New enterprise competition

New enterprise competition      



The New Enterprise Competition (NEC) is our flagship business idea challenge with a prize fund of up to £40,000, all kindly donated by our sponsors. This includes cash prizes, packages of legal support, marketing, and business acceleration services.

The annual competition is open to students, staff, and recent graduates and offers three opportunities to apply and pitch for start-up funding. Whilst there are different stages to the competition all you really need is an original idea for a self-sustaining business.

It’s open to both commercial and social enterprises, and includes everything from simple conceptual ideas through to businesses in their first year of trading.

Throughout the competition we provide educational events, opportunities to get feedback and support, and the chance to meet all kinds of useful contacts through our networking event Start-up Drinks.

Timetable (2018 - 2019)

The New Enterprise Competition consists of three stages.
  • Start-up Ideas - funding of up to £200 to trial and test your ideas. 
    Applications open in term 1.  
  • Start-up Development - funding of up to £1,000 to validate and prove your business concept. Applications open in term 2.
  • Start-up Growth - funding of up to £10,000 to develop and grow your start-up into a full-scale operation. 
    Applications for this round will open in spring term.
The first two stages are feedback opportunities to help ideas develop in readiness for the third stage, which is the main competition. Attendance at either early-stage panel is not required to enter the main competition and success or failure in gaining a grant has no bearing on success in the main competition.

Timetable for academic year 2018-2019:

New Enterprise Competition
Term 1 Start-up Ideas open for applications
Term 2  Start-up Development now open for applications
Late Spring Start-up Growth open for applications

For full details and how to apply, please visit the New Enterprise Competition webpage.

Information for entrants

The opportunity to get professional advice and feedback is valuable to all those who take part, arguably more so than the prizes. Even those who don’t go on to win gain a lot from simply being involved in the competition.

Eligible entrants must be a current student or staff member at the UoB or have graduated from the University of Bristol within the past 3 years. Please contact us if you're unsure of your eligibility. 

Find out more about eligibility criteria and what the judges look for here.


This year the New Enterprise Competition is generously sponsored by:




Past winners

(Back to top)

In 2017 the Competition was won by Metasonics, a revolutionary sound technology company founded by two University of Bristol academics
You can read about the winner and the 2017 winner and runners up on the University news pages.