3 reasons to get involved in the Santander X UK Awards 2023!

At Santander we’re committed to investing in the innovators of the future, connecting them with the right people to grow their business ideas. For the last 13 years we’ve run an annual entrepreneurship awards programme which is now recognised as one of the UK’s largest early-stage business pitching competitions.

This year the awards are bigger than ever with two categories to apply for; University (for new businesses looking to launch) and Startup (for growing businesses ready to scale). Traditionally a competition for university entrepreneurs, this year applications in the Startup category have been extended to include all UK businesses as we look to broaden our support for UK startups in line with our purpose - to help people and businesses prosper.

12 finalists (six per category) will pitch their business at the National Final on 7 December to a high-profile panel of judges, including Mike Regnier, Santander UK Chief Executive Officer, and William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman. We’re excited to announce that fem-tech entrepreneur and former Olympic champion, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, will also be judging this year’s competition, with further judges to be announced in the coming months!

There are many benefits of getting involved in the Santander X UK Awards. Here are just three of the ways the programme has supported two of last year’s winners James Markey, Founder of UNI SIM, which provides affordable haptic and VR training solutions for universities, clinics and hospitals worldwide and Megan Hale, Co-Founder of Team Repair, who provide a sustainable subscription service that teaches children science and technology through fixing electronic gadgets with planned faults.


To date, Santander has provided more than £900,000 of equity free funding to startups and small businesses through the competition. This year we have multiple prizes of up to £25,000 to be won. In 2022, the funding Megan and James won was instrumental in helping them take the next step with their businesses. For Megan and Team Repair, it allowed them to launch their B2C at home products and purchase school kits to start distributing to classrooms. Whilst for James and UNISIM, the money helped them to build their minimum viable product (MVP).

Imagine what £25,000 could help you achieve for your venture…


Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly lonely at times, particularly if you are a solo founder. Every year our programme brings together over 100 ambitious like-minded entrepreneurs from across the country, all with different businesses, experience, skills, and dreams. For James, the connections he made through the competition have become a sounding board that he can turn to whenever UNI SIM faces a new challenge, and a community to celebrate successes with. While Megan relies on the group when she needs a quick piece of advice or support.

Global exposure

As well as receiving funding, all six winners (three per category) will secure an automatic place in the Santander X Global Awards, the bank’s international entrepreneurship competition, where they’ll have the opportunity to compete against the best early-stage startups from across Europe and Latin America! Both Megan and James competed in the Global Awards 2023 final in May in Valencia, Spain, and came runner-up in their respective categories. The experience for both has been life changing. For James, it has brought him global exposure for his businesses and for Megan, connections, and additional avenues of support as Team Repair look to expand their services nationally and in the future, internationally.

So, what do you have to lose? Enter the Santander X UK Awards 2023 today! Visit our webpage to learn more about eligibility and details on how to apply.

Learn More