What is it?
CitySpark is a business ideas competition open to all City students and recent alumni. CitySpark focusses on finding problems, identifying real gaps in the market and building evidence based startups from day one. Unlike other University business plan competitions, CitySpark encourages students to gain real life insights and feedback on their ideas, demonstrating how they will gain traction in the real world.
The competition is split into two challenges taking place throughout the academic year and an intensive startup summer school to help you develop your business skills and get your business venture off the ground.
CitySpark is designed to provide you with the tools to turn a bright spark business idea into a fully-fledged startup.
- Find out how to design & build a startup business
- Receive 1-to-1 mentoring from a business experts
- Pitch your idea to local entrepreneurs and investors
- Develop key enterprise skills to enhance your employability and career prospects
Autumn term competition – The CitySpark Marketplace
All great businesses are built on solving problems. No problem, no business. It’s that simple.
This Autumn CitySpark challenges you to identify something that you think is broken and needs fixing. Find a great problem, get to know your customers and you’re a step closer to starting a successful business.
The top 20 entries will be invited to a special marketplace event in early December where you will get the chance to pitch your idea to local entrepreneurs, business experts, and alumni who will each vote on their favourite ideas.
What you could win:
- 1 prize awarded for £1000
- 2 prizes awarded for £500
- 3 prizes awarded for £250
- Special GreenSpark award of £1000 for the winning eco-friendly idea
The Finalists for the Marketplace have now been selected! You can check here to see who they are!
Spring term competition – The CitySpark Grand Final
For Spring, CitySpark challenges you to develop your business idea (watch the below video for inspiration). We are looking for businesses with a viable business model, evidence of talking to customers by getting ‘out of the building’ and a well developed action plan for growth. The Grand Final is open to all students and recent graduates (up to two years), regardless of whether they took part in the autumn term competition or not.
The best entries are invited to a pitching event. Finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to guests spanning successful entrepreneurs, business experts, alumni and a group of judges who will then vote for their favourite ideas.
Up to 5 teams will receive a £3,000 cash prize. The prizes are kindly supported by the City Future Fund.
All entries to the CitySpark Grand Final 2017 will be scored using the following criteria, with 20 marks awarded for each section giving a total score out of 100:
- Is there a clearly defined problem?
- Is there a clearly articulated, differentiated, deliverable and innovative solution?
- Is the market clearly defined, addressable and scalable?
- Is there a viable and sustainable business model?
- Is the plan backed up by concrete evidence, e.g prototypes, mock-ups, contact with prospective customers and partners?
Deadlines for 2017 will be released in the Spring term.
Summer Term – Startup Summer School
Over the summer we offer a 2 week Startup Summer School programme for up to twenty teams to work on their startup and develop their understanding of their product, market and customers with help and guidance from industry experts. The programme will end with the CitySpark Demo Day when all of the participating teams will get to pitch their business to an invited panel of successful entrepreneurs and investors.