The UK’s most entrepreneurial students are unveiled today, each of whom are in with a chance to receive up to £25,000 worth of seed funding


  • Finalists of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards announced
  • Top prize of £25,000 up for grabs at the national final in London this November
  • Over a quarter of students run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university

The UK’s most entrepreneurial students are unveiled today, each of whom are in with a chance to receive up to £25,000 worth of seed funding. Amongst the finalists of the eighth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards may be the nation’s next great business success story.

These are one of the UK’s largest business awards for students and recent graduates where the best and most forward thinking entries can receive cash prizes, mentoring and start-up support.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK commented: “We have a long term commitment to supporting higher education and we are proud to take an active role in fostering entrepreneurship among university students. They are the business leaders of the future and universities play an important role in nurturing this talent in our local communities. We are delighted to announce the 12 finalists and look forward to judging this year’s most innovative, creative and truly entrepreneurial talent at the final in November.”


Since the awards were launched, Santander Universities has given away more than £340,000 in support for budding student entrepreneurs, and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the UK.

Twelve teams have been named as the finalists of the competition:

Non-Technology Category Winners (For more information see Notes to Editors)

  • Azure Foods, University of Oxford
  • Chip (s) Board, Kingston University
  • Citylife UK, University of Nottingham
  • Ezi-Sock, Ulster University
  • Fodilicious, Queen Margaret University
  • Smibbs, Plymouth University

Technology Category Winners

  • Machine Eye, Queens University Belfast
  • POCKIT Diagnostics, University of Cambridge
  • Silver Lion Innovations, University of Strathclyde
  • Supernotes, Kings College London
  • Wase, Brunel University London
  • Work and Communications, Nottingham Trent University

The 12 businesses were selected from a shortlist of 60 semi-finalists, to progress to the final stage having pitched their business idea to a panel of experienced judges in one of the three regional heats. These took place at the end of June and early July and saw Universities from the North, Central and South of the England alongside Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to compete for a place in the final.

The successful businesses have been invited to attend an accelerator week in August 2018, which will provide them with a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers. During that week, the finalists will take part in a series of workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping them understand how to get the most from their business. Each of the businesses have also received £500 of seed funding at the semi-final.

The 12 shortlisted teams will then take part in the National Final in London, in November 2018. The students will be competing to be one of two winning entries to win prizes of up to £25,000 of seed funding. The two runners up will receive £15,000 of seed funding. There are also six businesses(6) progressing to the national final that were voted by the audience during the semi-finals as having the greatest social, community or environmental impact. These businesses will compete for £7,500 of seed funding at the national final.

Last year’s winners were BellaMoon®, which provides unique, multifunctional baby products, from Queen’s University Belfast and Jenny Kate from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Irene Breen, the founder of BellaMoon® and up and coming textile artist Jenny Evans, founder of Jenny Kate, were awarded top prizes of £20,000 and £25,000.

Research conducted by Santander Universities(2) to support the launch of the Entrepreneurship Awards revealed that over 450,000 (26 per cent) (1) students currently run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university. Amongst those up and coming student entrepreneurs who have already launched a business, the average turnover is £11,408 per annum, equivalent to a collective £1 billion(3).

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are supported by Talent Cupboard, Microsoft, iProspect, Scandinavia Stories, University of Leicester, University of Strathclyde, University of Liverpool and University College London.