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Venture Further business start-up competition - Now closed for entries

The annual business start-up competition for all current students, researchers and recent alumni across The University of Manchester with a £75,000 prize fund.

About Venture Further

Want to start your own business? Here's your chance to win up to £12,000 and make it a reality with our annual business start-up competition.

Turn your ideas into reality and win significant early-stage funding to start your own business. It’s not all about the cash though. This competition will introduce you to a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors and networks to grow your ideas. If you have a viable business proposal then get involved.

Your entry needs to be a viable business proposal that has the potential to succeed. If your entry is successful, you will be asked to pitch your business proposal to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win one of the cash prizes.

Be your own boss, venture further…

Watch the Venture Further 2020 Online Awards Ceremony:

Venture Further 2020 is supported by:

fuelcard services logoIBM logoMSP Venture Furthervita student logo  

Cash prizes in each category


First prize


Second prize

Competition categories

Businesses that have commercial potential via new products or services where intellectual property is not a key element of the value proposition. Entries to this category would not readily fit into any of the other four categories.

Hear from the 2020 finalists in this category:

Businesses that utilise the generation or exploitation of knowledge and information and can be considered part of the creative industries. Entries will typically focus on one or more of the following: 

  • Advertising
  • Architecture
  • Arts and culture
  • Craft
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Games
  • Music
  • Publishing
  • TV and film

Intellectual property would tend to be protected by copyright and design rights.

Hear from the 2020 finalists in this category:

Businesses that are involved in minimising, or even reversing, the negative impact of themselves or others on the environment, community, society, or the economy through the use of digital circular economy solutions, recycling solutions, and ideas for waste prevention. 

This could include products or services that improve operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or environmental pollution. 

Hear from the 2020 finalists in this category:

Businesses that are mission-driven and apply commercial strategies to deliver solutions that have a positive impact on people’s lives and communities. Profits are principally reinvested back into the business or community for the purpose of achieving that mission rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

Hear from the 2020 finalists in this category:

Businesses that apply emerging technologies to generate new experiences and innovative business opportunities.  

Emerging technologies arise from new knowledge, or the innovative application of existing knowledge. These technologies will currently be developing or will be developed over the next five to ten years and will substantially change the business and social environment. They will lead to the rapid development of new capabilities, be projected to have significant systemic and long-lasting economic, social and political impacts and have the potential to disrupt or create entire industries.

Products, materials, processes and will tend to be protected primarily by patents and trade secrets.

Hear from the 2020 finalists in this category:

Venture Further 2020 awards

The 2020 winners were announced at an online awards event in June.

Read more:

Venture Further 2020 ventures online to deliver digital awards event