Archive for the ‘Competitions’ Category

Congrats to Michael Berger and Gregor Hofer of Speech Graphics, who were awarded £5000 and third place in the national Santander Entrepreneurship Awards earlier this month.

Michael and Gregor are the brains behind a new lip-synch technology for video games, which automatically generates high-quality facial animations directly from recorded speech. You can see a cool video demo of their technology on their website.

Fourty-seven universities from across the UK were invited to nominate student-led companies for the Santander awards; from these, ten finalists were chosen to pitch to a panel of judges in London. Speech Graphics were the only Scottish company to make the finals.

Since incorporating late last year, Speech Graphics has also won a John Logie Baird award for innovation, and were one of eight companies selected to deliver live investor pitches at Engage Invest Exploit (see their 60 second version of that pitch).

Here’s a roundup of the other startups that caught Santander’s attention: (more…)

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Just came across this cool sounding Pepsi Co programme and thought it might be of interest to some of you? Details below 🙂


I want to draw your attention to PepsiCo10.  PepsiCo10 is a programme designed to discover and support new digital technology innovations. Click here if you would like to see the video  http://www.pepsico10.com/

We are looking for the best ten emerging and innovative technology companies across Europe to win the chance to work with PepsiCo in the UK whilst receiving the support and guidance from Highland Capital Partners, OMD and PepsiCo brand managers.

This is a unique opportunity led by one of the world’s best consumer brands to help accelerate early-stage businesses:

  • The chosen ten companies are guaranteed a partnership with a brand(s) from PepsiCo’s portfolio such as Walkers Crisps, Pepsi Max and Tropicana.
  • PepsiCo will take no equity
  • A reward of £10,000 to all ten companies.

Companies looking to enter PepsiCo10 must submit an online application at http://www.pepsico10.com Full details on entry criteria are on the website.

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Put a medical thinking cap on and you could win a hefty chunk of money from Edinburgh BioQuarter’s “Innovate and Win” competition, which is accepting entries until noon on 31st March. While it’s open to PhD students and staff, I reckon you could team up with the nearest PhD student to enter your idea if something comes to mind… [just a thought off the record].

Many thanks to James Wood at the BioQuarter for getting in touch with us, and sorry folks for not posting this sooner – where has the time flown?! Ah c’mon who here plans more than a week ahead anyway… Details below, and feel free to brainstorm or share wacky ideas in the comments for someone to pick up on!


Edinburgh BioQuarter is offering researchers and staff £55,000 in prize money for the best innovations leading to new medical companies being formed from scientific research. (more…)

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Hi everyone,

We’re planning quite a few changes at StartupCafe, but before we do anything, we want to hear your views. We want to make sure that we make the right changes so that the blog is more useful to you.

We’ve spent a lot of thought in crafting a questionnaire, which we would really appreciate you taking 5 mins to fill in:


As an incentive, we’re giving away this awesome Speck bag ($59.95 RRP) in a prize draw for everyone that answers the survey! (http://www.speckproducts.com/a-line-netbook-ipad-bag-brown.html)

We’re going to be making the draw this Sunday morning (27th Jan Feb, 11am (Ed: sorry, got the month wrong)) so please make sure you get your answers in by then!

Kate, Jess, Hilary, Bela and Thomas
The StartupCafe team

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Want £10K to test a new digital service you’ve developed? Read on, info from Stuart Dredge at Mobile Entertainment below (thanks Stuart :)). And thanks to Colin Adams for sending in the link! Applications due 11th March at noon, contest brief and details from Stuart as follows:

Government-backed IC tomorrow initiative wants to kick off consumer trials of new and innovative digital services.

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board has launched a Digital Innovation Contest, which aims to distribute £200,000 of funding to 20 innovative new digital services.

The contest, organised under the TSB’s IC tomorrow scheme, plans to provide up to £10,000 to each startup chosen from the contest, for a six-month consumer trial. (more…)

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If we gave you £500 today, could you turn that into £5000 in four months? A cool entrepreneurial fundraiser from Fairbridge asks just that, and lets teams take the organisation’s money to (hopefully) add a zero to the end.

While you’re perhaps already busy playing this game with your own bank account, or an investor’s, I thought this sounded like a great challenge for friends/partners/siblings who could use a bit more excitement at work [update: students too!]. It’s open to teams of 8-12 people, so it should be good fun and sign-ups are now open – email gill.levy@fairbridge.org.uk. I’ve included the Zero to Hero flyer here for full details, so pass on some startup spirit and tell your corporate friends/partners/siblings to get involved.

If you have any wacky ideas of what to do with the money, but are lacking the time yourself, feel free to contribute thoughts below! (more…)

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If you haven’t heard, Barcamp Glasgow is being run on 18th June! This year, Barcamp is being held in conjuction with Interactive Scotland and will feature a list of high profile speakers from STV, RealTime Worlds, Mediacom, Spotify, Facebook (TBC), Scotsman.com, Dog, Line, Whitespace, Innovation Digital, Spider Online, New Media Corp, Wildfire, w00tonomy, ISO Design, University of Abertay and the Scottish Government, with music from those cools chaps at Radio Magnetic.

The event is free to attend with no sign ups. Hashtag is #BarcampGlasgow. Details are:

Friday, 18th June, 4.30pm – 8.30pm, at STV (Pacific Quay)

In addition, Startupcafe are leading an ‘Ignite’ style session from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

We have 10 slots for inspiring people to share their expertise/passion/story – and we want to hear from you! We think that there is (more…)

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The latest Business Plan Competition from Heriot-Watt is trying to pull innovations from researchers and academics. If you recognise any of these acronyms as research pools you’re a part of – ERPem, ScotCHEM, SISCA, SIPR, SIRE, MASTS, SUPA – then you’re eligible! Get your applications in by 11th June 2010, with more details below.

Heriot-Watt Business Plan Competition – The Converge Challenge

Are you a member of Heriot-Watt or a Heriot-Watt Research Pool?
Do you have an idea for an innovation?
Would you like to win an award to the value of £10,000

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Most of the year, talk of prizes and awards means a chance for startups and entrepreneurs to gain recognition. Right now though, the tables are turning. There are many folks in the university community who go above and beyond for all of us, with guidance and advice that rarely gets proper acknowledgement. They give up countless evenings, weekends and lunch hours to organise workshops, listen to your problems, help you with your plan/pitch, and make sure we have all the resources we need (beer, pizza, floor space, tech equipment, market research, business contacts, you name it) to make our dreams come true.

SIE is now giving us the chance to recognise and thank the people who help make starting a business that much easier and smoother. I can think of so many worthy recipients of the following award, and encourage you to take half an hour out of your busy schedule in the next week to nominate someone who has made a difference to you. You have until 9am Monday 8th March (aka Sunday night)… I have posted the application questions below – email your answers to a.ives@sie.ac.uk.   (more…)

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Plastic electronics is said to be one of the next big things, and it may just be worth a little thought. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) sure thinks so, and they are offering £3 million to fund ideas in this emerging field. Compared to silicon, plastic electronics are cheaper, lighter, and more flexible.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Plastic Logic showed off a plastic e-reader which was all the rage in show floor chatter. Did you know the company was a spinout from Cambridge University?!

It’s interesting to step back in time and watch this news announcement from 2007 when Cambridge labs were first making breakthroughs in this area. Seems they had a good vision of three years ahead, and I’m curious to see (more…)

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