We are now accepting applications. The submission deadline is 4pm on 2 September 2019.

What is the Launchpad Competition?

Who may enter?

What is the assessment process?

What is the prize?

Is there a confidentiality disclosure agreement for the reviewers?

What else do I gain from entering this competition?

Why do you want a pitch video?

What is the closing date

How will this project be overseen and monitored?

Im not a chartered engineer, can I still apply?

What should I include in the pitchdeck?

I have an idea for an app, can I apply?

I have not made any sales, am I too early?

Why is the stage 1 application anonymous?

Further information


What is the Launchpad Competition?

Its a competition for young entrepreneurs to prove their idea is worth pursuing by putting it to a panel of experts to assess and advise. The winner receives help to achieve their vision, in the form of seed funding, training, mentoring and access to the Academy's network.

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Who may enter?

The lead applicant must be based in the UK and be between the ages of 18-25 on the date of the pitching final, 24 October 2019. Applicants should have a viable and commercial business proposition with a large market opportunity. The proposed technology must be an innovation or invention in engineering and/or technology. The lead applicant should be intending to play a leading role in the development of their business. If you intend to wait until after January 2020 to dedicate yourself to starting a business, for example until you finish a qualification, we would encourage you to apply next year instead because the support offered by the award is for the 12 months following the Competition Final.

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What is the assessment process?

A Judging Panel composed of entrepreneurs, investors and Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering will review the Stage 1 applications and shortlisted candidates will be invited to submit a Stage 2 application and to present to the panel. The presentations will require each candidate to pitch their business idea to the panel in no more than five minutes. A Q&A session will follow.

The top candidates will become finalists and invited to present to a live audience at the final on 24 October 2019 in London. The Judging Panel wil decide the winner of the JC Gammon Award. There will also be a People's Choice award, which will be decided by a public vote. 

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What is the prize?

  • The JC Gammon Award
  • £15,000 equity-free cash priz. As a charity we take no stake in your business, and merely wish to provide young entrepreneurs with support.
  • Membership of the Enterprise Hub including mentoring, training, networking opportunities with some of the UK's most successful entrepreneurs and investors. 
  • PR, marketing and promotion assistance.
  • Access to the Taylor Centre, our exclusive drop-in workspace in central London

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Is there a confidentiality disclosure agreement for the reviewers?

There is no non-disclosure agreement to be signed, to do so would be impractical as we do not know what you are going to submit and cannot expect each of the 5 Judging Panel members to sign contracts with potentially dozens of applicants. However all reviewers are informed that the information is strictly confidential.

Applicants are not required to present any sensitive intellectual property; you do not need to provide the technical details which would make a non-disclosure agreement necessary. If any panel member or audience member asks a question to which the answer is confidential, you may answer to that effect. Many such questions can be answered in a very general way without providing detail. We are mainly interested in what the innovtion does, and what is your plan to commercialise it. The precise details of how it works are of secondary importance, and we ask that you have a proof of concept as proof that it does indeed work as you say it does. 

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What else do I gain from entering this competition?

The winner will join a cohort of like minded entrepreneurs from whom to learn from and engage with. Finalists may also be offered Hub Membership if considered favourably enough. If you get through to interview stage, there is the learning experience of having your business idea critiqued by a group of industrial technical experts and financiers. There are few better ways to test the strength of your ideas than to see if others are willing to support it. If you are unsure as to whether or not you should pursue this idea as a career, then this competition could help provide the answer.

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Why do you want a pitch video in stage 2?

All applicants who reach Stage 2 must submit a short elevator pitch video. Quality is not an issue and mobile phone footage is the norm. Some freely available online software also allows for the creation of animated videos. 

We ask for a video for two primary reasons:

  1. To many people this is an understandably daunting task, so this is a quick method to find out if you have the drive necessary to lead a startup. If you are not prepared to talk about your idea in a controlled environment, how are you ever going to sell it to anyone? 
  2. It is a great way for reviewers to see you in action, your passion for the project, your ability to sell yourself and the innovation, and if possible for you to show-off a working prototype of the product.

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What is the closing date?

The closing date for Stage 1 is 4 pm on 2 September 2019.

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How will this project be overseen and monitored?

We ask for a brief email each week and for a formal report every quarter to update us on what progress you have made and problems you are encountering so that we may understand how best to support you. 

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I am not a chartered engineer, can I still apply?

Yes that is fine, we do not expect you to be chartered, and you do not need to have an engineering degree. Many of the applicants are designers rather than engineers, all we ask is that the innovation itself is engineering. 

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What should I include in the pitchdeck?

That is entirely up to you, but we would recommend you keep it brief, explain the problem, your ask and the business model. There is plenty of advice on the internet, and if you are stuck we have a template here, but you dont need to follow it.  

Pitch-deck-template-2019

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I have an idea for an app, can I apply?

Maybe. We dont consider software to be an innovation in itself, so there must be an inventive step behind the software which others would struggle to replicate, so the app is the method of delivery for the innovation, and is not the clever bit of itself.  

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I have not made any sales, am I too early?

Although some applicants will have limited sales already we don't expect it, and applications without any sales will still be competitive. We do ask that you have at least reached Technology Readiness Level 4, so you have tested the innovation under ideal conditions and know it works. You do not need to have an MVP, it can just be a crude mock-up made in your garage. 

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Why is the stage 1 application anonymous?

The Royal Academy of Engineering is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from all under-represented groups across engineering. It is the Academy's policy to ensure that no applicant is disadvantaged or receives less favourable treatment because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, gender and sexual orientation. Enabling anonymity in stage 1 will ensure all applications are considered purely on their own merits, and not subject to any form of confirmation bias.  

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Further information

All questions should be sent to the Enterprise team