Earlier this year, UK founders urged the Prime Minister to back a start-up competition to drive the growth of UK entrepreneurs. The letter stated, “We are all involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the UK is undoubtedly one of the best places to start a business in the world.”
The University of Manchester is leading the way to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across campus, reopening its annual start-up competition. The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre’s Venture Further Awards (VFA’s), is the UK’s primary university-led start-up competition for student and graduate entrepreneurs.
Now open for applications, the VFA’s develop and launch entrepreneurial students and graduates’ ideas from across The University of Manchester. Enabling innovative hopefuls from all backgrounds to enter the competition, across five categories: Environment, Healthcare, Services, Social and Technology. No matter what School or Faculty a student or graduate is from, they should find a suitable category for their idea.
With an increased prize fund for 2023 of £100,000, the VFA’s will fund ten new business propositions and open the door to a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors, networks, and follow-on funding.
Mohammed El Hajj, winner of the Technology category in 2021 and founder of Bright Biotech, raised £3.5M in investment last year and was one of the nine teams selected for Innovate UK’s competitive 2022 Global Incubator Programme – Gateway to Asia. With its game changing technology, Bright Biotech provides innovative solutions to the biggest agricultural challenges in the world.
Entries to the competition should be viable and credible business proposals with real potential to succeed. Applications close on Thursday, 23 February 2023 after which, up to twenty finalists will pitch their business to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win one of the cash prizes. MEC are also offering support sessions between October 2022 and the competition finals in March 2023, to all aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter.
Last year’s competition was a tremendous success, with the long-awaited return to a physical VFA22 awards ceremony in The University of Manchester’s prestigious Whitworth Hall. Ellie Buckley, Venture Further Awards Manager said: “Celebrating its 20th year, the Venture Further Awards have created over one hundred businesses and between them they have gone on to secure over £20m worth of investment. I am sure this year will continue that tradition to produce phenomenal start-ups which will benefit the region and wider UK economy.”
If you are an aspiring start-up founder who wants to launch or scale a successful business, then get in touch with MEC to apply to the competition. Be your own boss, venture further…
For more info: manchester.ac.uk/venturefurther