Competitions

There are many competitions and awards open to businesses in Essex with some great prizes to be won, ranging from cash prizes to coaching and advice. Competitions and awards are a great way to increase your credibility, access marketing and benchmarking your business.

Please take a look at the information below to find out what competitions and awards your business can access.

  • Arts Award

    What is the Arts Award Access Fund?

    The Access Fund provides grants of between £100-£1500 to Arts Award centres working on Arts Award projects with young people for whom access and inclusion is an issue.

    Who can apply?

    We welcome applications from all registered Arts Award centres based in England, but priority will be given to centres that:

    • are working with young people for whom access and inclusion is an issue
    • will use the grant to support them to pilot, embed or develop their Arts Award work with these groups

    See how the Access Fund has been used to support centres in the past

    What can the money be used for? 

    • Discover, Explore or Bronze logs
    • Bronze, Silver or Gold guidance booklets
    • Fees for workshops with a professional or specialist
    • General art materials, printing costs, etc
    • Tickets for events
    • Travel to and from a venue
    • Contribution towards the costs of Gold leadership projects
    • Hire of specialist equipment or specialist venue
    • Adviser/project management/staff time
    • Discover certificates
    • Moderation costs for Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold
    • Specific access requirements e.g. BSL/other translators; assistive technology specifically related to the Arts Award project (where renting is not cost effective)

    When can I apply?

    Open for applications Closing date
    2017 – Round 1 30 January 2017 5pm, 3 March 2017
    2017 – Round 2 18 September 2017 5pm, 20 October 2017
    2018 – Round 1 TBC TBC

    We cannot provide funding that is required less than 6 weeks after the application deadline, as we cannot guarantee that we will be able to get the grant to you in time.

    How do I apply?

    For more information please click here: Arts Award

  • Entries Invited for the 2017 Global Startup Open Competition

    Startup Open is an international competition designed to identify, recognise and reward start-up companies and the entrepreneurs who are setting them up. The competition is held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) and recognises the best start-ups of the year, awarding prizes to help them grow their business.

    One of GEW’s strengths is its network. By winning Startup Open, young start-ups have the opportunity to join the network and strengthen their own support network.

    Startup Open will announce and recognise the most promising ventures from around the world, which will be selected by a range of criteria including strength of concept, growth projections, and knowledge of the market. Those companies will compete for a handful of prizes with the winners announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week, 13-19 November 2017.

    The competition is open to any start-up from across the globe that has been founded in the last year.

    Startup Open is now accepting applications for the 2017 competition.

    The deadline for submitting an application is 30 September 2017.

    For more information please follow this link: Startup Open

     

  • Made in Britain Photography Competition

    Professional and amateur photographers are invited to enter the EEF Made in Britain Photography Awards which offer prizes including photographic equipment.

    Through the competition, the sponsor is looking for images to present a picture of contemporary British manufacturing which can give the sector greater visibility and change the misconception that ‘Britain doesn’t make anything anymore’. The challenge is to capture images through modern, engaging and inspiring photography which reflects today’s modern UK manufacturing sector.

    Images can be anything from turbines to ceramic pots, steel rods to silicon chips – the theme is open to the entrants’ interpretation. Submissions require a caption to be added, explaining how the image depicts the theme ‘Made by Britain, Loved by the World.’

    The programme has a total prize fund of £5,000 available for distribution. The prize money is to be used to towards purchasing modern high-end equipment.

    As well as the prize money, entrants and their businesses will benefit from high-profile media exposure – a showcase of the best images will be used in the sponsor’s print media and public relations activity.

    The Awards are open to professional and amateur photographers and young people aged 14-19 in the UK.

    The 2017 deadline for entries is 30 September 2017.

    More information here: Made in Britain Photography Competition

  • Scale-up Stars of the Future business competition

    If you are a high growth business needing support to help achieve your growth ambitions, we strongly recommend applying to this competition. Winners will receive business support from Oxford Innovation, a trusted and reputable organisation with a track record of success.

    Eligibility 
    To enter, your company must be an SME legally registered in the UK

    How to apply

    Submit a short form and 3 minute video

    Key Dates

    Application submission: 14th August
    Shortlist announced: 30th August

    Prizes

    Winners will receive a valuable package of support which will include, but not limited to:

    • diagnostic analysis of the business model
    • up to 30 hours of professional coaching
    • introductions to investors
    • potential for SEIS/EIS investment
    • incubation support

    For full entry details and criteria please visit oxin.co.uk/business-competition

    Entry Deadline: 1st September 2017

    To apply please click here: Scale-up Stars of the Future

  • Infrastructure Systems Competition Now Open

    Innovate UK (IUK) to invest up to £15 million to stimulate innovation in the infrastructure systems that provide critical services for the economy, environment and society. There are four priority areas:

    • Smart infrastructure
    • Energy systems (comprising energy systems, nuclear fission and offshore wind)
    • Connected transport
    • Urban living

    Infrastructure systems are central to economic stability, growth, competitiveness and productivity in modern society. They are vital for social wellbeing and environmental sustainability. The UK has a capability to provide infrastructure solutions in planning, engineering, architecture, energy, intelligent mobility of people, freight and communications. This also includes legal, insurance, security and finance services.

    In the digital economy, the UK has a base of creative start-ups providing new, disruptive solutions and technologies that promote change. These are in high-growth areas, including open data, the internet of things (everyday objects with network and data connectivity), robotics and autonomous systems.

    IUK is looking to fund a portfolio of projects, including technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development. Projects must show significant innovation in one of the priority areas. Proposals must also improve business growth, productivity and/or create export opportunities for at least one UK SME involved in the project. Applicants must describe how the proposed innovation project fits into partners’ overall international strategies.

    A UK SME may run the project on their own or with other businesses and/or research organisations if the expected total eligible project costs will be in the range £25,000 to £100,000. Projects costing over £100,000 must be collaborative and include at least one SME.

    The total budget for this call is up to £15 million. Up to £5 million has been allocated for projects with eligible costs from £25,000 to £100,000 and lasting three months to one year; and up to £10 million has been allocated for projects with eligible costs from £100,000 to £5 million and lasting over one year and up to three years.

    Projects can be led either by a UK business or UK research and technology organisation (RTO) and must include at least one UK small to medium enterprise (SME). Applicants must carry out the project work and intend to exploit the results in the UK.

    The deadline for receipt of applications is 13 September 2017.

    For more information please click here: Competition

  • £4 Million Innovation in Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Systems: Collaborative Research and Development Competition Open

    Through this programme, funding is available to support projects that investigate new business models, consumer awareness and technologies that support interaction between electric vehicles and the grid. So-called vehicle-to-grid technologies are expected to play a part in making the UK’s electricity supply network smarter and in encouraging take-up.

    Vehicles that can take electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high could help to even out peaks and troughs and make the grid more efficient. The UK government wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a benefit to consumers and a key to future growth.

    The aim of the collaborative research and development competition is to support business-led R&D projects that investigate novel technologies, consumer engagement approaches and business models for future implementation of V2G services.

    Innovate UK has up to £4 million for collaborative research and development projects, which can range in size from total costs of £375,000 to £1.5 million. Projects in this competition should last between 18 months and three years.

    To lead a project in this competition the applicant must:

    • be a UK-based business of any size;
    • carry out a project in the UK, unless a strong case is made to do otherwise. Costs of any overseas work or for any overseas parties are not funded through this competition;
    • work in collaboration with others.

    The competition closes to applications on 18 October 2017.

    For more information please click here: V2G

  • £2 Million Innovation in Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Systems: Feasibility Studies Competition Open

    Through this programme, funding is available to support projects that investigate new business models, consumer awareness and technologies that support interaction between electric vehicles and the grid. So-called vehicle-to-grid technologies are expected to play a part in making the UK’s electricity supply network smarter and in encouraging take-up.

    Vehicles that can take electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high could help to even out peaks and troughs and make the grid more efficient. The UK government wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a benefit to consumers and a key to future growth.

    The aim of the feasibility studies competition is to support business-led feasibility projects that investigate novel technologies, consumer engagement approaches and business models for future implementation of V2G services.

    Innovate UK (IUK) has up to £2 million for feasibility study projects, which can range in size from total costs of £125,000 to £225,000. Businesses can attract up to 70% of their total costs.

    IUK is seeking innovative solutions in the following V2G areas:

    • Business models, technology and service standards
    • Understanding user acceptance and consumer engagement
    • On and off-vehicle hardware, including bi-directional chargers, battery hardware and software, and cyber security
    • Trials of different products and services in different scenarios

    Projects must be collaborative and business-led. For larger projects, IUK expects to see participants from across the value chain, such as energy companies, vehicle manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, service providers, local authorities and other infrastructure providers.

    The competition closes to applications on 18 October 2017.

    For more information please click here: V2G

  • £14 Million Innovation in Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Systems: Real World Demonstrators Competition Open

    Through this programme, funding is available to support projects that investigate new business models, consumer awareness and technologies that support interaction between electric vehicles and the grid. So-called vehicle-to-grid technologies are expected to play a part in making the UK’s electricity supply network smarter and in encouraging take-up.

    Vehicles that can take electricity from the grid when demand is low and return it when demand is high could help to even out peaks and troughs and make the grid more efficient. The UK government wants nearly all cars to be zero emission by 2050, and it sees a smarter and more flexible electricity system as a benefit to consumers and a key to future growth.

    Innovate UK (IUK) has up to £14 million to award in this competition and IUK expects demonstrator projects to range in size from total costs of £1.5 million to £7 million. Projects in this competition should last up to three years.

    Projects must be collaborative and business-led. For larger projects, IUK expects to see participants from across the value chain, such as energy companies, vehicle manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, service providers, local authorities and other infrastructure providers.

    The competition closes to applications on 18 October 2017.

    For more information please follow this link: V2G

  • Local Media Works Awards (LMWAs)

    The Local Media Works Awards celebrate the UK’s most outstanding planning talent across media agencies, planners and buyers. The awards will challenge media planners from across the industry to come up with the best local media campaign in response to a brief set by a national client.

    The sponsor believes that local newspapers, in print and digital, offer a powerful proposition for national advertisers and claims that these awards will showcase and promote the unique strengths of these brands

    The Local Media Works Awards are open for all media agency planning/buying teams in the UK. Applicants are asked to create a relevant and engaging media plan.

    The 2017 Awards categories are:

    • Best of the Best
    • Best Use of Multi-platform
    • Best Strategy
    • Best Use of Local Targeting
    • Best Use of Content
    • Best Original Thinking

    Winners will receive a prize and an award to recognise their success. The Best of the Best category will have the opportunity to win £1,000 of Apple vouchers.

    Entries will be shortlisted by the judges and those chosen will be contacted and invited to attend an awards ceremony where the winners will be announced. The ceremony will take place on 9 November 2017 at The Hospital Club in London to celebrate all those shortlisted by the judging panel and winners will be awarded with their prizes.

    The deadline for entries is 15 September 2017.

    For more information please click here: LMWAs

  • Anchoring Low Carbon Technology in the UK Funding Competition

    The Anchoring Low Carbon Technology in the UK Competition has been established to fund collaborative research and development projects to develop low carbon automotive technologies that reduce emissions and increase capability in the supply chain. Projects must take demonstrated on-vehicle technologies towards commercialisation in either on or off road vehicles.

    APC8 is seeking proposals for collaborative research and development projects that demonstrate the development of technologies based around one or more of the following technology areas:

    • Producing lower-carbon transportation
    • Improving air quality
    • Developing a UK supply chain for the next generation of lightweight vehicles and propulsion systems

    Projects must demonstrate the development of technologies based around one or more of the Automotive Council’s ‘sticky’ technologies. These are:

    • Alternative propulsion systems
    • Electric machines and power electronics
    • Energy storage and energy management
    • Lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
    • Thermal propulsion systems

    Projects are expected to lead to significant reductions in vehicle CO2 emissions and improvements in air quality under operational conditions. Both CO2 and air quality improvements should be made with reference to comparable, best-in-class vehicles. Applicants must show how the project will strengthen UK capability and develop the UK’s supply chain in the field of low carbon vehicles.

    The total budget for this call is up to £35 million to fund a limited number of collaborative R&D pre-production projects. It is expected that total eligible project costs will be between £5 million and £40 million. Projects are expected to last between 18 and 42 months.

    Projects must be collaborative and business-led and include a vehicle manufacturer and/or a tier 1 supplier and at least one SME partner. Consortia must have a clear, demonstrable route to production and line of sight to market, within a short timeframe of project end.

    The deadline for registrations is midday on 20 September 2017.

    For more information please click here: Competition

  • IUK Launches Improving Operations Through Machine Learning SBRI Competition

    Improving Operations Through Machine Learning is an Innovate UK (IUK) Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition seeking to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of IUK’s operational functions.

    As many ideas as possible are sought for how machine learning can help IUK make the best use of its existing data. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence. It allows computers to become more accurate in predicting outcomes without explicit programming, using algorithms that iteratively learn from data.

    Applicants should show how they would develop and test a prototype application to improve operational efficiency and improve the efficiency and quality of decision-making, both pre and post-funding award.

    It is anticipated that this competition will run in two phases:

    • Phase one, technical feasibility: Projects should last up to four months and must be completed by 31 March 2018. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £50,000 including VAT. The total funding available for this phase is up to £250,000 including VAT.
    • Phase two, prototype development and evaluation: Projects should last up to six months. They can range in size up to a total cost of £250,000 including VAT. The total funding available for this phase is up to £500,000 including VAT.

    A decision to proceed with phase two will depend on the outcomes from phase one.

    This competition is open to UK businesses of any size.

    The deadline for registrations is 6 September 2017.

    Register here

  • £500,000 Business Productivity Portal SBRI Competition Launched

    The Business Productivity Portal is an Innovate UK Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition seeking to develop solutions that provide businesses with access to information on improving productivity. These solutions will help businesses at all levels (leaders, management and employees) access new opportunities to improve productivity levels where they work.

    Up to £500,000 (including VAT) is available for phase one of this competition. It is expected that projects will last up to four months and finish by 30 March 2018. Projects can range in size up to a total cost of £110,000 (including VAT). Projects will be 100% funded.

    The intention for phase two is to make available up to £500,000 (including VAT) to develop and evaluate prototypes or demonstrators, with contract values of up to £250,000 (including VAT).

    IUK is seeking proposals for feasibility studies on the:

    • Technical solution
    • Commercialisation plan for taking the solution into the market
    • Possible commercial models

    This competition is open to UK businesses of any size. Applicants can work alone or in collaboration with others.

    The deadline for registrations is midday on 20 September 2017.

    Register HERE

  • Launch of the 2017 BusinessGreen Technology Awards

    The BusinessGreen Technology Awards will celebrate the best of the UK’s pioneering clean tech sector, offering a platform to promote the green technologies and products that promise to transform the global economy.

    Open to businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, research programmes, and inventors the awards will highlight how this inspiring and innovative sector is delivering the cutting-edge clean technologies that make a sustainable economy possible.

    The awards complement the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards, which celebrate the best in green business innovation and sustainability initiatives, and are now established as the UK’s largest green business awards.

    The full list of categories for 2017 is:

    • App of the Year
    • Consumer Gadget of the Year
    • R&D Programme of the Year
    • Building Technology of the Year
    • Transport Technology of the Year
    • Supply Chain/Logistics Technology of the Year
    • Solar Technology of the Year
    • Wind Energy Technology of the Year
    • Marine Energy Technology of the Year
    • Bio-technology of the Year
    • Smart Grid Technology of the Year
    • Clean and Cool Award for International Impact
    • Future City Technology of the Year
    • Circular Economy Technology of the Year
    • Breakthrough of the Year
    • Clean Tech Marketing Campaign of the Year
    • Clean Tech Investor of the Year
    • Clean Tech Start-up of the Year
    • Innovator of the year
    • Fast Track Technology of the Year
    • Automotive Technology of the Year
    • Technology of the year
    • Lifetime Achievement Award

    The 2017 awards ceremony will take place in London on Friday 1 December 2017. The ceremony will bring together the best from across the clean tech community, providing a platform to promote some of the country’s most exciting green technologies.

    Clean tech firms with a presence in the UK are invited to submit their entries for the awards in either text, video or infographic format.

    “The BusinessGreen Technology Awards are now in their third year and have gone from strength-to-strength as more and more clean tech innovators have forced their way into the mainstream,” said BusinessGreen editor-in-chief James Murray.

    “With exciting new technologies emerging in multiple fields this promises to be the most competitive year yet and will provide companies with a unique opportunity to raise their profile with customers and stakeholders alike.”

    The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 6 October 2017.

    For more information please click here: Awards

  • The Queen's Awards for Enterprise

    About the awards

    The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of:

    • innovation
    • international trade
    • sustainable development
    • promoting opportunity through social mobility

    Find out if your business is eligible.

    What happens if your company wins

    If you win you’ll be:

    • invited to a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace, hosted by Her Majesty The Queen
    • presented the award at your company by one of The Queen’s representatives, a Lord-Lieutenant
    • able to fly The Queen’s Award flag at your main office, and use the emblem on your marketing materials (for example, on your packaging, advertisements, stationery and website)
    • given a Grant of Appointment and a commemorative crystal bowl

    The awards are valid for 5 years.

    Winners have reported benefiting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale.

    Find out when winners are announced.

    To apply please click here: The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 

    Please submit your application between 21 April and 1 September 2017 (midday)