The Varsity Pitch


The Varsity Pitch Competition

The hunt is on for the best student and graduate business ideas!

We’ve seen an outstanding number of applications for the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition so far, as a result, we want to give you one more chance to be involved...

Are you a university or college student or did you graduate anytime after 2012? Are you running a business? Or do you have a business idea that could be the next big thing?

Fancy winning a whopping £10,000, a national title and more networking than you can shake a stick at? Then the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition 2017 is for you!

We’ve partnered with Tata to fuel the fantastic ideas coming out of colleges and universities across the UK.

Applications have now re-opened for this years Varsity Pitch Competition 2017, your opportunity to pitch for £10,000 equity free cash and a raft of priceless opportunities.

The three stage competition includes an online public vote which will launch on Thursday 5th October, a bootcamp with an impressive line up of mentors and a grand final with attendees from the media, government, corporate and startup world.

This is an amazing opportunity to get your business noticed by some of the biggest companies in the UK.

The competition is open to any current students at a UK university or college, or anyone who graduated after 2012, to find out more about this year's competition click below


This year's Online People's Vote with Lloyds Banking Group will go live on Thursday 5th October. All applicants will have the opportunity to share their video applications amongst their peers and friends to gain votes!! The entry with the highest number of votes will be fast tracked to the Grand Finals on Monday 13th November 2017. Interested to hear the strategy from last years Online People's Vote winner follow @NACUE. 


  1. About the Varsity Pitch
  2. Categories
  3. Timeline
  4. Online People's Vote
  5. FAQ

About NACUE’s Varsity Pitch Competition

The NACUE 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 can enter into two categories by submitting a 60-second video pitch, showing their radical business solutions. Shortlisted applicants will later be asked to pitch their ideas live at the semi finals in October when 6 startups will 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 Mentoring 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.

Due to the high number of people contacting us after the deadline, including some of our institutional members, we have decided to reopen the competition for a second application period at the end of the summer break. This will give those starting their studies this Autumn a chance to enter. We will reopen for applications on 22nd August.

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 SWISS RE - 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 PAYPAL - 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 THE RAINGODS - 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 UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER - Do you believe that your idea will be the next ‘big thing’? Want the chance to develop that idea into a thriving business and to gain the valuable support, mentoring and investment through the NACUE Varsity Pitch Competition? Then this is the category for you.


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 Wednesday 11th October and will be announced along with our shortlisted candidates for the Semi finals. You do not need to opt into this category as every team will be automatically eligible, you just need to get those votes!!


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 your application page and clicking the thumbs up icon.

Sharing on social media, remember to use the hashtag #VP2017. The application with the most votes will enter the final. Simple.


When do entries close?
Entries will close at 12:00 noon on Wednesday 4th October 2017

When will I find out if I’ve reached the semi final?
You will be contacted by 5 pm on Wednesday 11th October 2017. If you have not received confirmation by this date and time, unfortunately, you will have been successful this year.

I have already submitted an entry in the first round of applications, do I need to do anything?
No, your application is safe with us! All you need to do now is to start thinking of your strategy as to how you’re going to win the Online People’s Vote and get fast tracked to the Grand Finals on Monday 13th November.

Do I need to be available for all the dates?
Yes. Initially, you must be able to attend the semifinal heats on 18th October. If you are later selected as a category finalist, you will be required to attend a mandatory Mentoring Bootcamp on 31st October and the Final in 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. If 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 the first 60 seconds.

Can I still apply if I haven’t started selling my product?
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.

Can I apply with a new video before the deadline?
We do not recommend resubmitting as we want you to apply with your best work, however, if for any reason your video has to change (for example due to a change in your business), we will take your most recent application into account when shortlisting. If you need to submit a new video you must fill out an entirely new application form in FULL, and we will then delete your old application. No applications or amendments will be allowed after the deadline.

The Online People’s Vote
This year's Online People’s Vote will open on Thursday 5th October, once all the applications have been received. All video pitches will then be published onto our Varsity Pitch page and you can then share this amongst your networks to gain votes.
Supporters of your pitch can vote for your video and the pitch with the highest number of votes will be fast-tracked to the Finals in Global Entrepreneurship Week. The Online People’s Vote winner be announced on Wednesday 11th October via social media, so keep an eye out...
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.



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Interested to see the number of applications received from your region? This year, we've provided a breakdown per region of the number of entries received within the first round of applications...can your better this in the second round of applications???