Santander UK and Oxentia Launch Annual Entrepreneurship Competition Amid Growing Demand

Santander is offering emerging startups across the UK the opportunity to win up to £25,000 in funding and business support through the Santander X UK Awards 2024. The Santander X UK Awards are one of the UK’s largest early-stage business pitching competitions, having provided over £1 million in vital funding and business support to thousands of UK businesses to date.

The programme has two categories: University (for new businesses looking to launch) and Startup (for growing businesses ready to scale). Working with Oxentia Ltd, 100 businesses (50 in the University category and 50 in the Startup category) will be shortlisted by 6th September. The shortlisted businesses will be invited to join a series of online expert-led pitch workshops and receive one-to-one and group coaching. All 100 businesses will then pitch through a series of online and in-person heats to select 12 finalists (six per category). On 14th November, the finalists will pitch live at the National Final at Unity Place (Santander UK’s headquarters in Milton Keynes) to a high-profile panel of judges, including Mike Regnier, Santander UK Chief Executive, and William Vereker, Santander UK Chairman.

The six winners (three per category) will receive up to £25,000 in funding and go forward to represent the UK in the Santander X Global Awards, the bank’s international entrepreneurship competition, where they will have the opportunity to compete against the best early-stage startups from across Europe and Latin America in Spring 2025. Research by Santander reveals that nearly half of adults are more determined to start their own business since the Covid-19 pandemic, with 63% of UK entrepreneurs saying they lack the support and know-how to take their business to the next level. The demand for support among young and aspiring founders is certainly growing, with entries for the Santander X UK Awards doubling year-on-year for the past three years.

Mike Regnier, CEO, Santander UK said: “It brings me great excitement to announce the launch of the Santander X UK Awards for the 14th year. It’s clear there is a growing demand for support among early-stage start-ups, and we are committed to supporting these entrepreneurs and helping to remove the barriers they face when starting out.

“The Awards offer ambitious entrepreneurs business support, networking opportunities and the chance to win vital funding to help take their business to the next level. So, if your business is disruptive and innovative with the ability to scale, look no further and apply for the Santander X UK Awards 2024 today.”

Hanan Tantush, Founder of Intotum and Santander X UK Awards 2023 (University) winner said: "Winning the Santander X UK Awards has been instrumental in propelling Intotum, my adaptive clothing business, forward. They’ve provided a platform to amplify our mission of creating positive change for the disabled community.

“The Santander X Awards foster a culture where entrepreneurship meets social responsibility, ultimately reshaping the business landscape for the better. As a judge for the final this year, I can’t wait to hear from this year’s entries and am excited to play a role in supporting the next change makers in the business community."

Simon Sansome, Founder of Snowball and Santander X Awards 2023 (Startup) winner added: “The team at Santander have been so supportive throughout the process and the networking opportunities have been fantastic. I’m really looking forward to joining the judging panel this year to see what new innovations UK entrepreneurs are coming out with and give new founders a great platform to boost their business.”