Rules and procedures

Teams can have up to 6 members, and at least one must be a student of Downing College, or a recent graduate from Downing.
The deadline for entries to the first round of the competition is midnight, 1 January 2024. Entries of the best business ideas will be shortlisted and be offered presentation skills training and the chance to pitch their idea for the chance to win up to £2,000!

If you have more than one idea, you can enter multiple times!


Full Rules and Procedures

A. Competition Entry Criteria

  1. Teams must have at least one current Downing student or a Downing graduate who has graduated in the last 10 years (ie since 1 October 2013).
  2. Membership of teams is open to students of other colleges within the University of Cambridge.
  3. Students may enter as individuals or as part of a team of up to six members.
  4. Downing Fellows and others outside of the College may act as advisors to entrants.
  5. Existing businesses set up and run by students may be entered into the Competition provided that all other entry criteria are satisfied.
  6. Enterprises based on events will be eligible for entry.
  7. Individuals and teams may submit more than one entry per competition.
  8. Individuals and teams may enter competitions in more than one year.
  9. Winners will be eligible to enter in future years either as individuals or as teams as long as the other criteria are satisfied.
  10. All entrants will be required to behave ethically and honestly throughout the whole competition.
  11. The Board may at its discretion disqualify any entrant and withdraw funding at any time.

B. 2024 Business Ideas Stage: Chance to pitch for £2,000 for one page

  1. The competition will open in the Michaelmas Term and entry details will be published within the University and on the Downing College, JCR, and MCR websites (subject to the consent of the JCR and MCR Committees).
  2. Each entry must be no more than one side of A4 in a readable-sized font.
  3. Each plan must clearly state the name of the proposed business and the business objectives to be achieved, ie the customer problem that you are addressing and your strategy. It may also include information such as the expected timeframe to grow the business, the competitive landscape, any legal and regulatory conditions which might apply, the capital required and spending priorities, and a revenue and profit forecast. It may also include information on what the individual team members bring to the business.
  4. Preparation of proposals must not place excessive demands on undergraduates who must spend no more than two hours per week on implementing their business proposals during term time. We will monitor this carefully.
  5. Entries of the best business proposals will be reviewed by the Board for shortlisting.  Those teams which are shortlisted will be offered a mentor from the Board, presentation skills training, and the opportunity to pitch their idea to the Downing Enterprise Board and other spectators in the Howard Theatre on 12 March 2024.
  6. Entries should be submitted to by midnight, 1 January 2024. An accompanying email should list all members of the team, their colleges, matriculation years, subjects of study and CRSIDs, and the names and position of any advisors.

C. 2024 Pitch Event Stage

  1. Undergraduate teams wishing to proceed to this stage must obtain the written consent of their Tutors and Directors of Studies. A form will be provided for this purpose and must be submitted before any work on the business pitch commences.
  2. Team members may begin work on their business pitch at any time after the invitation to proceed to the Downing Enterprise Pitch Event has been accepted. However, Downing undergraduates will be expected to give priority to their academic work during term-time and must not spend more than two hours per week on the project.  The College will monitor this carefully.
  3. The Board will guide and advise each team on the production of a business pitch and members of the Board may act as mentors to each team.
  4. Each pitch must clearly state the business objectives to be achieved, the timeframe, the expected capital required, any legal and regulatory conditions which might apply and a revenue and profit forecast.
  5. Prizes of up to £2,000 for the best pitches may be offered following the pitch event after discussion by the Downing Enterprise Board.  The number and quantum of prizes awarded will be at the discretion of the Board.
  6. Individual members of the Board may choose to make an investment in a private capacity on terms consistent with those formerly agreed with the College through Downing Enterprise.

D. General Investment Conditions – Past Competitions

  1. Downing Enterprise reserves the right to withdraw funding if it is not used for the purposes for which it was intended or if, in the opinion of the Board, the use of the funding brings either Downing Enterprise or the College into disrepute or causes other harm to the College or members of the Board.
  2. The progress of teams will be monitored by Downing Enterprise normally for a period of 12 months from the date of the awarding of funding or longer if appropriate.
  3. Winners may establish limited liability companies for their enterprises and the Board will advise in this respect.
  4. Teams will be required to report regularly and to present accounts to the Board until it deems this to be no longer necessary.  The Board will allocate one or more of its number as mentors to guide the enterprises for a limited period.
  5. If further funding is needed at a later stage by existing Downing Enterprise invested companies, winners are required to offer all members of the Board an option to invest independently of the College and to advise and guide the enterprise in a private capacity subject to the agreement of the business owners and other members of the Board. This should be done before approaching any other potential investors.
  6. The College asks the winners of the Competition:
    • to remember Downing College if and when they become successful in the future  and to give consideration to making philanthropic donations to the College in  support of its educational and charitable objectives;
    • to take part in future Downing enterprise competitions at Downing College as investors,  judges and mentors as appropriate with the agreement of the Board.

E. Miscellaneous

  1. The Board may at any time change, withdraw or add to any of the above conditions at its discretion.