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.

  • £20 Million Hydrogen Supply Competition for Energy Business Innovators

    The government has announced a £20 million boost for businesses embracing the potential for a future UK hydrogen economy. Hydrogen fuel is a safe and low-carbon alternative for energy in buildings, industry and transport, however, it is currently extremely costly to produce and transport.

    This is the latest clean technology to receive government funding, as a result of the Clean Growth Strategy.

    The £20 million Hydrogen Supply Programme will look to significantly reduce the high cost of producing large volumes of low carbon hydrogen, so that the technology can become a competitive, clean energy supply of the future.

    The competition aims to accelerate the development of a lower cost low carbon bulk hydrogen supply (with a focus on UK production). This will be achieved through two phases:

    1. Developing several hydrogen process engineering designs, alongside a supply / production plan, which details the development steps needed for each process.
    2. A development phase which will demonstrate key components or further develop the design of the new hydrogen production process.

    Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, said:

    “Clean, green and safe, hydrogen has an exciting role to play powering the UK but needs to be cheaper and more widely available to live up to its potential. [This] £20 million funding boost, part of our modern Industrial Strategy, will help to address these challenges so that we can sustain the exciting momentum building in our low carbon hydrogen economy, creating high-value jobs up and down the country.

    “Clean Growth is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy and creates huge opportunities for the UK, securing our place as global leaders in this field.”

    If you are interested in applying to the programme, please email industry.innovation@beis.gov.uk.

    Schedule Date/duration

    Launch of £20m BEIS Hydrogen Supply programme June 2018
    Phase 1 open for applications June to October 2018
    Phase 1 projects start November 2018
    Phase 1 complete, Phase 2 open for applications May 2019
    Phase 2 projects start June 2019
    Projects complete Before 31 March 2021

    If you are interested in applying to the programme, please read the Hydrogen Supply Programme guide HERE

  • £10 Million Innovation Loans for SMEs Competition

    This competition is part of the £50 million pilot Innovation Loans scheme introduced in autumn 2017 through Innovate UK (IUK). Innovation loans will be made through Innovate UK Loans Ltd; a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovate UK.

    The scheme aims to provide finance to businesses that is affordable, patient and flexible for projects that have a clear route to commercial success. IUK is to offer up to £10 million in loans for highly innovative late stage projects with the best game changing and/or disruptive ideas or concepts. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

    Projects should aim to develop new products, processes or services (or innovative use of existing ones) believed to be significantly ahead of anything similar in the field. Proposals can come from any technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries) and any part of the economy.

    This competition aims to help businesses overcome barriers to the best cutting edge, game changing innovations becoming a successful commercial reality. This includes making a considerable economic impact and/or resulting in significant, sustainable business growth. Projects must focus on commercialisation, growth or scale-up. Priority is given to proposals likely to lead to growth, gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export.

    There is a total of £10 million available in this competition. Individual loans of between £100,000 and £1 million are available. Projects should last up to five years and are expected to start by March 2019.

    The loans are aimed at innovative micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the UK that will be able to manage a loan, but may struggle to access finance from commercial lenders or schemes backed by the British Business Bank.

    To take on an innovation loan for a project the business must:

    • be a UK based SME;
    • carry out the project in the UK.

    The competition is now open with a deadline for registrations of 14 November 2018 and a closing date the following week on 21 November 2018.

    For more information and to apply please CLICK HERE.

  • Production Innovation for Immersive Content Competition

    Through the Production Innovation for Immersive Content Competition, Innovate UK (IUK) is investing in innovation projects to enable immersive content to be created faster and more efficiently.

    The aim is to explore future commercial opportunities in the creative industries through pre-commercial, innovative projects. These projects must enable immersive content to be created in new ways which improve significantly on the current ‘state of the art’.

    Projects must develop tools, products or services for creating and delivering immersive content and demonstrate innovation in software, hardware and/or development methodology.

    IUK defines immersive experiences as multisensory narrative or interactive experiences through technologies including:

    • virtual, mixed and augmented reality;
    • haptics;
    • advanced visualisation; and
    • other sensory interfaces.

    IUK is looking to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets and technological maturities. These may include feasibility studies, industrial research projects or experimental development projects.

    IUK has allocated up to £8 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Single SME projects lasting 6-12 months can have total project costs £100,000 to £250,000. Collaborative projects lasting 6 to 18 months can have total project costs £250,000 to £1 million.

    This competition is open to all creative industry organisations working with immersive technology. A content creator is an organisation within the creative industries that originates and produces creative works that can be protected through Intellectual Property Rights.

    Projects must be business led and the organisation can apply alone or collaborate with others. Projects must include at least one SME and collaborators can include other businesses, research organisations, public sector bodies or charities undertaking research activity.

    The competition is now open and the deadline for applications to be received is midday on Wednesday 28 November 2018.

    Apply HERE

  • 'The Road to Zero Emission Vehicles' - R&D, Large R&D & Feasibility Studies Competitions

    The fifteenth Innovate UK (IUK) Integrated Delivery Programme (IDP 15) is providing funding for organisations to undertake innovation projects that will speed-up the transition to zero emission road transportation in the UK.

    The government’s ambition is that all new cars and vans are effectively zero emission by 2040. Progress has been made over recent years to significantly reduce tailpipe emissions from diesel and gasoline engines and this is expected to continue. Government support through the IDP 15 competitions is focused on zero emissions and accelerating the uptake of zero emission vehicles.

    There are three separate competitions which make up the IDP 15 offering:

    1. The Feasibility Studies Competition provides £2 million to fund feasibility study projects. Total project costs should be up to £250,000.
    2. The R&D Competition will invest up to £16 million to fund smaller collaborative R&D innovation projects. Total project costs should be between £250,000 and £4 million.
    3. The Large R&D Competition will invest up to £4 million to support one high value, exceptional large project, focused on industrial research and experimental development. The total project costs can be any amount with a total grant cost up to £4 million.

    To be eligible for funding, applicants must be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO). All projects must be a collaboration between at least two grant claiming partners. The lead must be a UK business of any size.

    All three competitions are now open with a deadline for applications to be received of midday on Thursday 6 December 2018.

    Apply HERE

  • £10 Million Innovation Loans for SMEs: September 2018 Open Competition

    This competition is part of the £50 million pilot Innovation Loans scheme introduced in autumn 2017 through Innovate UK (IUK). Innovation loans will be made through Innovate UK Loans Ltd; a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovate UK.

    The scheme aims to provide finance to businesses that is affordable, patient and flexible for projects that have a clear route to commercial success. IUK is to offer up to £10 million in loans for highly innovative late stage projects with the best game changing and/or disruptive ideas or concepts. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

    Projects should aim to develop new products, processes or services (or innovative use of existing ones) believed to be significantly ahead of anything similar in the field. Proposals can come from any technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries) and any part of the economy.

    This competition aims to help businesses overcome barriers to the best cutting edge, game changing innovations becoming a successful commercial reality. This includes making a considerable economic impact and/or resulting in significant, sustainable business growth. Projects must focus on commercialisation, growth or scale-up. Priority is given to proposals likely to lead to growth, gains in productivity and/or access to new overseas markets through export.

    There is a total of £10 million available in this competition. Individual loans of between £100,000 and £1 million are available. Projects should last up to five years and are expected to start by March 2019.

    The loans are aimed at innovative micro, small and medium-sized businesses in the UK that will be able to manage a loan, but may struggle to access finance from commercial lenders or schemes backed by the British Business Bank.

    To take on an innovation loan for a project the business must:

    • be a UK based SME;
    • carry out the project in the UK.

    The competition is now open with a deadline for registrations of 14 November 2018 and a closing date the following week on 21 November 2018.

    Apply HERE

  • FedEx Small Business Grant UK Contest - New Round Now Open

    The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest has been set up to invest in small UK businesses in order to strengthen their activities and help them expand into new territories across the world.

    Successful applicants could win one of the following grants:

    • Grand prize of £20,000
    • Runner-up prize of £10,000

    The competition is open to small profit-making companies registered in the United Kingdom which at the time of entry:

    • are registered at Companies House in the UK; and
    • have filed at least one set of annual trading accounts; or
    • have a valid UK VAT number.

    The company must also be wholly owned by legal residents of United Kingdom who are independent owners/operators.

    Applications must be received by 28 November 2018.

    FedEx will announce the Top 10 Finalists on the Small Business Grant UK website on 6 December 2018. The Top 10 Finalists will be notified via email and asked to provide a second-round submission, submission due on 9 January 2019. FedEx will announce the final two Winners on 24 January 2019.

    For more details and to apply click HERE

  • November Expressions of Interest for UK Aerospace Research & Technology Programme

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK (IUK) and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) are seeking applications for innovative aerospace projects. This activity is part of the UK Aerospace Research and Technology (UKART) Programme; a joint government and industry investment for projects that will make the UK more competitive in civil aerospace.

    Grant funding will be provided, for businesses and researchers, to support innovative industrial research and capital projects that will enhance UK civil aerospace. Priority areas identified within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy include:

    • Whole aircraft design and integration
    • Aerostructures
    • Advanced systems
    • Propulsion technologies

    To lead a project or work alone the applicant must:

    • be a UK based business, of any size, to lead a research project;
    • be a UK based business, of any size, an academic organisation or a research technology organisation (RTO) to lead a capital project;
    • plan to carry out an aerospace research or technology development project in the UK.

    To collaborate on a project the applicant must be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO).

    Organisations can apply for a share of a £3.9 billion. The total project costs and project duration should be appropriate and in proportion to the planned objectives and prioritisation within the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy.

    The competition opens on 5 November 2018, and the deadline for submissions will be midday on 21 November 2018.

    To apply click HERE

  • Creative Europe MEDIA Funding Available for Audiovisual and Video Games Content

    2019 Support for Development of Audiovisual Content – Slate Funding Call

    This Call is open to European companies whose activities contribute to the objectives on the Creative Europe MEDIA Sub-programme, particularly to European independent audiovisual production companies which have been legally constituted for at least 36 months prior to the submission date and that can demonstrate a recent success. The applicant must also own the majority of rights related to the projects.

    Development activities for the following projects are eligible:

    • Feature films, animations and creative documentaries of a minimum length of 60 minutes intended primarily for cinematic release.
    • Fiction projects (one-off or series) of a total duration of minimum 90 minutes, animation (one-off or series) of a total duration of minimum 24 minutes and creative documentaries (one-off or series) of a total duration of minimum 50 minutes intended primarily for the purposes of television.
    • Fiction projects of a total duration or user experience of minimum 90 minutes, animation of a total duration or user experience of minimum 24 minutes and creative documentaries of a total duration or user experience of minimum 50 minutes intended primarily for the purposes of digital platform exploitation.

    In order to be eligible, applications must include a minimum of three and a maximum of five eligible projects.

    The total budget available is €12.5 million. The financial contribution awarded is a subsidy. Applications requesting a financial contribution of less than €70,000 will be ineligible.

    The deadline for applications is 20 February 2019.

    2019 Support for Development of European Video Games Call

    Under this Creative Europe MEDIA support scheme, applicants may submit a proposal to develop a concept and project (activities to the point that the concept leads to a playable prototype or trial version) of highly innovative and creative narrative storytelling video games designed for commercial exploitation for PCs, consoles, mobile devices, tablets, smart phones and other technologies. In all cases the video game must be intended for commercial exploitation.

    This Call is particularly aimed at European video game production companies which have been legally constituted for at least 12 months prior to the submission date and that can demonstrate a recent success. The applicant must also own the majority of the rights related to the submitted project.

    The total budget available is €3.78 million. The financial contribution awarded is a subsidy between €10,000 and €150,000 provided the amount does not exceed 50% of the total eligible costs of the action.

    The deadline for applications is 27 February 2019.

    For full guidance and to apply please click HERE.

  • Horizon 2020: Industrial Leadership - Dedicated SME Instrument 2019 Deadlines

    Horizon 2020 is the EU’s research and innovation programme for 2014 to 2020. The aim of the SME Instrument is to attract more SMEs to Horizon 2020, to provide support to a wider range of innovation activities and to help increase the economic impact of project results by its company-focused and market-driven approach.

    The SME Instrument supports high-risk, high-potential small and medium-sized enterprises to develop and bring to market new products, services and business models that could drive economic growth. The SME Instrument is for innovators with ground-breaking concepts that could shape new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and worldwide.

    Competition for SME Instrument support is high and very selective. Only the highest quality proposals will receive funding following a thorough evaluation by multinational panels of technology, business and finance experts.

    Selected companies receive funding and are offered business coaching to scale up their innovation idea, and can also receive mentoring. They are helped in networking with other SME Instrument clients, with other companies of all sizes, and with potential co-investors and follow-up investors across Europe. SME Instrument clients will gain visibility and increase their chances of success in European and international markets.

    For-profit SMEs – including young companies and start-ups from any sector – are eligible. They must be established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country. There are no set topics, although negative impacts on climate and the environment should be avoided.

    The SME Instrument provides full-cycle business innovation support. It has three phases, includes a coaching and mentoring service, and applications will be accepted throughout 2019 for Phase 1 and Phase 2:

    • Phase 1: Feasibility study. Funding is a lump sum of €50,000 Projects should last around six months
    • Phase 2: From concept to market. Grant funding is provided (funding rate 70%) of between €500,000 and €2.5 million. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete, but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases.
    • Phase 3: Commercialisation. Additional EU support extended via a range of business support services offered on the EIC Community Platform, open to SMEs benefiting from the different EIC calls for proposals.

    Deadlines in 2019 for Phase 1 proposals are: 13 February 2019; 7 May 2019; 5 September 2019; and 6 November 2019.

    Deadlines in 2019 for Phase 2 proposals are: 9 January 2019; 3 April 2019; 5 June 2019; and 9 October 2019.

     

  • Launch of EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019

    The European Commission has launched the 2019 edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. First run in 2011, the Prize aims to encourage more women to exploit the commercial and business opportunities offered by their research projects and to become entrepreneurs.

    Europe needs more innovators to stay competitive and to spur economic growth, but a disproportionately high number of well-educated women researchers do not consider entrepreneurship as an option. The Prize is intended to increase public awareness of the contribution of women researchers to entrepreneurship – and in turn to encourage entrepreneurial women to become innovators.

    The Prize is open to women who have founded or co-founded their company, which must have been registered before 1 January 2018. Applicants must, at some point of their careers, have benefitted from EU funding related to research and innovation. Contestants must be residents of an EU Member State (or a country associated to Horizon 2020). An additional ‘Rising Innovator Award’ is available to women aged 35 or under.

    Three prizes worth €100,000 are available for the winners, while the Rising Innovator Award is worth €35,000.

    The deadline for entries is 16 January 2019.

    An independent panel of judges from business and academia will select the best applicants, who will be invited for a hearing with the jury in early 2019.