Santander X UK Awards 2023

The University of Birmingham is looking for innovative student and graduate businesses to enter the Santander X UK Awards 2023.

Santander X UK Awards 2023. Win up to £25,000. Applications are now open. Igniting innovation. It starts here.Now in its 13th year, Santander's annual Entrepreneurship Awards is one of the UK's largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. To date, they've supported thousands of early-stage entrepreneurs and provided more than £900,000 in equity-free funding to start-ups and small businesses.

Winners in 2022 were UNI SIM, Team Repair, Milbotix, Kitt Medical, Konglomerate Games, and Wateraware Collective.

Enter the 2023 Competition:

This year’s programme has two categories:

  • University (for new businesses looking to launch)
  • Startup (for growing businesses ready to scale)

Traditionally a competition for university entrepreneurs, this year applications in the Startup category have been extended to include all UK businesses. 100 businesses (65 in the University category and 35 in the Startup category) will be shortlisted by 20 October. 

All shortlisted businesses in the university category will be invited to join a two-day in-person business bootcamp the week commencing 30 October. Following the bootcamp, all 100 businesses will pitch their business during Global Entrepreneurship week (13 – 17 November), where 12 finalists will be selected (six per category).

The finalists will pitch live at the National Final in London in December to a panel of high-profile judges, including Mike Regnier, Santander UK Chief Executive, and William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman, to select six winners (three per category) who will receive up to £25,000 and secure an automatic place in the Santander X Global Awards, the bank’s international early-stage entrepreneurship competition, where they’ll have the opportunity to compete against the best startups from across Europe and Latin America in Spring 2024.

Application deadline is Wednesday 13 September 2023

How the Santander X UK Awards can help your business

  • Funding: There are 12 cash prizes of up to £25,000 funding on offer
  • Skills Development: The 100 successful applicants will be invited to attend a free two-day in-person business bootcamp, with expert-led sessions and networking.
  • Powerful Connections: Throughout the programme and at the final, we’ll have industry experts and high-profile guests that the participants can network with and learn from
  • A Unique Community: As well as connecting individuals with industry experts, they’ll also have the chance to meet 99 other like-minded, ambitious entrepreneurs
  • Increased Visibility: The Santander X Awards 2023 is one of the UK's largest early-stage startup pitching competitions, with high-profile guests and national press coverage
  • Global Reach: The 6 winners will also participate in the Santander X Global Award, giving them a chance to showcase their venture at an international level!


  • University category: £15,000 - 1st place | £10,000 - 2nd place | £5,000 - 3rd place | £2,500 - 4th - 6th place
  • Startup category: £25,000 - 1st place | £15,000 - 2nd place | £10,000 - 3rd place | £2,500 - 4th - 6th place

Application process

This year application for both University and Startup categories will take place in two stages:

  1. Applicants must apply for the programme through the Santander X platform. Each category has its own application page. If not already registered on the platform applicants will first need to sign up and then complete an application form. Application for stage one is open from 13 July to 13 September 2023 for both categories.

    Applications for both stages will be evaluated by Oxentia, an independent third-party who are experts in the entrepreneurship and innovation space. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of stage one on 22 September 2023 in an email from Santander X.
  2. Applicants who are selected to progress to stage two will be asked to complete an additional application form on the Santander X platform which asks them more in-depth questions about their business. Applications for stage two will be open from 22 September to 6 October 2023.

    All applicants who progress to stage two and complete and submit their stage two application will be informed of the outcome on 20 October 2023 in an email from Santander X. For more details on the application process and the evaluation criteria please see the terms and conditions.

Apply for Santander X UK Awards 2023 here

 Competition Timeline

  • Stage one application deadline: 13 September 2023
  • Stage one shortlisting: 13 September to 22 September 2023

  • Stage two application window: 22 September to 6 October 2023
  • Successful applicants informed: 20 October 2023

Categories and Eligibility


The university category is for university entrepreneurs preparing their go-to-market strategy and looking to launch their business. To enter this category, businesses must:
  • Be disruptive and innovative, with the ability to scale.
  • Be linked to a UK university - at least one team member must be a current student or employee, a graduate of the last five years (since 2018), or an entrepreneur from a university incubator, accelerator, or spin-out.
  • Be preparing to go to market.
  • Have a team of two people or more (if you are a solo founder this can include advisors/board members and/or full/part-time staff including voluntary roles).
  • Have a minimum viable product (MVP).


The startup category is for UK-based businesses that are looking to scale. To enter this category, businesses must:
  • Be disruptive and innovative, with the ability to scale.
  • Be incorporated and registered as a UK company.

    Businesses must also meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Have a product and/or service already in the market with an annual sales revenue of £250,000 or more.

Santander webinar

Santander have produced an Information webinar which explains the 2023 competition process.

If you would like more informaton about the programme you can access the webinar recording using the below zoom link and passcode:

Please enter the passcode: P+7?q$p$

If you have any questions regarding the competition or the process to enter it please contact us at


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