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

    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

  • UK Social Enterprise Awards 2018

    Applications are now open for the 2018 UK Social Enterprise Awards. The Awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the achievements of people working at the heart of the sector. All social enterprises can apply, and there are specific categories that investors, corporates, public sector bodies and charities may also apply for.

    Winners will be announced at an Awards ceremony and gala dinner in a central London venue on Wednesday 28 November. There are fourteen categories in total and this year we’ve added a new one, the ‘Employee Engagement’ Award.

    Click here to read the eligibility criteria before completing the application form.

    To apply please CLICK HERE.

    Any questions? If you have any questions or queries about the Awards, please email the team at

  • EEF Photography Competition

    The EEF Photography Competition has opened for 2018, with a mission to garner images that present a picture of contemporary 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 engaging and inspiring photography which reflects today’s modern UK manufacturing sector.

    Images can be of 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 for 2018: ‘Celebrating Everyday Manufacturing’.

    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 under 20 in the United Kingdom.

    The deadline for entries is 30 September 2018.

    For more information please click HERE.

  • Transforming Food Production competition

    UK Research and Innovation, through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects. These must improve productivity and sustainability by developing enhanced decisions support, precision agriculture technology solutions and systems for crop and ruminant agriculture. The aim of this competition is to drive productivity and sustainability in crop and ruminant production systems.

    Projects can include:

    • combining digital technologies and engineering solutions with biological, environmental and/or social science
    • developing technologies and solutions that connect farms and supply chains
    • transferring technology from another sector into agriculture, providing this requires innovation
    Key Dates:

    • 20th August 2018 – Competition opens
    • 29th August 2018 – Briefing event
    • 24th October 2018 at 12:00pm – Competition closes

    For more information and to apply CLICK HERE.

  • Launch of the 2019 Ashden Awards to Promote Sustainable Energy

    The aim of the Ashden Awards is to promote the widespread use of local, sustainable energy, because of the environmental, social and economic benefits this provides. The Awards reward outstanding and innovative renewable energy projects in developing countries and in the UK, with funding for future developments.

    Through the scheme and related activities, these awards aim to persuade policymakers, funders and the wider public to recognise renewable energy efficiency as a crucial tool for addressing the urgent global issues of climate change, pollution and energy supply, as well as the social and economic needs of local communities across the globe.

    Ashden rewards innovative enterprises and programmes that deliver, or play a key part in enabling the delivery of, renewable energy and energy efficiency at the local level, and through this bring social, economic and environmental benefits.

    2019 prize package for the Ashden International Awards:

    • Award of up to £20,000
    • National and international media exposure
    • Tailored support to develop work even further
    • Media materials to help tell a story

    2019 prize package for the Ashden UK Awards:

    • Prize money of £10,000 per Award
    • National media exposure
    • Access to new networks and investors
    • Tailored support to help expand work

    In general, the awards are open to any type of organisation, including businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profits and public sector.

    The deadline for receipt of applications for the 2019 Awards is 6 November 2018.


  • £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.