The Varsity Pitch 2018

VP Banner 2018


The Varsity Pitch Competition

Applications for #VarsityPitch18 have now closed! We're delighted to see so many brilliant ideas come through. Best of luck to all the applicants!  

NACUE’s Varsity Pitch is the UK’s biggest business competition for students and graduates, attracting the most innovative start-ups exploding out of college and university campuses. The competition is open to any current students at a UK university or college or anyone who graduated after 2013. Applicants select two categories when submitting a 60 second video pitch, highlighting their radical business solution and innovative idea.  

In October, shortlisted applicants will be asked to pitch their ideas live at the semi-finals in London. Six start-ups from the selected category finalists will then go on to compete to win £10,000 at the finals in Global Entrepreneurship Week. They will be joined by the winner of the Online People’s Vote and put through rigorous enterprise training at the Varsity Pitch Bootcamp in preparation for the Grand Final in November.   

On the Finals Day, each finalist will have two minutes to pitch their concept to an esteemed panel of industry experts including sponsors Tata. The overall winner will take home £10,000 for their start-up, with the Ideas category winner receiving £500 too. 

 Keep your eyes on our social media for some exciting updates on the competition.    

Want to be the first one to know about funding opportunities for your start-up? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



  1. About the competition
  2. Categories
  3. Timeline
  4. Online People’s Vote
  5. Terms and Conditions

About NACUE’s Varsity Pitch Competition

NACUE’s Varsity Pitch is the UK’s biggest business competition for students and graduates, attracting the most innovative startups exploding out of college and university campuses. Students and recent graduates (within the last 5 years) can enter into two categories by submitting a 60 second video pitch, showing their radical business solutions and innovative ideas. In October, shortlisted applicants will be asked to pitch their ideas live at the semi finals in London. Six startups will then go on to compete to win £10,000 at the finals in Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The six category finalists will be joined by the winner of the Online People’s Vote and put through rigorous enterprise training at the Varsity Pitch Bootcamp in preparation for the Grand Final in Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. On the day, each finalist will have two minutes to pitch their concept to an esteemed panel of industry experts. The winner will take home £10,000 for their startup.

Choose your categories

TATA DISRUPTIVE - This category is for the companies that are truly changing the way things are done. If your product or service is improving the market in an unexpected way, this is the category for you.

TATA SOCIAL IMPACT - Is your business making the world a better place? This category is for social enterprises and ethically conscious businesses.

GENUINE INNOVATION WITH NEW BEACON GROUP - This category is all about new ideas and more effective ways of doing things. If your product or service is unique or improving something that already exists, enter this category.

CREATIVE AND DESIGN WITH UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER - From crafts and music to marketing and publishing, the creative industries are exciting and varied. This category welcomes entries from those whose businesses require a creative flair.

DIGITAL AND TECHNICAL WITH NATWEST - Some of the fastest growing businesses in the global economy in the last 5 years have been apps and online ventures. If you think that your app, hardware or online product has the potential to change the status quo, then we want to see your application.

IDEAS WITH IDEAS PATCH AND ITS IP COLLABORATES - Do you happen to have an astonishing idea? Do you believe that your idea will be the next ‘big thing’? Well look no further as this category is exclusively dedicated to those fledgling ideas. If shortlisted, you will have the opportunity to develop your idea into a flourishing business and to gain the valuable support, mentoring and a possible chance of winning investment through the competition.

Online People’s Vote with Lloyd’s Banking Group

ONLINE PEOPLE’S VOTE with Lloyds Banking Group - We are giving one team the chance to be fast-tracked from the application stage straight through to the final, by virtually sharing their video pitch. It’s that simple...

This team will have the highest number of digital votes by midday on Friday 5th October and will be announced along with our shortlisted candidates for the semifinals. You will need to opt into this category at the application stage to have your video entered into the Online People's vote.


Get your friends, family, teachers, your next door neighbour… anyone you can think of to vote for your application. They can do this by heading to the Varsity Pitch website and signing up via social media and then clicking the thumbs up icon. Voting Opens Midday on Monday 1st October to Midday Friday 5th October 2018.

Sharing on social media? Remember to use the hashtag #VarsityPitch2018. The application with the most votes will enter the final. Simple.

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions apply to the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition 2018’s grand prize of £10,000. Without acceptance of these terms we will be unable to process your prize and therefore require that no Directors of the company:

  • Work for or have any formal connection with (other than as winners of the Varsity Pitch Competition) NACUE (registered charity number 1139550) or NACUE UK Limited (Company number 6885463)
  • Have been disqualified as a director or barred from owning or managing a company
  • Have not been involved in or convicted of any fraudulent or criminal dealings
  • Have not been made or declared bankrupt in the last 5 years
  • All of the £10,000 prize money must be re-invested in the business and must not be used for personal use or gain
  • The winners of the NACUE Varsity Pitch 2018 will need to hold a bank account in their company name. If you don’t hold one already and win the competition, you will need to set up a bank account.

  • When do entries close?

    Cohort 1 Entries will close at 12:00 Midday on Friday 27th July 2018

    Cohort 2 Entries will close at Midday on 28th September 2018


    When will I find out if I’ve reached the semifinal?
    You will be contacted on Monday 8th October 2018 from 12:00 Midday. If you have not received confirmation by close of business on this date, regrettably you have been unsuccessful this year. Due to the significant number of applications, unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback.

    Do I need to be available for all the dates?
    YES. If you are successful in making it to the semi finals, you will be required to pitch in person on Tuesday 16th October. If you are later selected as a category finalist, you will be required to attend a mandatory Mentoring Bootcamp week commencing 29th October and the Final on week commencing 12th November. All of these events are based in London and travel and accommodation are at the applicant's own expense.

    Someone in our group isn’t a student or recent graduate – can we still apply?
    YES, certainly. So long as at least one member of your business meets the guidelines then it does not matter if there are other members who do not.

    I have an existing video pitch which is longer than 60 seconds – can I still enter it?
    You are welcome to enter existing videos however we will only take the first 60 seconds into consideration when shortlisting our semi-finalists. This is to keep the process fair, so you should ensure all the relevant information is included in those first 60 seconds.

    Can I apply if my concept is only at the idea stage?
    Absolutely! We’re looking for the most creative and innovative ideas out there, whether they are just an idea on paper or a fully fledged business already selling a product. You can apply in either Cohort 1 or 2 for the Ideas Category ONLY

    Can I apply with a new video before the deadline?
    If you need to amend your application, you must request to us via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to delete your application. You are then responsible for re-submitting your video pitch.

    How do I know that other applicants Online People’s Vote is genuine?
    Any pitches which have unusual or suspicious voting activity on them will be subject to investigation and if we are not satisfied with the explanation for said unusual activity, your application will be removed from our site and disqualified from this and all future NACUE competitions.

    Who can apply

    Any current or recent graduate that is or has studied at a UK educational institution. In addition to this, anyone who has left further or higher education anytime after 2013 is also able to enter.

    Businesses can either be at an ideas stage or a fully fledged company



  1. Our Impact
  2. Our Mission
  3. Our model

We've achieved a great deal in a short number of years, though there's much more too do in supporting our mission of 'Powering the Enterprise Generation'.




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Powering the Enterprising Generation

Our mission is to support the development of education and student engagement throughout college and universities by championing student enterprise societies and peer-to-peer learning. NACUE started from an extraordinary movement in student entrepreneurship, providing young individuals with a platform to be experimental, creative and inspiring in their approach to enterprise and entrepreneurship, encouraging a bottom-up approach to inspiring the next generation.

Today, we see over 200 enterprise societies, powered by peer-to-peer groups, who are championing the success of young people throughout their interactive programmes by forging collaborative relationships with their institutions to provide greater experience and development opportunities for their peers. Establishing regional links with locals SME’s who are keen to open their doors to emerging talented, proactive and enthusiastic graduates perpetuates this.

Our work is dedicated to supporting the development and encouragement of entrepreneurship amongst young individuals and forms the sole purpose of NACUE. To learn more about NACUE and the services we produce, click here.

As a not-for-profit, we raise charitable donations that allow us to widen the opportunities available to young people in relation to enterprise and entrepreneurship, strengthening student engagement, the quality of education and connecting and representing student enterprise societies and student entrepreneurs worldwide.

NACUE is a charitable organisation that supports 32,000 students and young people every year. As funding becomes harder to obtain, we rely on the generous support of donors to ensure our programs can continue to change the lives and aspirations of the younger generation.

A donation of any size goes a long way to furthering our work and really is greatly appreciated. Every gift matters in aiding our mission of ‘Powering the Enterprising Generation' but we mainly rely upon the generosity of our members and alumni to do this. By making a single or regular donation you can make a big difference. To learn more about how you can donate, please follow the links below.


Large national network

NACUE are delighted to have supported a huge number of student-led societies over the years. You can see the number of established student-led societies on an interactive map below





Who we work with


Entrepreneurs are at the very core of NACUE, everything we do is to better the startup and self employment ecosystem. We believe that entrepreneurs will shape the future, and we bolster this through our events, our network and our advocacy.


NACUE works with students in Colleges and Universities right across the UK, helping support them in their entrepreneurial goals and connect them with like minded peers.


NACUE works collaboratively with educators and academics in supporting the development of entrepreneurial mindsets in young people.

Our events

Our events offer the young people we work with the opportunity to connect with our wider network, the experts and seasoned entrepreneurs in our community and the chance to be inspired to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship. These events are attended by students and graduates from universities and colleges up and down the UK, as well as students from across Europe. Student Societies take centre stage at our events, alongside innovators, game changers and trail blazers of the UK startup ecosystem.

The difference we make

We are supported by

We are proud to have the support of our partners who share our mission and values




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