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GradVenture

GradVenture is the ideal competition for early-stage start-ups. This Dragon's Den type competition is open to students and recent graduates from eight University of London member institutions. Refine your business plan, practice pitching and win some funding to take those crucial next steps.

Gradventure logo

GradVenture

GradVenture is the ideal competition for early-stage start-ups. This Dragon's Den type competition is open to students and recent graduates from eight University of London member institutions. Refine your business plan, practice pitching and win some funding to take those crucial next steps.

Got a great business idea? Want to test and take it further?

Want to receive some coaching and mentoring on how to present your ideas to investors? 

The theme for 2021 is Building Community and Supporting Wellbeing

Application process is now OPEN for 2021

Eligibility criteria:

  • At least one of the founders of the business must be a current student of one of the following institutions of the University of London/The Careers Group: City, Goldsmiths, King's College, Queen Mary, SOAS, St Mary's Twickenham, St George's, UCL.
  • If not a current student, then you must have graduated after 1st September 2019.
  • The business idea is clearly formulated but you are in the early stages of setting up the business (pre-trading or already trading but not yet applied for a second or external round of funding).
  • Your business fits within the theme of Building Community and/or Supporting Wellbeing.

Further information:

  • You can see the pitches of last year’s finalists, as well as highlights of the virtual event on this YouTube playlist.
  • Applications will be evaluated according to the following selection criteria.
  • Deadline: 11 April 2021, 23:59 (just before midnight)
  • Semi-finals to take place (virtually) in June.
  • Final (on Zoom) in early July.

How to apply

Download and complete the application form and send it to your college enterprise or careers teams before midnight on 11th April, 2021.

Download the application form

Previous GradVenture's

GradVenture 2020

The event had to be postponed several times and finally got moved online, but our seven finalists demonstrated great resilience and impressed the judges with their enthusiasm, eloquent video pitches and confidence in handling the Q&A. They also won fulsome praise from the audience for their polished overall performance. Michael Hayman MBE, Co-Founder of Seven Hills, moderated the event, dealing with any technical challenges with his usual aplomb and good humour. 

  • Winner First Prize and £8,000 to invest in the business: Sophia with Perspective Press Global from Queen Mary University.
  • Runner-up and winner of £2,000 to invest in the business, from City University: Yamin Miah with Bubble Mind.
  • Audience favourite Leiho, also from City @leiho_uk, Joey Li and Thuta Khin will be enjoying a delicious hamper while they plan their next business moves.

The judges panel consisted of: Charlotte Harrington, Co-CEO of Belu Water; Cecil Adjalo, Director of Operations at Foundervine; Xenia Angevin, Founder, Res Claritas; James Uffindell, CEO Bright Network. They expressed an interest in getting to know all of the finalists’ businesses better, and predicted a bright future for them. For more information about each of the businesses, as well as the judges’ backgrounds, see the attached virtual programme brochure.

Professor Wendy Thomson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, said:

Congratulations to everyone involved with making such a success of the first ever virtual GradVenture. I was delighted to be invited to join in the excitement of the finalists’ big day. Well done to all especially Perspective Press Global for taking the top spot. The entrepreneurial spirit is clearly alive and well amongst University of London students. Great ideas, confident pitches, tough choices for the panel of judges. And as always thank you to Michael Hayman and Seven Hills for their support, to the many students who entered the competition, and to the professors who have encouraged and developed business talent. Making London graduates ready for post COVID-19 recovery!

Dr. Kate Daubney, Director of The Careers Group, said:

We are thrilled with how our first virtual GradVenture 2020 has gone and our continued collaboration with Michael Hayman and the Seven Hills team. It was absolutely inspiring to see not only terrific business propositions but each of them in their own way reflecting a really good understanding of the needs of their potential customers and with such a strong focus on social benefit. These ideas were all transformational in their own way and a great indication of a powerful move in young entrepreneurship.

The excitement of being together all in one room and networking over drinks and snacks may have been missing, but the advantage of an online event was that we were able to open up to a truly global audience, with attendees from Germany, India, Singapore, Pakistan, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and the United States, as well as from all over the United Kingdom.

Thank you to all those involved in the event.

Gradventure 2020 winner

GradVenture 2020 winner

Gradventure 2020 winner received £8000 for the Perspective Press Global idea.

Gradventure 2020 runner up

GradVenture 2020

Runners up 2020 for Bubble Mind.

GradVenture 2020 - Finalists

GradVenture 2020

GradVenture 2020 - Finalists