Santander UK announces twelve finalists in its annual awards competition for entrepreneurs

  • The twelve finalists1 have been announced for this year’s Santander X UK Awards.  
  • Finalists will pitch to a panel of high-profile judges, including Dragon’s Den star, Sam Jones, alongside Santander’s CEO Mike Regnier and Chairman, William Vereker on 7 December. 
  • New Santander UK research2 reveals that 63% of adults have a business idea but lack the funding and know-how to take it to the next level.  
  • Now in its 13th year, the Santander X UK Awards has provided more than £900,000 in equity-free funding to hundreds of UK start-ups and small businesses to date. 

Santander today announced the finalists1 selected to pitch their businesses at the Santander X UK Awards 2023 National Final, taking place on Thursday 7 December in Unity Place, the bank’s new headquarters in Milton Keynes. 

The twelve finalists, selected from 100 shortlisted businesses at a competitive day of pitching heats, will pitch to a panel of high-profile judges, including Santander UK CEO Mike Regnier, and Chairman, William Vereker, as well as Sam Jones, who won investment for his business Gener8 on Dragon’s Den in 2021. 

The Santander X UK Awards give innovative early-stage start-ups the chance to secure up to £25,000 in equity-free funding, as well as business support, pitching masterclasses, and opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs.  

New research2 from Santander shows that while 63 per cent of people have a business idea they think could work well, they are lacking the support and know-how to take it to the next level. Nearly half of adults are more determined to start their own business since the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The poll of 2,000 adults also found that despite 49 per cent loving the idea of being their own boss, more than a third are being held back by of a fear of failure or lack the confidence to launch their business idea.  

Mike Regnier, CEO, Santander UK commented:At Santander, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurship and the vital role it plays in driving growth and productivity in the economy. We want to help remove the barriers people face when starting out, and support them through the process of growing a successful business.   

“The Santander X Awards offer the most innovative and disruptive early-stage start-ups in the UK the opportunity to network, learn from experts, and win vital funding to help their business. I look forward to judging what I know will be an excellent set of pitches from some of the UK's most promising entrepreneurs."  

Sam Jones, Dragon’s Den star and founder of Gener8, added: “It’s great to be a part of the Santander X UK Awards to see some of the most interesting emerging businesses in the country. The support provided covers both financial and other key skills which are vital for success -  I wish I’d known about the awards when I was starting Gener8. I would have learned so much from the process.” 

Now in its 13th year, Santander's annual entrepreneurship awards have long been regarded as one of the UK's largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. To date, they've supported hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs and provided more than £900,000 in equity-free funding to start-ups and small businesses.  

The six winners will receive up to £25,000 equity-free funding and secure an automatic place in the Santander X Global Awards. There they will have the opportunity to compete against the best early-stage startups from across Europe and Latin America to win additional cash prizes and international exposure to take their business to the next level. 


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Notes to Editors  

  1. Full list of the Santander X UK Awards 2023 Finalists: 
  • Snowball Community Ltd | Simon Sansom  | Snowball is the ultimate disability app. Think TripAdvisor for the disabled community, you can add places, leave reviews and say of you will go back. Because the app is supported by Google Maps, anywhere in the world can be added and we have thousands of reviews. More information:

  • ACT Medical | Joseph Bentley | ACT Medical are looking to change the healthcare industry by developing a first-in-class bleeding management system, that is inserted into a wound and applies direct-internal-pressure to stop bleeding. Their International Medical James Dyson award winning innovation could save 300 lives/year, in the UK alone, providing £956M in monetary savings. More information: 

  • SCALED | Natalie Kerres | SCALED is a nature-inspired, material innovation offering flexible body armor used for maximized injury prevention, rehabilitation and sports performance enhancement through regulated motion control in human joints. SCALED’s product sits at the nexus of four important design trends: additive manufacturing, parametric design and mass customization, and biomimicry. It integrates cutting edge technologies, and utilizes the power of parametric design in the creation of its algorithm. More information: 

  • Mitra Bio | Shakiba Kaveh | Reading biological data from the skin is necessary for diagnostics and development of skin treatments. Currently, this is only possible with skin biopsy to extract omics data. Mitra Bio has developed a proprietary non-invasive way to extract epigenetics data (DNA methylation) by using adhesive tapes from the skin. More information: 

  • Lambda Energy | Monica Saavedra | Today, the proportion of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) for plants, i.e. red light, is increased via artificial lighting - but electricity is costly. Lambda’s diffusive, red emitting spray paint for greenhouse sidings (panels) requires no electricity and can increase crop yields by circa 9%. More information: 

  • Persium | Alex Yousefian | We’re struggling to tackle air pollution globally because we’re unable to make data-backed decisions where we can quantify the effectiveness of policies and justify them to the public. Persium have created, for the first time ever, the World’s Most Powerful Digital Twin Platform for tackling air pollution. More information: 

  • Natantis | Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas | Heriot-Watt University | Natantis has developed a novel approach to the diagnosis of sepsis, a time-sensitive and life-threatening medical condition. We propose iSEP-SEQ, a cell-free circulating DNA (cfDNA) metagenomic sequencing workflow that is able to identify any pathogen at species level (e.g., viruses, bacteria, and uniquely, fungi and various parasites), directly from a 1-4 mL human blood sample. More information: 

  • Ki Hydrogen | Koji Muto | London Business School | Ki Hydrogen is a deeptech climate venture developing a breakthrough technology called biomass electrolysis to produce green hydrogen and chemicals from biomass waste using 75% less energy compared with conventional water electrolysis. We achieve this by directly electrolysing waste such as from breweries, paper pulp, and agriculture. More information: 

  • Enturi Solutions Ltd | Alex Shakeshaft | University of Liverpool | To address customer pain points including high emissions and decarbonisation goal attainment, high energy costs, and low accessibility to scalable onsite renewable energy generation, Enturi has developed a portable wind-powered microgrid system that can be deployed anywhere and relocated with ease, the Enturi Energy Station. More information: 

  • LastingAsset | Nanik Ramchandani | Edinburgh Napier University | LastingAsset is a cutting-edge technology company specializing in secure communication solutions. Our core mission is to combat fraud, specifically focusing on impersonation and imposter scams by leveraging blockchain technology, post-quantum resistant cryptography, and digital identity verification to ensure the authenticity of communication between parties. More information:  

  • Intotum | Tantush Hanan | University of the Arts London | 1 in 5 people in the UK have a disability yet they are still largely excluded from the fashion industry. These people deserve a solution. Intotum, through collaboration with the disabled community, has created the UK’s first range of stylish functional clothing that works with your disability. More information:  

  • RREACT (Angiosound) |Marcelo Lerendegui | Imperial College London | Cancer care accounts for £5.81 billion, equating to 5.6% of the NHS budget. In the UK, approximately 55,400 people are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Our contrast enhanced super-resolution ultrasound imaging (SRUS) technology assesses the tumour response as early as two weeks following the start of treatment. Website still in construction. 

  1. The research was conducted by OnePoll between 20 October and 27 October polling a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults.   
  2. More about the Santander X UK Awards: Santander X UK Awards 2023 
  3. More about the Santander X Global Award: Santander X Global Award 2023 


Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 June 2023, the bank had around 19,400 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, 7 million digital customers via a nationwide 445 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. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in the Europe, North America and South America regions, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Santander aims to be the best open financial services platform providing services to individuals, SMEs, corporates, financialinstitutions 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 half of 2023, Banco Santander had €1.25 trillion in total funds, 164 million customers, 9,000 branches and 212,000 employees. 


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