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

  • Chamber Business Awards

    The Chamber Awards, which celebrate the success and achievements of businesses around the UK, are open to entries for 2017.

    This year’s awards are made up of the following categories:

    • Small Business of the Year
    • Export Business of the Year
    • Best Use of Technology
    • High Growth Business of the Year
    • Commitment to People Development
    • Education and Business Partnership
    • Excellence in Customer Service
    • Health and Wellbeing
    • Best Use of Social media

    Free entry is open to UK-accredited Chamber of Commerce members and winners may be requested to participate in post-event publicity. There is a fee for non-members to enter.

    Regional winners receive a framed certificate. National winners will receive a certificate and a personalised trophy.

    For 2017 the Business of the Year winner will open the London Stock Exchange in March 2018. They will also have an opportunity to work with Rada and join a communication skills and impact course.

    Regional winners will be announced in late summer and national winners will be announced on 30 November 2017 at the Chamber Awards ceremony.

    The closing date for receipt of entries is 30 June 2017.

    For more information click here: Awards

  • Emerging and Enabling Technologies Competition - Round Two

    Innovate UK (IUK) has launched Round Two of its Emerging and Enabling Technologies Competition. The programme will invest in new technologies and the underpinning capabilities that improve existing industries. The aim is to inspire the new products, processes and services of tomorrow, for the benefit of industry and to disrupt existing markets.

    An emerging technology is one that is progressing in, or has recently emerged from, the research base. It allows something new to take place that was not possible before. Because of this, it disrupts existing markets and enhances value to customers. It can improve lives and lead to new sources of wealth generation. Enabling technologies underpin the development of high-value products and services in many industrial sectors and markets. They improve performance and productivity.

    For the current round, IUK has four priority areas:

    • Emerging technologies.
    • Digital.
    • Enabling capabilities, including electronics, sensors and photonics (ESPs), robotics and autonomous systems, and creative economy.
    • Space applications.

    Projects are expected to last between six months and three years and to range in size from total costs of £35,000 to £2 million, depending on the type of project.

    Projects must be UK business-led and involve at least one SME. The applicant must carry out the project work and intend to exploit the results within the UK.

    SMEs can work alone or in collaboration with other businesses or research organisations if the eligible project costs are up to £100,000. If the eligible project costs are more than £100,000, the business must work with at least one other business or research organisation (at least one of which must be an SME).

    The deadline for registrations is noon on 3 May 2017.

    Register and apply online.


  • £9 Million Accelerating Innovation in Rail Round 4 Funding Competition

    The Accelerating Innovation in Rail Round 4 Funding Competition will support growth in national and international rail markets. The focus is on improving the potential that exists in UK industry to innovate in the rail and light-rail domains. Innovate UK (IUK) is particularly looking for novel approaches that have potential for exploitation in the near-term, and innovations that will deliver real benefits to the travelling public.

    IUK has allocated up to £9 million to fund collaborative research and development (R&D) projects addressing the competition’s technical challenge. IUK expects to distribute:

    • up to £4.5 million for projects on ‘high-value, low-cost railway innovation’; and
    • up to £4.5 million for projects on ‘improving customer experience through stations’.

    This is a single-stage competition. Projects should last between three and 12 months. IUK expects the total cost of projects to range from £150,000 to £1 million. It may consider larger projects, but these should be discussed with IUK before making an application.

    The funding can be used for collaborative R&D projects addressing the technical challenges outlined in the scope. The specific competition themes are:

    • High-value, low-cost railway innovations
    • Improving customer experience through stations

    Proposals must be collaborative, business-led and involve a UK small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). Projects must also clearly present the benefits to business and the impact on UK and international rail.

    Register and apply HERE

    The competition opens Monday 20 March 2017.

    You must register before midday on Wednesday 10 May 2017.

    You must apply before midday on Wednesday 17 May 2017.

    For more information please click here: Innovation in Rail

  • Innovation in Cycling and Walking SBRI Competition Open

    The Innovation in Cycling and Walking SBRI Competition will fund up to £470,000 for innovative projects that lead to more walking and cycling by tackling current barriers and encouraging more journey stages to be made by bicycle or on foot. Innovations may include, for example, technology, infrastructure, manufacturing or behavioural change interventions.

    The government’s vision is for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys and it is estimated that cycling’s contribution to the UK economy is around £3 billion. The benefits of increasing rates of cycling and walking are substantial. For people, it means cheaper travel and better health. For businesses, it means increased productivity and footfall. For society as a whole it means lower congestion, better air quality, and more vibrant, attractive places and communities.

    Up to £170,000 is allocated for phase 1 of the competition and up to £300,000 for phase 2:

    • Phase 1 (proof of concept): projects should last up to 15 weeks and range in size up to a total cost of £25,000 each.
    • Phase 2 (demonstrator projects): projects should last up to nine months and range in size up to a total cost of £100,000 per project.

    Through this open competition, the funder is looking to fund a portfolio of projects that propose innovative means of tackling the barriers to walking and cycling.

    This competition is open to individuals, groups and organisations. It is particularly suitable for early stage, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Industry partners such as local government and independent organisations can carry out the project on their own or with others.

    The deadline for registrations is 7 June 2017.

    The competition opens on 19 April 2017.

    You must register before midday on 7 June 2017.

    You must apply before midday on 14 June 2017.

    Attend the briefing event on 25 April 2017.

  • 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