Santander UK and Oxentia launch annual entrepreneurship competition, as demand for support among aspiring UK businesses grows year-on-year

  • Applications for the Santander X UK Awards1 2024 are now open.
  • Now in its 14th year, Santander’s annual entrepreneurship awards have provided over £1 million in funding and business support to thousands of UK businesses to date.
  • Demand for support among entrepreneurs continues to grow, with entries for the Santander X UK Awards doubling year-on-year for the past three years. 

Santander UK is offering emerging startups across the UK the opportunity to win up to £25,000 funding and business support through the Santander X UK Awards 2024. 

The Santander X UK Awards are one of the UK’s largest early-stage business pitching competitions, having provided over £1 million in vital funding and business support to thousands of UK businesses to date.

The programme hastwo categories:University(for new businesses looking to launch) andStartup(for growing businesses ready to scale). Working with Oxentia Ltd 100 businesses (50 in the University category and 50 in the Startup category) will be shortlisted by 6 September. The shortlisted businesses will be invited to join a series of online expert-led pitch workshops and receive one-to-one and group coaching. All 100 businesses will then pitch through a series of online and in-person heats to select 12 finalists (six per category). On 14 November, the finalists will pitch live at the National Final at Unity Place (Santander UK’s headquarters in Milton Keynes) to a high-profile panel of judges, including Mike Regnier, Santander UK Chief Executive and William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman.  
The six winners
(three per category) will receiveup to £25,000 fundingandgo forward to represent the UK in theSantander X Global Awards, the bank’s international entrepreneurship competition, where they will have the opportunity to compete against the best early-stage startups from across Europe and Latin America in Spring 2025. 

Research by Santander1 reveals that nearly half of adults are more determined to start their own business since the Covid-19 pandemic, with 63% of UK entrepreneurs saying they lack the support and know-how to take their business to the next level. The demand for support among young and aspiring founders is certainly growing, with entries for the Santander X UK Awards doubling year-on-year for the past three years. 

Mike Regnier, CEO, Santander UK said: “It brings me great excitement to announce the launch of the Santander X UK Awards for the 14th year. It’s clear there is a growing demand for support among early-stage start-ups, and we are committed to supporting these entrepreneurs and helping to remove the barriers they face when starting out.  

“The Awards offer ambitious entrepreneurs business support, networking opportunities and the chance to win vital funding to help take their business to the next level. So, if your business is disruptive and innovative with the ability to scale, look no further and apply for the Santander X UK Awards 2024  today.”

Hanan Tantush, Founder of Intotum and Santander X UK Awards 2023 (University) winner said: "Winning the Santander X UK Awards has been instrumental in propelling Intotum, my adaptive clothing business forward. They’ve provided a platform to amplify our mission of creating positive change for the disabled community. 

The Santander X Awards foster a culture where entrepreneurship meets social responsibility, ultimately reshaping the business landscape for the better. As a judge for the final this year, I can’t wait to hear from this year’s entries and am excited to play a role in supporting the next change makers in the business community." 

Simon Sansome, Founder of Snowball and Santander X Awards 2023 (Startup) winner added: “The team at Santander have been so supportive throughout the process and the networking opportunities have been fantastic. I’m really looking forward to joining the judging panel this year to see what new innovations UK entrepreneurs are coming out with and give new founders a great platform to boost their business.”

For more information, and to apply to enter the Santander X UK Awards 2024, visit:  Applications close on 16 July 2024. 

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Notes to Editors

  1. The research was conducted by OnePoll between 20 October and 27 October polling a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults.   


Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2023, the bank had around 19,800 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, 7 million digital customers via a nationwide 444 branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the FCA and the PRA in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the FSCS in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain and one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. The group’s activities are consolidated into five global businesses: Retail & Commercial Banking, Digital Consumer Bank, Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB), Wealth Management & Insurance and Payments (PagoNxt and Cards). This operating model allows the bank to better leverage its unique combination of global scale and local leadership. Santander aims to be the best open financial services platform providing services to individuals, SMEs, corporates, financial institutions and governments. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising €220 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2030. In the first quarter of 2024, Banco Santander had €1.3 trillion in total funds, 166 million customers, 8,400 branches and 211,000 employees.

Oxentia is a successful innovation management and technology commercialisation consultancy that started in 2004 as an operating division within Oxford University Innovation Ltd, the world leading technology transfer company of the University of Oxford. Since inception, Oxentia has engaged with large corporate businesses and SMEs, university spinouts, accelerators, incubators, research organisations, foundations, and governments as well as academics from research institutions and universities across most continents of the world. Oxentia’s experience in supporting startups and entrepreneurs is built upon three pillars: capacity building programmes for early-stage startup creation and support, entrepreneurship competitions for startups and scaleups, and individual specialist consultancy and mentoring for startups. Over the years, over 12000 entrepreneurs have graduated from programmes run by Oxentia, resulting in over 5500 new jobs created and more than $350m in additional funding raised.