Business Challenge

A business plan competition for students and alumni of the University of Plymouth

Business plan competition

This Business Challenge is a programme for students or recent graduates who are seriously considering starting their business in the next year. We are looking for innovative business ideas that create a new or improved product or service in order to satisfy a customer need.

We’ve created four categories for this challenge, to focus and encourage the most exciting ideas with potential to create impact. Each category is open to both commercial and social enterprise business models.

You can enter any category, as you are not restricted by your programme or year of study. You are also encouraged to consider collaborating with others to form a team with a strong breadth of skillsets.

Santander Universities

The Formation Zone Business Challenge is sponsored by Santander Universities, who provide the funds for our prize packages and are on hand to support our businesses during the competition. Their support is an integral part of making the Challenge a success.

The University of Plymouth enjoys a longstanding partnership with Santander Universities. Santander Universities Scholarships are worth more than £50,000 per year and, alongside sponsorship of competitions like the Business Challenge, enhance the Plymouth student experience, employability and internationalisation.



The Business Challenge in a nutshell

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  • idea development
  • marketing
  • finance
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Business plan

  • professional services 1:1s
  • draft plan feedback
  • constructive, detailed, judges' feedback
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  • category winner - £1,200
  • overall winner - £1,200
  • Formation Zone support

Last year’s overall winners were Eko Robotics, who aim to be a market leader in providing high-tech drone solutions specific to targeted aid and relief towards victims of natural disasters.. Could you join them in our award-winning incubator by winning a prize in this year’s Challenge?

Our category winners were: Eko Robotics in the High-Tech category, Fantomu in the Games category, So We Make in the 3D Product Design category, Sensivision in the Engineering category, Smibbs Skincare in the Health category, and Mission Enterprise in the Creative category.

“Winning the FZ business challenge gave credibility to my product and I think that being able to say that you operate out of a business incubator gives a good impression of collaborative innovation.”

Tom Pavelle, Challenge winner

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