New Enterprise Competition


The New Enterprise Competition (NEC) is our flagship business idea challenge. The competition is open to students, staff, and recent graduates. Whilst there are different stages to the competition all you really need is an original idea for a self-sustaining business.

It's open to both commercial and social enterprises, and includes everything from simple conceptual ideas through to businesses in their first year of trading.

Throughout the competition we provide educational events, opportunities to get feedback and support, and the chance to meet all kinds of useful contacts.

Each year the total prize pot is around £35,000, all kindly donated by our sponsors. This includes cash prizes, packages of legal support, and business acceleration services.

Information for entrants

The opportunity to get professional advice, feedback, and mentoring is valuable to all those who take part, arguably more so than the prizes. Even those who don’t go on to win gain a lot from simply being involved in the competition.

Eligible entrants must be a current student or staff member at the University of Bristol or have graduated from the University of Bristol since 2012.


The NEC consists of three rounds. The first two rounds are feedback opportunities to help ideas develop in readiness for the third round, which is the main competition. Some small grants are available at round 1 and 2.

Attendance at either early-stage panel is not required to enter the main competition and success or failure in gaining a grant has no bearing on success in the main competition.

 Round One 

 7 November 2016  Round One opens
 30 November 2016  Round One closes
 8 December 2016  Round One panel review (up to £500 available)

 Round Two 

 7 February 2017  Round Two opens
 7 March 2017  Round Two closes
 28 March 2017  Round Two panel review (up to £1,000 available)

 Round Three: New Enterprise Competition 

 7 April 2017  New Enterprise Competition opens
 22 September 2017  New Enterprise Competition closes
 13 October 2017  Shortlist of finalists announced
 1 November 2017  Final pitch to judging panel (up to £10,000 available)
 23 November 2017 The winners are announced!
NEC Logo

Interested in taking part?

Find out how to enter the competition

Past winners

In 2016, the competition was won by Distillr, a company formed by Julian Laval, a 2016 Computer Science graduate. Read about the winners and runners up.