Funding competition

Win up to £30,000 for your business venture!

We run the LSE Generate funding competition twice a year, during the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Each competition has 3 to 5 winners, who will each take home a share of £30,000 to spend on their ventures. Entries close on Sunday 18 October 2020.

Your time is now, and we’ve got your back!

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:
   o   Idea - you have a plan but you haven’t yet created your product or service
   o   Launch - you’ve launched your product or service and are actively trading

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 evidence that your idea has developed since your last application.

How to apply

The Funding Competition consists of three different rounds:

icon - funding competition

Round 1: The Big Picture

  • Task 1: Download or recreate this business model canvas template and complete it for your venture. If you’re stuck, take a look at these business model canvas tips.
  • Task 2: Complete this entry form, selecting the Idea or Launch category.
  • Entry deadline: Sunday 18 October 2020
  • What to include: We want to get a clear idea of the problem you’re trying to solve, your main objectives and your approach to achieving them. We’d love to hear about any research you’ve carried out, your cost estimates to develop your business and how you would spend your competition winnings. We also want to learn a little about your background and any members of your team.
  • A maximum of two submissions per person is allowed.

Round 2: The Big Sell

  • If you get through to round 2, we’ll ask you to submit a basic pitch presentation and a 60-second video to sell your idea.
  • Successful round 2 applicants informed: Monday 2 November 2020
  • Deadline for round 2 submissions: Sunday 15 November 2020
  • What to include: Think of this as an investment pitch and include everything an investor might want to see. Some areas to consider:
    o   Market research and strategy (e.g. segmentation, mission statement, competitor analysis, user research, marketing strategy, social impact)
    o   Management and organisation (e.g. company description, team structure, logistics)
    o   Financials (e.g. costs, revenue projections, sales figures if available)
    o   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: If you’re still in the game, we'll invite you to workshops and masterclasses to help you prepare your round 2 application.

Round 3: The Big Moment

  • If you make it to round 3, you’ll be invited to a Dragon’s Den (or Shark Tank) style 15-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 round 3 applicants informed: Friday 27 November 2020
  • Round 3 presentations: Friday 11 December 2020
  • What to do: The most important thing to do to prepare for round 3 is practise, practise and practise again.
  • Support available: All finalists will be invited to an optional practise session.

LSE Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

We encourage all the competition winners to apply to the LSE Entrepreneur and LSE Social 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 for the next competition, which launches on Thursday 31 December 2020.


If you have any further questions or would like advice or support from the LSE Generate team, then please contact us.