Santander UK launches annual awards competition for innovative early-stage entrepreneurs

•    Entries for the Santander X UK Awards 2023 are now open offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to win up to £25,000 of funding 
•    The Santander X Awards recognise the most innovative and disruptive early-stage startups across the UK 
•    The competition was first launched in 2011 and has supported hundreds of UK businesses since then with over £900,000 of equity-free funding

Santander is offering early-stage startups across the UK the opportunity to win up to £25,000 equity-free funding and business support through the Santander X UK Awards 2023. 
This year’s programme has two categories: University (for new businesses looking to launch) and 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. These businesses will join a two-day business bootcamp with expert-led sessions, networking, and pitch support. Following the bootcamp, all 100 candidates will pitch their business during Global Entrepreneurship week (13 – 17 November), where 12 finalists will be selected. The finalists will then pitch live at the National Final in London in December 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 receive up to £25,000 funding and secure an automatic place in the Santander 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 2024. 

Mike Regnier, Chief Executive, Santander UK said: “At Santander, we support the innovators of the future at every stage of their journey. Judging the 2022 Santander X UK Awards final was one of the highlights of my first year as Chief Executive of Santander UK, and it was fantastic to see the two of our UK winners, UNISIM and Team Repair go on to further success at the Santander X Global Awards in Valencia in May. I wish all the entrepreneurs applying this year the best of luck and look forward to judging the final in December.” 
James Markey, founder of UNI SIM, which offers affordable haptic and VR training solutions for universities, clinics, and hospitals worldwide, was one of the winners of both the 2022 Santander X UK Awards and Santander X Global Awards.  
Commenting on his success, James said “Starting a business with the support of Santander has changed my life beyond all recognition. From getting valuable feedback on the initial idea, to finding our first client in Spain, right through to being one of the winners of the Santander X Global Awards final in Valencia. We’ve gone from a student business at The Open University with an idea and a pencil drawing, to a fully-fledged business with offices in Portsmouth and a product that is having an impact on global education, exported to countries including Spain, Chile, Peru and Morocco. We can’t wait to see what the future will bring, it feels like it’s still only the beginning!” 

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Notes to Editors 

About the Santander X UK Awards 
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. Winners in 2022 were UNI SIM, Team Repair, Milbotix, Kitt Medical, Konglomerate Games and  Wateraware Collective. For more information, and to apply to the Santander X UK Awards 2023, visit: 
Applications close on Wednesday 13 September 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 31 December 2022, the bank had around 19,000 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide 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, 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 2023, Banco Santander had €1.2 trillion in total funds, 161 million customers, 9,000 branches and 210,000 employees. 
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