19th funding round. If you’re an innovative startup business with high-growth potential, get your application in before the 15th Feb deadline, and win up to £100,000 in funding and support -  


The Scottish EDGE suite awards now consist of the core Scottish EDGE, Young EDGE and Wild Card EDGE categories, as well as the specialist category awards: Net Zero EDGE (supported by Royal Bank of Scotland), Social Enterprise EDGE (supported by Postcode Innovation Trust), Circular Economy EDGE (supported by Zero Waste Scotland), STV Growth EDGE (supported by STV), Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre EDGE (supported by IBioIC) and Creative EDGE.

If you are keen to apply and want to find out more then your first step to success could be to attend the Scottish EDGE virtual application workshop to get advice on crafting that perfect application.

The University of Glasgow will also be hosting a Q&A session with Scottish Edge on Tuesday 1 February 2022 at 11:00. You can register for this event at 

Converge Challenge

The Converge Challenge is for high-calibre projects with the potential to become successful, sustainable companies that will have a positive impact in Scotland. They welcome applications across all industry sectors and enterprise types, for both product and service-based ideas. Applications are open to all involved in higher education (staff and students) as well as graduates (within 24 months of graduation date) are welcome to apply. More information about the challenge can be found here: