The Big Idea Competition is the University of Westminster’s annual small enterprise competition for students and recent graduates, historically supported by Santander Universities UK. The competition offers applicants the chance to develop their entrepreneurial skills through the competition’s pitching format and grow their businesses with the prize funding on offer.

Applicants submit video pitches across three categories  Freelance, Ideate and Accelerate – to the judging panel, who later shortlist three finalists for each category and ultimately select a winner.

The art of the pitch

The Big Idea Competition zeros in one of the most allusive and difficult skills in business – the pitch. Without a strong pitch, most ideas will never get to be more than an idea, and yet it is a skill that young entrepreneurs often have little to no opportunity to develop. And that is Big Idea Competition steps in. The competition’s entire focus is on empowering young entrepreneurs to practice and perfect their pitching skills in a controlled environment with an emphasis on constructive feedback from the panel of experts.



The Freelance category is designed for students and graduates who wish to pursue a professional freelancing or portfolio-based career. Participants have spanned from creative to highly technical fields including, photography, copywriting, App development, PR, accounting, and many, many more. 


The Ideate Category is designed for students and graduates whose products or services are at an early stage. With products, target customers and business models still in development, their ideas are either not yet registered as businesses or not yet generating revenue. 


The Accelerate Category is suited to students and graduates who own existing, registered and trading businesses with a working product or service, or at least a minimum viable product.

About the WE Network

The WE Network is fast becoming the pre-eminent entrepreneurship hub supporting all Westminster students and recent graduates to develop transferable and industry-relevant entrepreneurial skills. It is a programme grounded in excellence, with the University of Westminster being awarded Social Enterprise Gold Mark for second year running in 2022, a year on from becoming the first London university to be awarded the accreditation. As the WE Network moves permanently to 29MR, we are determined to significantly upscale our award-winning programme of workshops, competitions, and mentoring, to help a far wider pool of University students reach market success.  

Corporate Partnership opportunities 

The Big Idea Challenge is an excellent example of the potential for expertise sharing and direct financial support between businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, via the WE Network’s guidance. For example, as part of its sponsorship, Santander providing funding whilst taking part in event panels and bootcamp sessions, even occasionally providing one-to-one guidance of entrepreneurial students at difference stages in their business journeys. Corporate partners can follow this blueprint of dual funding & expertise provision in the Big Idea Challenge, and similar initiatives such as the Pioneer Programme. The corporate perspective is pivotal to the effectiveness of the Big Idea Competition and the development of our aspiring entrepreneurs.