The launch of an exciting new competition, with a top prize of £25, 000 for your business!
The UK has a track record of undergraduates and recent graduates establishing world leading, market defining companies and brands. Such companies include; Innocent Smoothies – Founded by three graduates one year out of university, Last.fm – Founded by an undergraduate at Southampton University, Moneysupermarket.com – Founded by a student at Nottingham University, Sage – Founded by students from Newcastle University, as well as entrepreneurs who are now household names, such as Sir James Dyson, who launched his first product whilst studying as an undergraduate at the Royal College of Art.
So, we here at FIG have collaborated with Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) and LinkedIn to launch a nationwide business plan competition, the RBS EnterprisingU. The initiative is open to any student or graduate of the past five years with the drive and determination to start and succeed in business. The application process and judging criteria are focussed on ensuring businesses and their founders are investible propositions, meaning the competition is centred on discovering the founders of the business success stories of tomorrow.
Submissions for the RBS EnterprisingU will be made through FIG’s platform, a free-to-use online tool that provides a framework to build and critically assess the viability of entrants’ business plans. The application process goes beyond a form-filling exercise; it’s designed to cultivate the skills young entrepreneurs need to succeed in business.
A shortlist will be chosen by a judging panel made up of active angel investors, such as the founder of Mr and Mrs Smith.com, Andrew Grahame, and sponsors. Excellent applicants will be chosen and invited to attend workshops run by FIG, covering sessions from how to deliver a successful pitch to accounting and legal advice, as well as effective networking and business banking.
From these, up to ten teams will be selected to pitch at an investor day that will be hosted by FIG, who has already raised over £2.5m of capital for recent graduates’ start-ups over the last 18 months. It will be attended by a wealth of angel investors where, in addition to the opportunity to raise equity finance, three winning teams will each take home a cash prize grant of up to £25,000.
Peter Ibbetson, Small Business Chairman, NatWest and RBS: “The future of our economy relies on a new generation of start-up businesses. No one would disagree that the UK wants, and needs, more entrepreneurs, and our universities are full of students ambitious to become chief executives of their own companies rather than starting at the bottom of someone else’s. RBS EnterprisingU is an important initiative that helps young entrepreneurs not only showcase their business ideas, win cash and attract investment, but also develop the skill sets required to be a successful business founder.”
James King, Founder, Find Invest Grow: “It’s more important than ever to facilitate students’ and graduates’ entrepreneurial mettle and apply this in such a way that is attractive to the investment community. We are looking to uncover businesses that makes angel investors sit up and take notice, businesses with high -growth potential and with the ability to generate significant returns. We are looking for business acumen and success in the real world; viability is the name of the game.”
Amy Miller, Marketing Manager, LinkedIn UK: “LinkedIn is very proud to sponsor The RBS EnterprisingU. It’s a fantastic scheme that develops, recognises and rewards the UK’s incredibly enterprising students and recent graduates. Through the FIG platform and workshops, entrants have the chance to evaluate and enhance their business ideas and the skills they need to support them. Finalists will also get access to some of the best angel investors in the business; the competition will no doubt open many doors, not only to the winner but to anyone who takes advantage of the advice, guidance and investment opportunities on offer.”
The competition is the second project RBS, LinkedIn and FIG have collaborated on. The three firms are currently running an accreditation scheme, sponsored by RBS and LinkedIn, the RBS Enterprising Student Societies Accreditation (RBS ESSA) that rewards and encourages entrepreneurship amongst student societies.