We may be hurtling towards our 38473895th national lockdown, but that's not going to prevent us from kicking off the Lent Term Funding Competition in style. We've spiced the process up bit to make the process smoother and easier for you all. Applications will open from 31st December ('cos, admit it, we're not exactly going be partying the night away!) and here's everything you need to know...
Who can apply?
Both current students and alumni graduates, with no restriction on year of graduation, from the UK and overseas can apply.
We welcome new ventures at one of these stages:
Pre Launch: You have identified an opportunity and in the process of developing your market understanding, proposition and initial team.
Live: You have an initial team, minimal viable product or service and are in negotiations with or working with your first customers.
Other: Your venture is a commercial product or service rather than a charities or organisations that relies on grant funding. You can articulate how your venture contributes to the SDG's. Are a current LSE student or alumni.
Any type of venture is eligible, except charities or organisations that rely solely on grant funding.
There is no restriction on how many team members you can have for each entry, but you will need to explain the role and contribution of each person.
Previous applicants are eligible, but we’ll be looking for clear evidence that your idea has developed significantly since your last application. Previous winners are unfortunately not eligible as we want to be able to support as many entrepreneurs as possible!
This is the route to go down if you wish to secure the Start-Up Visa endorsement - you need to have graduated or be graduating this academic year.
How to apply
The LSE Funding Competition consists of just two rounds:
Round 1: The Big Sell
This is your one chance (that's a bit dramz; there'll be plenty of others) to wow us - we want you to submit a pitch presentation and a 60-second video to sell your genius idea.
- Deadline for Round 1 submissions: Friday, 12th February 2021
What to include: Think of this as an investment pitch and include everything an investor might want to see. Some areas to consider:
• Market research and strategy (e.g. segmentation, mission statement, competitor analysis, user research, marketing strategy, social impact)
• Management and organisation (e.g. company description, team structure, logistics)
• Financials (e.g. costs, revenue projections, sales figures if available)
• How you’ll spend your winnings
Applicants to the Idea category are not expected to include as much detail in some areas as those applying for the Launch category.
Support available: We'll invite you to workshops and masterclasses to help you prepare your application in January and to find exactly what you should include. It's really important to attend these to make sure you're on the right track and you can have an opportunity to get your questions answered.
Round 2: The Big Moment
If you make it to the finale, you’ll be invited to a Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank) style 10-minute in-person pitch. You’ll be pitching to an expert panel of investors and mentors in front of an audience of students. The 3 to 5 winners and funding amounts for each will be announced on the day.
Successful finalists will be informed on: Wednesday, 10th March 2021
The Grand Finale: Friday, 26th March 2021
What to do: The most important thing to do to prepare for the final is practise, practise and practise again.
Support available: All finalists will be invited to an optional 1:1 pitching practise session and one-off mentoring sessions.
To apply to the funding competition please download the LSE Generator app, and apply via the link to the application form via the 'Competitions' page within the app.
LSE Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
We encourage all the competition winners to apply to the LSE Entrepreneur of the Year awards in the Summer Term. We’ll choose an overall winner for each category and award additional funding.
If you’re an international student, you could be eligible for a Start-up visa if you participate in the funding competition. Get more information on Start-up visas.
Unfortunately we’re not able to give feedback on Round 1 applications if they’re not successful. You’re welcome to apply again in the next competition.
If you have any further questions or would like advice or support from the LSE Generate team, then please contact us.