For students

Inspire Launch Grow Awards

Our biggest competition is ready to hear from you in 2022! Inspire Launch Grow is our annual celebration of entrepreneurship at the University of Edinburgh.

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We want to recognise the resilience, ambition and accomplishments of entrepreneurs from the University with our Inspire Launch Grow Awards.

Enter the Inspire Launch Grow Awards competition and be in with a chance of winning part of the £20,000 prize fund plus the choice of either a photography package or custom-made pitch deck.

Join us at the Awards to discover the winners

Thursday 9 June, 3pm-6.30pm 

Potterrow Dome, 5 Bristo Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL 

Book your place now


All applications will be reviewed by the shortlisting panel, made up of the Enterprise Services team. They reserve the right to move you to a different category than the one you applied for if they believe this would benefit you. In some cases, a business adviser may nominate an entrant for Inspire Launch Grow if they are already working with the team.

1. Inspire - Emerging Innovation Award

For technology-based businesses, social enterprises and ideas with outstanding commercial potential who are at an early stage. The finalists have been judged to have a novel, interesting or unique idea, along with their business model. Emerging innovations will be currently in development but will have a promise for high growth as well as scalability and the potential to create jobs and have an impact on the local economy. In this category, judges are looking for strong customer validation and those who are at the start of their entrepreneurial journey. The enterprises must not have generated more than £20,000 in any form of funding/revenue.

2. Launch - Impact Award

Designed for non-technical enterprises focused on change for the common good. Judges will be looking for those with the potential to benefit communities or the environment. The winning enterprise will be led by their social mission and be able to measure their impact. However, it should not stop there.  Finalists must demonstrate a financially sustainable business model. This category invites those whose mission is to make the world a better place; from charities to social enterprises.

3. Grow - Growth Innovation Award

The judges are looking to be impressed. This award is for teams with a strong market fit, who are at the launch or pre-launch stage. This award is for technology-based businesses, social enterprises, and ideas with high growth potential. The initial concept, feasibility testing and market validation must be established and a product or prototype must have been developed. The enterprises must not have generated more than £200,000 in the form of funding/revenue.  

4. Moving Mountains Micro Awards

*NEW* This year we are welcoming entries to our Inspire Launch Grow Moving Mountains Micro Awards with your inspiring story and win a £500 prize and have your story featured at the event!  Enter this category with either a 3-minute video or a 500 word story. Find out more and enter here. 


Unsuccessful applicants can receive feedback on their application and further advice by booking a meeting with a business adviser via our website.

How it works

  • Enter the competition by the deadline of 10am (GMT) on Monday 18 April 2022.
  • If you wish to enter the Moving Mountains Micro Awards use this application form. More information can be found here. 
  • Finalists for the Impact Award, the Emerging Innovation Award, and the Growth Innovation Award will need to pitch to a panel of judges in the week commencing 9 May 2022.  
  • Winners announced at the Inspire Launch Grow Awards, an in-person event on Thursday 9 June, 3pm-6.30pm at the Potterrow Dome.


  • Only current students and recent graduates (up to two years after graduation) from the University of Edinburgh can apply 
  • If you are alumni and do not have the UUN credentials, you can still submit an application. 


We have a total prize fund of approx. £20,000 with a top prize of £5,000 for each of the three categories and £500 for runners-up. If you are successful the prize money can be used at your discretion.

All finalists will win their choice of a professional photography package or a professionally created pitch deck.  

Finalists Pitches

This is not a pitching competition and you will not be judged on your pitching skills. However, you will need to successfully communicate your startup and answer questions from the judges. A panel of expert judges from external organisations and businesses will listen to and evaluate your proposal.

Each category will have its own judging panel made up of those with the most relevant experience. This will include one Edinburgh Innovations employee, a previous Inspire Launch Grow winner or finalist and one business expert. Previously, our judges have come from: Mercia Technology, Scottish National Heritage, Princes Trust Youth Business Scotland, Scottish EDGE and Archangel Investors.

This will be a closed ten-minute pitch (with no audience) and an additional ten minutes for questions from the judges. We do offer pitching workshops to help you prepare for the pitch.

Finalists Pitches will be held in the week commencing 09 May 2022 9am-6pm online.

Awards Ceremony

The winners will be announced at our prestigious Inspire Launch Grow Awards Ceremony on Thursday 9 June, 3pm-6.30pm at the Potterow Dome. 

This is our annual celebration of enterprise and a chance for Inspire Launch Grow applicants, finalists and winners to pitch and talk about their business with the wider enterprise ecosystem. We aim to make this event a celebration of our students and alumni entrepreneurial success while giving attendees the opportunity to connect and form new partnerships and collaborations. Invitees include University of Edinburgh entrepreneurs, alumni, entrepreneurial organisations, business people, partners, investors and university colleagues. If you are not a finalist, but would like to attend Inspire Launch Grow Awards please register here.

Inspire Launch Grow 2022 dates

Competition deadline:  10am (GMT) Monday 18 April
Pitching finals: w/c 9 May 
Inspire Launch Grow Awards Ceremony:    Thursday 9 June, 3pm-6.30pm, the Potterow Dome


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