SEED Fund: Money For Business

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We are committed to inspiring and nurturing entrepreneurial potential in our students and graduates. Whether you are looking to start your own business, set up as a freelancer or develop your enterprising skills, you can find the information and support you need via our service.

The SEED Fund is part of this service and helps grow new business ideas or start-ups and support enterprising initiatives developed by UAL students and graduates. From this year we are running three different levels of SEED Funding, to support you from the very first stages of developing your business idea through to testing it out and on to actually starting to trade.

Alongside the funding competitions, we offer talks, workshops, master classes and networking events to help you develop your ideas and grow your enterprising potential. We also offer opportunities to get feedback at each stage of the competition. The total amount of funding available this year is £30,000.

Timeline

Level 1 – Think it

Prizes of £100 plus support

17/10/16

Competition opens

12pm on 21/11/16

Deadline for entries

02/12/16

Panel review

06/12/16

Winners announced at December First Tuesday event

Level 2 – Try it

Awards of £500 plus support

03/01/17

Competition opens

12pm on 13/02/17

Deadline for entries

28/02/17

Panel review

07/03/17

Winners announced at March First Tuesday event

Level 3 – Do it

Grants of up to £5,000 plus support

02/05/17

Competition opens

12pm on 05/06/17

Deadline for entries

19/06/17

Shortlist announced

TBC late June 17

Final pitch to judging panel ahead of Creative Enterprise Awards (up to 5 x £5,000 grants available)

TBC July 17

Winners announced at Creative Enterprise Awards

Eligibility

  • Level 1 is open to current students only
  • Levels 2 and 3 are open to current students and recent graduates (within two years of graduation)
  • At least one of the business founders and current members of the business team must meet the eligibility criteria above
  • The enterprise must be new, i.e. not yet trading or only trading from July 2016
  • International collaborations and overseas trading and sourcing are encouraged, however projects must have a presence and base in the UK

LEVEL 1 - ‘Think it’ ideas competition

Competition open now.
Deadline for entries - 12pm on Monday 21 November 2016
Winners will be announced at the First Tuesday event on 6 December 2016.

This is our entry-level competition for current UAL students who might be interested in setting up their own business and would like to test their ideas and receive feedback. Current UAL students can enter the competition for the chance to win a £100 'Think it' prize. Winners will also qualify for additional support from the Careers & Employability team to help develop their business ideas further.

Complete the application form online by 12pm on Monday 21 November 2016.

LEVEL 2 – ‘Try it’ competition

Competition opens – 3 January 2017
Deadline for entries - 12pm on Monday 13 February 2017

The Level 2 competition is for current students and recent graduates (of up to two years) who have a business idea and want to test the market. Winners will qualify for awards of £500 plus additional support.

LEVEL 3 – ‘Do it’ competition

Following on from the two earlier feedback rounds comes the main competition of the year with up to £25,000 in seed funding and support available to the winning entries.

Competition opens – 2 May 2017
Deadline for entries – 12pm on Monday 5 June 2017

What the judges are looking for

  • All entries are judged equally and the judges are looking for:
  • An original product or service that addresses a clear market need
  • A good understanding of the market and how you will access it
  • A sound business model that clearly identifies how the business will make money
  • Evidence of the skills, experience and determination to succeed

The more evidence you give to prove your product, market, business model, and skills, the stronger your application will be. You may not feel that you have the right evidence or skillset at the time you apply, but don’t let this hold you back. You just need to explain how you will address this over time and show you have thought through any areas that need to be strengthened.

Ultimately, applications with a well-evidenced business case are better than unproven ideas, but a great idea can go a long way and we can advise you on how to gather the evidence and build the business case.

International students and graduates

International students and graduates who wish set up a business in the UK after graduating will need to apply for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa. More information is available on our International: Graduate Entrepreneur Visa page.