Downing Enterprise is a competition where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to our expert board for a chance to win cash prizes of up to £2,000, seed funding of up to £25,000 and expert mentoring and business training from members of the Downing Enterprise board.  Participants can enter as individuals or in small teams.  At least one member of each team must be a current or former student at Downing College, Cambridge.  Aspiring teams lacking a Downing member should contact enquiries@downingenterprise.co.uk.

 

Downing Enterprise 2022 is now open!

Fill in the entry form here to submit your idea!

The entry form consists of a few basic questions about your prospective company.  Check out the form before you enter!  For the entry form, we want information on a number of different aspects of yout business:

  • We want to hear your Executive Summary – In a few paragraphs, how would you describe what your business does?  A non-expert should be able to understand what product or service you provide, and how you intend to make money with your business.
  • We want to know about you and your team – what are your strengths, what are your experiences, and what roles do you play in making the team work well together?
  • What is your target market? – Who will pay for your product?  What is the problem that your potential customers have that needs addressing, and what makes your product the best to suit their needs?  Are you targeting customers who you think would be most engaged by your product?
  • What is your strategy to grow and increase revenue?  From where you are today, what next steps will the business take in order to move towards increased revenue and profitability?
  • How would funding from Downing Enterprise help your business?  If you are successful in this competition, what would be your spending priorities to ensure the funding is best utilised?  Is there something that funding would allow you to do that is currently out of reach for your business?
  • What is the competitive landscape around your product like?  Who would be your main competitors?  How do you intend to compete with other, potentially larger and more established businesses with similar products.
We wish the best of luck to all entrants!
Submission deadline is midday (GMT), 3 January 2022.

The 2021 competition resulted in many companies receiving substantial funding.  We’re excited to see where these companies are headed, and hoping that there’s more success on the way this year!
On June 16th 2021, Where You AtVesmaChinHubs and Cambridge Nucleomics pitched for a second time to secure further investments, along with Mydflower, a sparkling elderflower wine company founded by Downing alum Michael Dew-Veal. Following the second pitch event, the Board were extremely impressed with the quality and viability of the presented business plans. We are pleased to announce that four teams have succeeded in securing investment sums from Downing Enterprise:

Where You At £20,000

Mydflower £20,000

Cambridge Nucleomics £Amount TBC

ChinHubs £Amount TBC

Downing Enterprise is a fantastic program that encourages innovation. We grew as a company even through the application process, the mentors are experienced, encouraging and supportive and that learning has just continued as we’ve grown. I would certainly recommend giving it a go.” – Charlotte Roach, previous winner

Downing Enterprise has funded an extensive portfolio of start-ups including The Tab, Wash Cycle Laundry, and LungFish Dive Systems. For more information see our facebook page.

Your business plan will be reviewed by the Downing Enterprise Board, consisting of Downing alumni who have entered the investment banking, venture capital, private equity, consulting and IP backgrounds industries.

Shortlisted teams will:

  • Receive mentorship from a Downing Enterprise Board member
  • Be given presentation skills training
  • Be invited to pitch their idea in the Howard Theatre at Downing College for the chance to win £2,000

After the pitch there may be further opportunity to present a full business plan for seed funding to take your business forward – in 2020, the further investments offered totalled £45k, click here for more details.

For more information, please contact enquiries@downingenterprise.co.uk, ftrp2@cam.ac.uk or hx255@cam.ac.uk.


Felix Prutton and Helena Xie
Downing Enterprise Board, Chief Operating Officers