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.

  • 2018 Baldwins Kick Start Award Offers £20,000 to Young Entrepreneurs in the UK

    Baldwins Kick Start is an annual award programme for young entrepreneurs who have a good idea and would like to start their own business. The programme was established by Baldwins Accountants to find and develop the ‘Youth Entrepreneurs’ of the future.

    Baldwins hopes to reach those young people who have talent, drive, ambition and ideas but who lack access to the necessary funding and business support needed to start up in enterprise.

    The programme has a total budget of £300,000, running over ten years.

    The winner of the award will be given a grant of £10,000 coupled with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice. Two runners-up will be presented with £5,000 worth of accountancy advice and mentoring.

    The scheme is open to UK-based young people aged between 18 and 25 who either have an idea and a business plan but are yet to start trading, or a newly founded start-up business where trading commenced on or after 31 August 2017.

    Applications for the current round close on 31 August 2018.

    For more information please click HERE

  • DepicT! Filmmaking Competition - 2018 Call for Entries

    DepicT! is an international short film competition which seeks to unearth up-and-coming film-making talent in the UK.

    The contest is open to applications from film-makers with productions that last no longer than 90 seconds but still manage to show originality, imagination and the ability to engage audiences. Films can focus on a wide range of genres, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental or artist film and hybrid work.

    The competition carries the following prizes in 2018:

    • Main DepicT! Award – £1,500 cash + Lifetime membership to Shooting People
    • DepicT! Royal Photographic Society Cinematography Award – £1,000 cash
    • DepicT! British Special Mention Award – A special package of support which will both promote the winning 90-second film and further develop the filmmaker’s skills including:
      • A tailored package of industry support from BAFTA, including a mentoring session and six months’ free access to BAFTA’s Learning & Events programme
      • A place on a short course at the National Film and Television School
      • Lifetime membership to Shooting People, plus e-mentoring from senior SP members
    • DepicT! Random Acts Special Mention Award – A unique opportunity to be featured on Channel 4’s Random Acts platform and a chance to pitch for a new Random Acts commission
    • Shooting People Audience Award – Lifetime membership to Shooting People

    All DepicT! Shortlisted entrants will get:

    • film exposure and promotion through, at Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival and through associated partners;
    • an Encounters Network Delegates pass with all the trimmings, including tickets to the popular DepicT! showcase and the prestigious Encounters Awards Ceremony; and
    • half price Shooting People membership.

    Film-makers in the UK may apply.

    The deadline for entries to the 2018 competition is 5pm on Monday 2 July 2018.

    Please visit to learn more about the competition.

  • £10,000 F Factor Competition for Tech Savvy Young Entrepreneurs - 2018 Round Open

    The F Factor Competition was set up to celebrate ten years of the Founders Forum. Through a pitching event taking place in the summer, the contest awards funding for exceptional ideas for apps, games or technology businesses. The aim is to empower young people who might not otherwise have access to inspirational investors or world-class technology experts.

    Entrants do not require a business plan or any relevant experience. The finalists must be available to attend Founders Forum in London on 14 June 2018. They will also be required to attend a workshop day prior to the event where they will receive expert help in pitching their idea.

    One individual or team will receive a cash prize of £10,000. As well as the cash prize, the five finalists will get the chance to meet and pitch to some of the best tech investors in the world – so more than one business may end up being created from the competition. All ideas will remain the property of the entrant.

    The money can be used by the winner to launch their company; however, it is entirely up to the winner how they spend the money. For example, they may wish to use it to develop an idea, or perhaps invest it in infrastructure such as a new computer set up, for example, or undertake a research trip abroad.

    Individuals or teams of up to two young people can pitch an idea for a tech business based on an app, mobile technology, gaming, computing or internet-based retail.

    Entrants must be aged between 14 and 25 (inclusive). Entrants will not be judged on their CV or what they have achieved in the past. They just need to have the start of a business idea for apps, games or technology businesses. Entrants might be still at school or university in the UK.

    Entries can be submitted until Friday 25 May 2018.

    More details HERE


  • 360 giving launches data visualisation challenge

    The global Visualisation Challenge is inviting anyone with an interest in design, analytics or data journalism to submit their original data visualisations using 360 Giving’s grant data.

    The Challenge asks participants to address two questions selected from suggestions crowdsourced from 360Giving’s user community:

    1. Thematic trends: Who has funded what over the years?
    2. User-led organisations: Who funds them, in what thematic area, how much funding do they receive and what are their organisational structures?

    Prize awards of £2,000, £4,000 and £6,000 are available

    Applications close on 15 July 2018

    For more information please click HERE

  • APC 10: advancing the UK’s low carbon automotive capability

    The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) invests approximately £30 million, 3 times a year, in collaborative research and development (R&D) projects. These are pre-production projects and must be match funded.

    APC 10 is seeking proposals for UK based R&D projects that significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality. The projects must focus on technologies directly linked with the long-term development of zero-emission capability, such as:

    • motors
    • batteries
    • power electronics
    • hybridisation
    • alternative propulsion systems

    The project’s primary application should be for the automotive industry. APC is particularly looking for projects that support the UK’s long-term capabilities in the design, build and manufacture of zero-emission vehicles. These projects should help make those capabilities a permanent part of the UK supply chain.

    This competition follows a 2 stage process.

    1. Written application.
    2. Interviews for successful applicants from the first stage.

    Total eligible project costs can range from £5 million to £40 million. The project can last between 18 and 42 months. There may be opportunities to fund a project outside these guidelines. Contact APC on 02476 528 700 before you make a submission.

    For more information please click HERE

  • Establishing a core innovation hub to transform UK construction

    Innovate UK as part of UK Research and Innovation will invest up to £72 million to establish a core innovation hub (CIH) to transform the UK construction sector.

    The core innovation hub will support collaboration across the digital, manufacturing and construction sectors to develop and commercialise digital and manufacturing technologies for the construction sector. The hub consortium will enable these sectors to collaborate to:

    • develop a digitally driven, manufacturing approach to built assets
    • improve construction sector productivity
    • optimise the whole-life performance of those assets

    It will lead a programme to develop standards, tools, designs and regulation methods. These will support a sustainable marketplace for digitally driven manufacturing in construction.

    Whilst activities in the hub will be undertaken in existing facilities, it is expected that it will actively develop links with other centres, business and academia to support innovation in construction across the UK.

    Total project costs can be up to £72 million. Projects should start on 1 August 2018 and last for 4 years.

    For more information please click HERE


  • Open Programme Funding Competition - Round One

    Innovate UK (IUK) is the UK’s innovation agency and, as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), works with people, companies and partner organisations to de-risk, enable and support innovation, and promote UK economic growth.

    IUK’s vision is to help the UK economy grow over and above other nations by inspiring and supporting pioneering UK businesses to create the industries of the future. The Open Programme Funding Competition is designed to help businesses develop cutting-edge ideas for innovative new products and services that could have an economic impact on the UK economy.

    This competition is open to the best ideas or concepts with a view to commercialisation. These can come from any area of technology, science or engineering, including arts, design, media or creative industries. They can fit into, or be outside of, any one or more of Innovate UK’s Challenge Areas.

    Projects can focus on disruptive and game-changing ideas in any sector of the economy. They can be of various kinds, from small feasibility studies to longer industrial research or experimental development projects. Priority will be given to proposals that are likely to lead to sustainable gains in productivity or access to new overseas markets through export-led business growth.

    IUK has allocated up to £20 million to fund innovation projects through grants in this Open competition. IUK expects projects to range in size between £25,000 and £2 million and for them to last between 6 and 36 months.

    To lead a project, applicants must be a UK-based business of any size or a research and technology organisation (RTO). The project must be undertaken in, and exploit results from, the UK. Applicants may work alone or in collaboration with others (businesses, research base and third sector).

    The competition is now open and the deadline for applications is at midday on Wednesday 11 July 2018.

    For more information and to apply click HERE

  • First GovTech Catalyst Competition: ‘Identifying Daesh Still Imagery’

    A new GovTech Catalyst competition, Identifying Daesh Still Imagery, has been announced. GovTech is designed to help the public sector identify and work with cutting-edge technology firms. It is undertaken through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) process – supported by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (IUK).

    GovTech aims to encourage small, emerging technology businesses to create and develop innovative solutions to public services that, once proven, can move to scale both to the advantage of markets and society. For this competition, UK digital and technology firms, working alone or with a research base or the third sector, are invited to pitch innovative solutions to the challenge of identifying online still image propaganda created by Daesh.

    Daesh poses a threat to UK national security as it seeks to expand its terror network, using propaganda to radicalise and recruit citizens from the UK and across the world. The Home Office already has the technology to determine 94% of Daesh videos with 99.995% accuracy. However, 80% of Daesh media is still imagery. These images, tailored for local markets, rarely contain consistent features, meaning innovation is needed to have the same success as for video.

    The government is looking for concepts that can be developed into workable solutions. Winning companies will be awarded up to £50,000 to develop their ideas. A further £500,000 may be available to continue development and test the successful solutions in the public sector.

    Registrations for this competition open on 14 May 2018 and close on 20 June 2018. The competition closes a week later, on 27 June 2018.

    To apply and for more information please click HERE.

  • New Competitions for Immersive Audience Experiences

    Innovate UK (IUK) is the UK’s innovation agency and, as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) works with people, companies and partner organisations to de-risk, enable and support innovation, and promote UK economic growth.

    IUK has up to £17 million available to invest in projects to test and generate new ideas for immersive experiences for audiences and transform the creative industries. The funding is part of the audience of the future programme within the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

    Immersive experiences such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality have the potential to revolutionise the way people interact with the world. Industries that could benefit include advertising and marketing, architecture, fashion, film and television, gaming, publishing, museums, and music and performing arts.

    There are two parts to this competition. Up to £16 million is available for four demonstrator projects for immersive experiences with audiences of more than 100,000 people. A further £1 million is available for early-stage projects that seek to understand customer needs for immersive experiences and the tools required to deliver them.

    Demonstrator Projects

    Demonstration projects must explore new ways of communication with mass audiences using new immersive technologies and experiences that are a significant advance on the state-of-the art in the chosen area. Areas with strong potential could include moving images, access to live sporting events, visitor experiences in museums and galleries, and music and theatre performance. Applicants must be able to access or use globally-recognised intellectual property (IP). IUK expects total project costs to be between £5 million and £10 million and for projects to last up to two years.

    Projects must be led by a business, working with other businesses or researchers and include at least one SME.

    Design Foundations

    Early-stage projects should use human-centred design and look at audience behaviour to develop ideas for new products and services. Particular areas could include:

    • advancing the state-of-the-art with immersive experiences that are desirable and fit-for-purpose;
    • producing high-quality immersive content cheaper, faster and in a way that is more accessible;
    • improving physical devices such as eyewear and controllers, or haptic feedback; and
    • new digital platforms and services to deliver immersive content;

    IUK expects total project costs to be between £20,000 and £60,000 and to last between two and six months.

    Projects must be led by a business working alone or in collaboration with other businesses, researchers or cultural institutions and must include at least one SME.

    Both competitions open on 21 May 2018. The deadline for applications for Demonstrator projects will be midday on 1 August 2018 and the deadline for Design Foundations projects will be midday on 4 July 2018.

    For more information please click HERE

  • £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.”

    Details of how to apply will be reported when they become available.

    If you are interested in applying to the programme, please email

  • Robotics and AI: Inspect, Maintain and Repair in Extreme Environments Competition

    The Robotics and AI: Inspect, Maintain and Repair in Extreme Environments Competition is administered by Innovate UK (IUK) – the UK’s innovation agency, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); and funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

    IUK is investing in business led-collaborations to develop robotic and artificial intelligence (RAI) systems that remove humans from infrastructure inspection, maintenance and repair in extreme environments.

    The challenge is to develop technologies and systems that make unmanned operation the standard approach in areas such as off-shore energy, nuclear energy, mining and space.

    In this competition individuals can apply to take part, on behalf of their organisation, in a five-day residential Innovation Lab, which will run from 10 to 14 September 2018. The attendees will work together to develop collaborative proposals for research and innovation projects.

    After the Innovation Lab the developed project collaborations will have three weeks to finalise their proposals before submitting them for assessment.

    To apply for the collaborative residential workshop (the Innovation Lab) applicants must:

    • be nominated to act as a representative on behalf of an organisation;
    • attend on behalf of a UK-based business, academic organisation, research and technology organisation (RTO) or charity;
    • have the technical competence necessary to collaborate with other participants on solutions to the challenge.

    To apply to attend the Innovation Lab, applicants must:

    • commit to attending all five days on a residential basis at the nominated UK location (to be announced in the next few weeks);
    • show they are able to work collaboratively and have the relevant skills, expertise and experience to represent the organisation;
    • describe the financial and other resources the organisation can commit;
    • be from an organisation that is eligible to submit a project proposal.

    IUK is looking for a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds, bringing together people who would not normally work together, ensuring the equality, diversity and inclusion of participants.

    The competition is now open and the deadline for applications is midday on Wednesday 11 July 2018.

    For more information please click HERE.