Who we are

Ignite is the brand new pitching competition for aspiring social entrepreneurs offering an unparalleled opportunity for student and graduate social enterprises looking scale their impact.

We are on a mission to ignite the spark of entrepreneurship in social impact leaders, enabling impactful social change through innovative, sustainable enterprise solutions. Through our competition, initiatives, and partnerships, we aim to create equitable pathways to entrepreneurship and build a vibrant community of changemakers.

About the Competition:

Ignite is a unique pitching event designed exclusively for the social entrepreneur.

We are looking for the next social impact trailblazers emerging from UK universities to come and pitch their social enterprise for the opportunity to win a share of our incredible £50,000 Impact Accelerator Fund.

With a top prize of £20,000 and a tailored support package up for grabs, this is your chance to ignite your impact!

What We’re Looking For:

Ignite is all about supporting entrepreneurship and accelerating the impact social enterprises are able to make. We are here to ignite the impact of students and recent graduates across the UK who are passionate about making a positive difference through business.

We are looking for high quality impact with the capability to scale, sustainable social enterprise business models, innovative solutions to societal challenges and most importantly passionate founders who are deeply committed to creating change.

Who Should Apply:

We are looking for trailblazing impact founders who are ambitious, passionate and ready to make a change!

To apply to Ignite, you need to be a student or recent graduate from a UK university, have an existing social enterprise you’re looking to grow and ambitions to build a sustainable impact business. You can find our full criteria for this below.

Our Impact Accelerator grants are specifically intended to do just that – accelerate the impact a social enterprise can make. It doesn’t matter what change you’re trying to make, we welcome social innovators from all back grounds and disciplines. What matters most is unlocking maximum impact through entrepreneurship and that all applicants are looking for funding to ignite their impact.

Whether you’re tackling poverty, promoting social inclusion, or advancing equitable education and employment, developing new impactful technologies, creating community initiatives or revolutionising systems come and showcase your social impact!

Eligibility Requirements:

Ignite is a competition for the rising stars in social enterprise and we want to make sure our funding provides opportunity where it will be of most value and make the biggest impact.

To ensure fairness, transparency and to verify applicants as social enterprises, we’ve outlined specific criteria for participation. Please ensure you meet this prior to application:

  • At least one team member must have graduated from a UK university in the past 3 years.

  • Applicants must be from an existing organisation beyond concept, not as an individual.

  • Be able to provide demonstrable evidence of impact and commitment to social and environmental goals.

  • Have a turnover and/or previous funding of under £100,000.

  • Must be available for a live pitching final in October based in London.

  • A plan to generate 50% or more of income through trading within 3 years.

  • Be a social enterprise built for impact with a legal structure to support the commitment to social change. This should include at least one of the following characteristics: an asset lock, a mission statements, articles or a written commitment to impact, a formal commitment to reinvest profits into the business, beneficiaries or community.

How to apply:

Ready to take the next step? Our application process is simple and can be completed online. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Read through our guidance and complete your written application, cash flow projection, and video pitch.
  2. Complete your application here.


At Ignite we take a founder first approach and we want to make sure you’re supported from the very start of our application process. We welcome all student graduate social entrepreneurs valuing big visions and aspirations over all. We’re here to help with some top tips on each section of the application.

Assessing Opportunities at Ignite

At Ignite, every application is carefully reviewed by a seasoned panel of judges, including representatives from the Ford Family Foundation, alongside independent experts. Out of these, five outstanding finalists will be selected to pitch live at the final event for a chance to secure a share of the £50,000 prize pot.

We believe in transparency and equipping applicants with the best possible chance. To help you prepare, here’s an insight into our evaluation framework.


We take a founder-first approach, prioritising the entrepreneur and people behind the impact.

Enterprise and Sustainability:

Impact isn’t just about short-term gains; it’s about creating lasting change. We assess the sustainability of each business model, looking for strategies that ensure continued positive outcomes well into the future.

Vision and Ambition:

We’re interested in social enterprise that have the potential to scale their impact exponentially, reaching more people and driving even greater change over time. We look for ventures with a bold vision and ambitious goals.

Application Journey:

We are here to help you embark on your Ignite journey with confidence. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect through all the stages and the timeline we plan to run to.

The Timeline

  • April


    Applications now open! Begin your Ignite journey by submitting your application today.

  • 31st July


    Application Deadline – Make sure your application reaches us before the deadline to be in with a shot at our incredible prize package.

  • August


    Finalists Announcement – The big reveal of our successful social entrepreneurs!



    Pre Event Support – Finalists get the chance to access professional IP advice and coaching to get them pitch perfect.

  • OCT


    Live Competition Final October 3rd 2024 – Join us at the Iconic Shard, London for a captivating pitching finale with judging panel, a live audience and other surprises!