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University’s annual start-up competition now open for entries

The University of Manchester’s Venture Further competition has recently launched and it promises to be yet another phenomenal year for ideas. Following the huge success of last year’s competition, featuring the first-ever online awards ceremony due to COVID-19 and attracting over 100 start-up ideas, this year’s competition has already started receiving expressions of interest across campus since October.

Designed to nurture and highlight the wide range of entrepreneurial students and graduates across The University of Manchester, Venture Further is a start-up competition that gives innovative students at the University the chance to turn their ideas into reality and win significant early-stage funding to start their own business.

To represent the huge range of ideas across the entire campus, the competition categories have been refreshed for 2021 and will include Environment; Healthcare; Services; Social; and Technology. No matter what faculty a student or graduate is from, they should find a suitable category for their idea.

The exciting changes do not stop there. Whilst the prize fund remains the same - boasting an impressive £75,000 – this will now fund fifteen ideas across the five categories, with the competition featuring a first prize of £10,000, the second prize of £3,500, and a new third prize of £1,500 to enable more finalists to get their businesses off to a flying start. It's not all about the cash though; this competition opens the door to a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors, and networks.

Providing a fantastic opportunity for students to build their dream and launch their own business, Eve Kekeh, winner of the ‘Social’ category in 2018 and founder of Bundlee, now the UK’s number 1 baby clothing rental service, went on to secure £50k investment after launching her business following her Venture Further win. She also went on to feature in a number of high profile magazines, including Vogue, and is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 class of 2020.

Progress can be swift following success in Venture Further, demonstrated by the 2020 ‘Creative’ category winner, Blue Shoes Productions Limited who are now well underway with creating innovative video content for organisations that are implementing social and cultural change. After securing a number of new clients, the team are now working hard to provide a platform to highlight underrepresented stories, voices, and cultures in society.

Applications for the competition close on Thursday, 25 February 2021 and entries should be a viable and credible business proposal with the potential to succeed. Following the deadline, up to 25 finalists will be invited to pitch their business proposal to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win one of the cash prizes.

Ellie Buckley, Venture Further competition organiser said: “Last year’s competition was a huge success so I have no doubt that we’ll see more innovative and creative ideas being submitted from across the campus this year. With the introduction of new categories and a wider spread of awards to support more ideas, this year’s competition will be bigger than ever. Venture Further is a fantastic springboard for all our students and graduates to follow their dreams and create a start-up.”

Venture Further is organised by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre and kindly sponsored by IBM, Slalom and Vita Student.

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