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

  • £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

  • Carbon Trust’s £9.2 Million Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator - First Competition Open

    The Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) has been established to help strengthen the global competitiveness of British industry. First trailed in January 2017 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the new four-year programme will fund a range of demonstration projects designed to reduce the cost of energy efficient technologies and extend the suite of energy-saving options available to industrial firms.

    The Carbon Trust, which is administering the programme, is encouraging industrial companies to apply in collaboration with technology developers. A ‘fast track’ process will be available for those businesses already engaged with a technology developer and looking for funding and advice to help run a demonstration project.

    The Accelerator also aims to address both technical and commercial challenges by providing tailored incubation support and co-funding to technology developers and start-ups to drive UK expertise, exports and jobs.

    The programme has an overall budget of £9.2 million. Technology developers can access co-funding of between £150,000 and £750,000, to support several demonstration projects, focusing on energy-saving technologies, across the UK. It is anticipated that between 15 and 25 pilot projects will be selected through the competitive application process to receive funding and implementation advice.

    The programme is open to all sectors in the UK and is technology-neutral, targeting near-commercial innovations that will have the largest cross-sectoral impact on industrial energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

    The technology must be ready to install, however, if it is not yet ready applicants can wait until that is the case and then apply if there is funding remaining.

    The first competition is now open. The deadline for applications is 31 January 2018, however, this is not a hard deadline; rather the deadline is flexible.

    For more information please click here: Competition

  • EU Prize for Women Innovators 2018

    The European Commission has launched the 2018 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, and yet a large number of well-educated women researchers do not consider entrepreneurship as an option, either through lack of awareness or for other reasons. The Prize is intended to increase public awareness of the contribution of women researchers to entrepreneurship – and to encourage entrepreneurial women to become innovators.

    The Prize is open to women who have founded or co-founded their company and who have at some point of their careers 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).

    The following prizes are on offer:

    • 1st prize – €100,000.
    • 2nd prize – €50,000.
    • 3rd prize – €30,000.
    • Rising Innovator Prize of €20,000.

    The deadline for entries is 15 November 2017 (17:00 Brussels local time).

    An independent panel of judges from business and academia will select the 12 best applicants, who will be invited for a hearing with the jury in January 2018. All participants will be informed about the outcome of the contest in the first quarter of 2018.

    For more information please click here: Women Innovators

     

  • Emerging and Enabling Technologies Competition - Round Three

    Innovate UK (IUK) has launched Round Three 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.

    IUK has allocated up to £15 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Projects will range in size from total project costs of £35,000 to £2 million. Projects must last between three months and three years.

    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 receipt of applications is midday on 8 November 2017.

    For more information please follow this link: Round Three

  • IUK Launches Precision Medicine: Impacting through Innovative Technology Funding Competition

    Precision medicine is one of the priority themes for Innovate UK’s health and life science sector. IUK has launched a competition to fund innovation projects that support the development of precision medicine technologies; defined as better targeting of treatments for patients by combining clinical knowledge with advances in diagnostic techniques and data analysis.

    It is estimated that between 30% and 70% of patients respond positively to any one particular drug. Companies producing precision medicine technologies should avoid focusing too much on technology and not enough on end user needs. This issue can be exacerbated by companies not having the time or resources to explore these issues at an early stage.

    This competition seeks solutions to these challenges. Applications can be for feasibility studies to help companies assess the research, development and adoption issues their concept will need to address and the likelihood of success, or research and development to help companies develop and trial precision medicine technology.

    IUK has allocated up to £6 million to fund innovation projects in this competition. Feasibility projects can be up to £100,000 and last up to 12 months. They may be either single-company SME projects or collaborative projects led by an SME. Research and experimental development projects can range from £1 million to £2 million and last up to 24 months. They may be led by a business or research and technology organisation or undertaken as collaborative projects.

    Applicants must explain clearly how their proposed technology will advance precision medicine. Applications that can provide evidence of engagement with regional precision medicine centres of expertise across the UK are particularly encouraged.

    The deadline for applications is 25 October 2017.

    For more information and to apply please click here: Competition

  • The Fintech for All Competition

    The Fintech for All Competition has been established to support efforts to ensure the UK remains the global leader in fintech (financial technology). The competition aims to showcase how fintech innovation can change the world for the better, including financial inclusion, capability and wellbeing.

    Fintech for All is an opportunity to demonstrate how UK fintech start-ups are revolutionising financial services; an innovation that can contribute to solving financial inclusion and improving the financial prospects of people in the UK.

    Fintech companies that promote financial inclusion and financial capability in the following areas will be supported:

    • Starting to actively save and plan for the unexpected.
    • Confidently managing money and tracking day-to-day financial transactions.
    • Understanding and managing credit better.
    • Identifying and accessing more suitable financial products.
    • Facilitating access to financial products through innovations in credit scoring and ID/address requirements.

    The top three applications will be invited to an award ceremony on 15 November 2017 where they will pitch in front of expert judges who will decide on the final winners. Runners-up in each category will also get a chance to attend the event and showcase their product or service.

    The prize package includes:

    • Customer insight support from the Money Advice Service, worth at least £70,000 to the business.
    • The Experian Spotlight Award – awarded to an entrant in any category and aimed at recognising outstanding concepts, products or services.
    • Collaborate with Citizens Advice to further test and refine a product or service with access to target customers.
    • Two complimentary tickets to Money20/20 Europe2018 for each winner.
    • Expert mentoring sessions with Money Advice Service, Mustard Seed Ventures, Bethnal Green Ventures, Lloyds Banking Group, Toynbee Hall and Ascension Ventures and others.
    • Promotion across key financial services institutions.
    • Exposure for the brand across Tech City UK website and social media channels.

    The deadline for applications is 20 October 2017.

    To apply please click here: Fintech For All

  • Small Business Grants Competition

    The SmallBusiness.co.uk Small Business Grants Initiative has been established to give promising new businesses the opportunity to receive a cash prize to help them become established and grow their operations into successful enterprises.

    Every month, one business deemed by a panel of independent judges to be the most deserving will benefit from a package including a financial grant, as well as being featured on the Small Business Grants website as a monthly winner.

    The winners will be those companies deemed to have the most potential in their sector, based on factors such as turnover growth, innovation, aspiration, key projects completed, contracts won and partnerships forged.

    The prize for each Promotion is a cash deposit of £5,000. This is a grant that does not have to be repaid. In addition to receiving cash, grant winners will benefit from editorial coverage exploring how they used the money; articles that offer an insight into how a cash injection can benefit small businesses and help them flourish.

    The money can be used towards marketing the business offering, investing in technology, or perhaps taking on some part-time staff.

    Small businesses in the UK that are actively trading, at least one year old and with a turnover between £50,000 and £500,000 annually may apply. Small businesses are those that employ fewer than 50 staff. The business could be operating in any sector, for example a cafe, those operating a business from home, or perhaps managing a franchise.

    Companies may only apply for this initiative every three months so those applying in October will need to wait until January 2018 to enter the competition again.

    The October competition is accepting applications until 31 October 2017.

    APPLY HERE

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