The New Enterprise Competition round- up

The New Enterprise Competition (NEC) drew to a close last month at our online celebration event where Peequal were crowned the winners of the Growth stage winning £15,000 in funding.  

The UK’s first women’s urinal showcased their first prototype at Bristol Comedy Gardens at the beginning of the month and following the news of their win, have been making headlines across the UK, gaining 60 million views of their business since winning the competition: 

Co-founder Hazel McShane said: ‘’Winning the competition has given us the opportunity to follow our dream for pee-equality. I want to give a massive shout out to the New Enterprise Competition and Basecamp team who have shown us support and encouragement from day one. The funding and recognition has lit the fire beneath PEEQUAL and we are now so excited to get our PEEQUAL urinals out there to free the pee.”

Runners up included, at- home hydroponics start-up Bottle Farm, who were awarded £5,000- and innovative haptic robotics start-up Senmag Robotics who received 12 months incubation at SETSquared and legal advice from VWV. Check out the universities press release here. 

In addition, to increase the networks and exposure of the fantastic finalists, Basecamp ran a bonus People’s Choice award campaign. The winner of this £2000 bonus prize was streetwear brand Young Goat with a huge 800 votes. 

As well as our top prize winners, this year the competition supported 204 founders (current students and recent graduates) through the three stages of the competition.  

Despite the pandemic, the need for innovation is greater than ever and this is reflected in the 114 start-ups who were supported in this year’s competition. All were incredibly diverse and reactive to change and ranged from snack companies to entrepreneurship podcasts to a social enterprise tackling period poverty. Due to the pandemic, this year’s competition was run completely online, and we received some great feedback from applicants: 

‘’The whole NEC process is run so smoothly and I wanted to express how valuable this experience has been for me to get used to the idea of planning my business pitch, introducing myself and my ideas, and having the opportunity to gain such valuable feedback from your team. The team are so approachable and friendly and whilst there are loads of reasons why I loved my time at uni, this whole experience has only magnified how lucky I feel to have attended Bristol.’’ Trinity Handley PT

This year was also the second year of the Growth support programme, our award winning scheme where finalists and graduates are paired with a mentor and receive exclusive access to business advisers and tailored workshops. This programme was piloted last year with the aim of diversifying the finalists in the competition. Whilst 2019’s competition had no women founders, since the introduction of the programme, over 50% of a finalist businesses have women co-founders and the calibre of applications has been at a 10- year high. 

Thank you to all our sponsors and the 21 mentors who made all stages of the competition a success. A big congratulations to all applicants this year who should be very proud!  

The Ideas stage of the New Enterprise Competition opens for applications in Autumn term, so keep an eye out for when applications open. If you’re interested in developing your entrepreneurial skillset, diversifying your network and getting feedback and advice on your ideas sign- up to our mailing list where we’ll share upcoming events and opportunities.