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New funding competition offers £20k impact accelerator grant to scale up a social enterprise

Melanie May | 7 June 2024 | News

A group of people dressed in yellow t-shirts stand in front of their food stall called Bounceback Food.
Bounceback Food, which has been supported by the Ford Family Foundation

Enterprising university students and recent graduates have the chance to win funding to scale up their social enterprise, with the launch of a new funding competition.

Ignite is being launched by the Ford Family Foundation and is supported by UK universities, including Durham. The overall winner will receive a £20,000 impact accelerator grant to scale up their social enterprise, with a further £30,000 being shared between the other four finalists.

University students and recent graduates in the UK must enter their existing social enterprise by 19 July to be in with a chance of winning the funding along with expert mentoring and networking opportunities.


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Each business will need to provide a 1500 word written application or six slide pitch deck, a five minute video pitch and financial projections for the next 12 months. The shortlist of five will be announced in August ahead of a final pitching and celebration event at The Shard on the evening of 3 October, overseen by industry expert judges.

Durham University’s Senior Enterprise Manager, Marek Tokarski, commented:

“Ignite represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Durham University and the Ford Family Foundation, equipping students with the tools, resources, and mentorship needed to transform their innovative ideas into impactful social enterprises. We’re proud to be the first university to get behind this transformative pitching competition, with the process alone providing a rewarding experience for those taking part.”

Ford Family Foundation and Ignite founder, Tony Ford, added:

“We want to hear from ambitious social entrepreneurs on a mission to make a lasting difference with their emerging business. These rising stars may still be at university or will have graduated in the last three years and will be keen to showcase how their social enterprise has the potential to solve existing problems and improve lives. We’re very much looking forward to working together to remove the financial barriers to growth and amplify the impact of these innovative and exciting social enterprises.”

More details

Ignite is hosting application webinars to support entrants with invaluable insights into the application and judging process. Each of the five shortlisted finalists will receive pitching support, personalised coaching sessions and brand storytelling advice from Cambio Consultancy’s Peter Ptashko. Mathys & Squire is providing the event space and will guide the entrants in approaching Intellectual Property to secure protection for brands, technical innovations and design rights.

The five finalists invited to The Shard on 3 October will deliver a short pitch to a live studio audience and panel of industry-leading experts, with a three-minute Q&A session to follow. There will be a keynote speech and networking opportunities, accompanied by champagne and canapés.