What is it?

Develop your business plan for a chance
to win cash and start-up support

The Formation Zone Business Challenge is a competition for students and recent graduates who have an idea they want to develop and turn into a business. Contestants compete for a share of the £6,000 prize fund and the chance to start their business in Formation Zone, the University of Plymouth’s award-winning business incubator.

Our contestants receive free expert advice on how to develop their idea, build a sustainable financial plan, how to market their business, and the basics of how to setup their business. This year’s Challenge has four categories: Product Design, Digital & Technology, Health and Environment, and Creative.

What to expect

The Challenge starts in November, with our first introductory session, and runs through to February when you submit your business plan to our panel of judges. It is an extracurricular activity that includes a number of workshops in the first semester – idea development, marketing, and finance, and then professional advice sessions in the second semester.

Registration opens at the beginning of October and, once you have registered, you will be added to the Challenge Moodle pages where you will find the full schedule for the competition and all of the resources you’ll need. If you have any questions about the Challenge that are not answered by our webpages, please get in touch using the form below.

The Business Challenge in a nutshell

workshop icon


  • idea development
  • marketing
  • finance
plan icon

Business plan

  • business essentials 1:1s
  • draft plan feedback
  • constructive, detailed, judges' feedback
Trophy icon


  • category winner - £1,200
  • overall winner - £1,200
  • Formation Zone support

Why should I enter the Business Challenge?

Because the Business Challenge is a competitive selection process for the award-winning Formation Zone business incubator, helping us to find the best businesses coming out of the University of Plymouth this year. You will be in with a chance of winning Formation Zone incubation space and services, as well as seed funding from Santander Universities to get you started!

We understand that developing an idea into a business plan can be daunting. That is why you will have access to free workshops, one-to-one sessions and expert support and advice before submitting your business plan. The challenge will give you the skills and knowledge you need to develop your idea and start your own business. It is not just about picking winners, everyone gets constructive feedback and advice on where to go next.



Let us contact you

Request a call back or email