Startup Awards North East Applications

2021 had a record breaking number of applicants Are you ready to step into the spotlight for 2022?

We asked to hear from people who had ambition, passion, drive, motivation, with a desire to change the world...and we heard them loud and clear!

A HUGE congratulations to each and every applicant who took the FIRST step and applied for the Awards in 2021 - If you can startup or run a small business during a pandemic then you can do anything!

The quality of applicants last year was next level, which made judging for the shortlisted finalists a very tough process. 

In 2022 we want to hear from even more of the regions aspiring entrepreneurs as we will celebrate in 1 MEGA day like never before! Uniting all categories #SkillUP #StartUP #ScaleUP so you can create more collaborations and build meaningful connections that matter!

Check out 2021 Shortlisted Finalists

Are you curious about starting up? #SkillUP

Previous winners for 2021 were;

  • Nick Gardiner - Displai
  • Amy Clunes - Whoz Amy 
  • Farzaneh Hajirasouliha - Vivid Future


This category is open to students, graduates, early stage founders, intrapreneurs and young people.

If you have not registered as a business yet but are looking to develop your ideas further and learn new skills then this is the category for you!

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Just started your business? #startup

Previous 2021 winners were;

This category is open to early stage founders who are a registered business or sole trader. You have been established up to 4 years and have less than £50K turn over. 

If you are looking for resources to take your business to the next stage then this category is for you!

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Looking to grow your startup? #scaleup

Previous 2021 winners were;

Laura Hepburn - Greenology

Gary Giles - OGEL

Pat O'Connor - VRAI

This category is open to registered businesses and sole traders who have been established up to 4 years with a turnover of over £50k.

If you are looking to scale up and take action to grow your business to the next level then this category is for you!

headshot of Amy Lou Clunes

"I feel I have connected well with the whole FIRST team, especially Sam Clegg who was amazing through the whole course and helped all the group with any questions, even out of hours, felt like he really was always there to help! I also connected with the most amazing group of like minded people and felt so uplifted and supported by a group of people I’ve never even met, it’s been an amazing experience."

Amy Lou Clunes

Application checklist

  1. Checked the eligibility criteria and which category you are applying for.
  2. Read all the Startup Awards North East Terms and Conditions.
  3. Have reviewed the judging criteria for Social Impact Award AND High Growth Award. All applicants are judged on both criteria and have the opportunity to win either of these awards. See full details below.
  4. Have reviewed the United Nations Sustainability Goals and selected ONE which aligns most with you/your company values and goals.
  5. Have reviewed the tips on how to make a killer applications pitch .
  6. Have reviewed the tips on how to create your application video on YouTube.
  7. You will need a Gmail account to complete the form, and upload your files. Find out how to set up a Gmail Account here.
  8. Have SAVED your photos, logos with your Full Name and Company Name BEFORE uploading to the form.
  9. Have included a YouTube link to your pitch video which is NO MORE than 3 minutes long.
  10. If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact 

Hints and tips to WOW the judges

The criteria used by the judges is detailed below but what they really want to know is about you, your business and the impact you are making or planning to make on the North East business eco-system.

The Awards are competitive and attract lots of applicants from across the region, so to help you stand out from the crowd here are a few hints into the criteria the judges will be using so you can include them in your video application presentation.

All applicants across each category will be judged across the same criteria, and given the opportunity to be shortlisted for the finals of Startup Awards North East 2022, where the winner of each Award will be decided by a live public vote.

The criteria below is designed to be useful to help you plan, prepare and win over the judges to make the final list. However, the most important thing is that the judges get to know YOU and YOUR BUSINESS and you are happy with the presentation you do. 

Good luck :)

This Award is designed for you to shout about the social impact your business can have on the local community in which you work, the business sector your business sits in and the wider impact within the North East business eco-system.

This is your opportunity to talk about the impact your business has on the individuals, communities, sector and North East regional environment.

Here are the key themes judges will be looking for:

  • Positive social change – At a time when social impact and change is headline news, the question is how do you do it? What goals in relation to positive social change do you have and what is the impact you are wanting to make? This could include any positive impact you make to improve the lives of individuals, as part of the wider local community or the impact on the regional profile of the North East. This is your opportunity to shout about any social purpose you have linked with your business ethos and what you do within your business that brings a social value to individuals, communities and business.
  • Social/environmental impact on decision making - You may have highlighted the elements of your business that impact on social change but how does that influence your day-to-day decisions? Maybe use an example of how you consider the social and/or environmental impact when making decisions about your business, product or service; it may be around your choice of suppliers, the decisions you make about business travel or the steps you take within your office/work environment. Shout about how your decision making within your business improves the lives of others and the environment.
  • Impact measurement - So we all say we make an impact but the judges want to know how you measure it? What are your benchmarks and how do you know you have met them? Has the way you measure impact changed as your business has developed and if so how and for what reasons. The judges don’t have a checklist of what or how to measure impact but will be curious to find out if and how you do it.
  • Scale up of impact - So you have told the judges about the impact you have made, now it's time to show them how your business growth plan can increase that social or environmental impact. Use examples that demonstrate your plans and make sure you link it back to the social values you told them all about earlier in the presentation. Be bold and innovative but be realistic.

This Awards is designed to shout about the planned growth of your business and judges are keen to know about how you plan to grow your business over the next 12 months and beyond.

This is your opportunity to talk about your business plans, your ideas and ambition for the future and your plans to grow.

Here are the key themes judges will be looking for:

  • Growth and sustainability - Growing sustainably and generating profit with a business model and plan that enables sustainable growth and profit generation is key for this Award. The big question is do you have a growth plan for your business that is sustainable? Let the judges know in your video application the business model you follow, what are your growth plans and how much profit are you projecting will come from that. What does sustainability mean to you (lets face it we all have our own definitions) and what are some of the factors you have considered that can help or hinder that growth.
  • Short and long terms ambitions – Judges love to hear about business’ ambition. Make sure you explain what your short and long term ambitions are and include any internal and external factors that will help these plans be realistic. If there is a risk explore that in your presentation and highlight the plans you have in place to mitigate that risk. Be bold but be realistic!
  • Employing others - If employment of people into your business is in your plan then shout about it. Explain the need for the roles you are exploring and how that fits into your growth business plan and the wider impact on jobs, opportunities for others, development and reach of your business etc.
  • If you are not planning on employing other staff in the next 12 months we want to know that too. It may be that that you are focusing on consolidation or extending your business reach in the short term … it's not essential that you employ into your business for the Awards.

Make the magic happen Nominate now

Do you know someone with buckets of ambition, but they maybe lack a bit of self-belief? If they have a great idea or their business needs a boost, then your nomination can fill them with confidence and provide connections and resources to support a successful business journey.

Please complete the form below and they will receive an email to say they have been nominated and invite them to apply. Even just receiving an email for a nomination could be the validation and confidence boost they need to continue their journey.

So what are you waiting for? Do something UP lifting today :)

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