Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards 2021 - Supporting innovative student and graduate businesses across the UK to scale

Over 80 budding entrepreneurs from across the UK are participating in the Santander X Entrepreneurship Awards 2021 and are in with a chance of receiving up to £75,000 of business development support at the competition final, due to take place at Wembley Stadium in London in October. 

Now in its 11th year, the Santander Universities competition brings together talented entrepreneurs from 82 partner universities in a virtual business acceleration programme dedicated to helping innovative student and graduate businesses to scale. 

Taking place across the summer months, the virtual programme involves weekly sessions led by a series of innovative entrepreneurs and experts on topics such as: building your brand; future-proofing your business; funding and finance; and wellbeing and resilience. Each participant will also have 1:1 coaching and mentoring and has been paired up with another entrepreneur on the programme to support them throughout the programme.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK commented: “We’re delighted to celebrate over a decade of supporting entrepreneurship with our bespoke online programme designed to help innovative student and graduate businesses to scale. 2020 was an exceptionally tough year for start-ups and small businesses, so as we begin to emerge from the pandemic our focus continues to be on supporting the incredible array of young entrepreneurial talent from across our partner universities as they continue to grow their businesses over the coming months. I wish the 82 entrepreneurs taking part in the programme and competition this year the very best of luck.” 

All the entrepreneurs will pitch for one of five places in the final which will take place on 6 October 2021. The five finalists will pitch live to a panel of judges with one winning business receiving £50,000 of seed funding and £25,000 worth of additional business support. The runner up will receive £25,000 of seed funding and £25,000 worth of additional business support.

Last year’s winners were Konglomerate Games, a video games company which specialises in developing healthcare games to improve lives, from Abertay University and Torann, which has developed a unique device to provide 100% sound quality for musicians playing amplified instruments across the globe, from Queen’s University Belfast.

Jamie Bankhead, Founder of Konglomerate Games, commented: “We are so grateful to have won the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards last year. The competition taught us valuable skills which were essential for us to lay the groundwork to grow the company, and the prize really enabled us to hit the ground running and begin expanding. The network built throughout the programme with the fantastic entrepreneurs we met as part of the cohort still helps us massively and will continue to do so as all the start-ups continue to grow.”

Since the competition launched in 2011, Santander Universities has awarded more than £600,000 in support of student start-ups across the UK and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the country. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2.5m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship at its 85 UK university partners.

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Notes to Editors 

Santander Universities 
Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and inclusive, sustainable growth, with a long-standing dedication to higher education that sets it apart from the world's other financial institutions. With over EUR €2 billion invested in academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universities and over 630,000 university scholarships and grants awarded since 2005, it has been recognized as the company that invests most in education in the world (Varkey/Fortune 500 Report), with 1,000 agreements in place with universities and institutions in 31 countries, of which over 80 are in the UK. Through these agreements Santander provides education, entrepreneurship and employability opportunities for university students and training and support for the growth and transformation of innovative start-ups and SMEs. For further information please visit:

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 2020, the bank had around 21,900 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 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its 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 over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of 2020, Banco Santander had more than a trillion euros in total funds, 148 million customers, of which 22.8 million are loyal and 42.4 million are digital, 11,000 branches and 191,000 employees.

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