About the competition
Who should enter?
Flare is open to all full and part-time Herts students, along with those alumni who’ve graduated within the last three years.
Previous experience in running a business or working as a freelancer isn’t required; all you need is a business or innovative idea – whether it's a product or a service – or have an existing business which was launched in the last four years. We’re here to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators so will provide support to develop your idea—it's up to you to decide if you want to take it further.
You can enter Flare as an individual, or a team of up to five people which can include 50% students and / or alumni, along with non-University of Hertfordshire members.
We take all steps possible to protect the confidentiality of your ideas. This includes a non-disclosure agreement signed by anyone who has access to the Flare ideas and business plans. You can view the competition’s full terms and conditions here.
Rounds of the competition
Flare is split into three rounds, spread over five months. At each stage, there is a bespoke programme of support through group workshops, webinars and one-to-one advice sessions.
Round 1: Entry
Submit your round 1 entry via Handshake, ensuring you provide your student or alumni number.
We will accept both written and video entries (up to 3 minutes), provided you have clearly answered all the questions included in the written form.
All entries are reviewed and shortlisted based on our selection criteria (see below).
Round 2: Write a Business Model Canvas for your idea
Now that you’ve decided to enter, the learning begins—you'll attend the Flare Enterprise Bootcamp, where you’ll receive expert guidance on how to create a compelling Business Model Canvas—a one-page overview of your business or business idea.
You’ll then prepare and submit your own Business Model Canvas to the Enterprise Team. Be sure to use the competition template and adhere to the requested word count.
Results will be announced by email. Successful entrants must confirm they’d like to continue into the final round before advancing.
Round 3 – Finalists present their pitches
Finalists will then move on to attend a Pitch Bootcamp event where you'll learn how to craft the perfect pitch and test your skills in front of other finalists, with support of the enterprise team. Once your pitch is polished, you’ll go on to the final event of the competition, Pitch Day, where you'll have a chance to shine in front of the judging panel.
Our diverse panel of judges bring extensive knowledge and experience in business and entrepreneurship to the competition. They know great ideas when they see them and are looking to score you on the selection criteria but also the quality of your pitch, your answers during a rousing question-and-answer session, and the way you present yourself as an aspiring entrepreneur.
Finalists will get to attend a special lunchtime awards ceremony and networking opportunity in June during which we will announce the winners.
Finalists may be required to pre-record their pitches for the People's Choice vote. These pitches will be uploaded onto the UH website for audience members to view.
Healthcare and wellbeing - £3,000
Do you have an innovative idea that could disrupt and benefit the healthcare and wellbeing fields?
Ideas may include, but are not limited to: sports and physical activity, nutrition, social care, health-related services and products including apps and accessories.
Breakthrough science and new technologies - £3,000
Do you have an idea working at the cutting-edge of science and/or new technologies?
This category is open to anyone with an idea with that applies science and technology to solve a problem. Ideas can be based in any industry sector, including but not limited to: AgriTech, BioTech, EdTech, FinTech, FoodTech, HealthTech, GreenTech, IT, life sciences, digital technologies, software/electronics development.
Creative entrepreneurship - £3,000
Do you have a creative business idea or business with enough flair to win this category?
You do not need to be studying a creative arts subject to enter this category, but your idea or business should be positioned in the creative industries space. Ideas may include, but are not limited to screen arts, design, performing arts, fashion, publishing and broadcasting, advertising, architecture, photography or gaming.
Impactful entrepreneurship - £3,000
Do you have a socially-minded business or idea with the potential to tackle a social and/or environmental challenge and drive change?
If so, this category is for you. Entries in this category can include but are not limited to social enterprises.
‘Engineers in Business’ Fellowship Award - £3,000
Supported by the Engineers in Business Fellowship, this award is available to entrants whose teams are made up of engineers or to multidisciplinary teams that include at least one engineer. Ideas must have an engineering focus to qualify for this prize.
Flare entrepreneur of the year - £2,500
This award is selected by the judges from all shortlisted Flare finalists, reflecting the overall theme of sustainability that runs throughout each Flare category. All ideas/businesses should consider and propose ways that they can be sustainable.
People’s choice award - £2,500
As voted for by the audience.
At every stage of the competition, your submissions will be considered and scored against the selection criteria outlined below. Each criterion is weighted equally.
Strength of idea and product/service proposed: The application clearly articulates the idea / product / service the entrepreneur/company is offering and/or wishes to develop, what its value proposition is and what the ‘need’ for the product / service is.
Market awareness: The application has clearly identified a target market for commercialisation of the proposed product / service and clearly demonstrates that some preliminary research into competitors has been carried out.
Social & Environmental Sustainability: The application has considered social impact and / or environmental sustainability as part of its value proposition.
Innovation / Novelty / Creativity: The application proposes a novel product/service and/or business model and demonstrates creativity and innovation.
Strength of Business Model: The application has clearly outlined a credible revenue model for the proposed venture.
Pitch presentation round: Finalists will also be judged on the quality of the elevator pitch, ability to answer the panel's questions and the way you present yourself as an aspiring entrepreneur would also be considered by the judges.
How we help you grow your ‘Big Idea’
The concept of running your own business may seem daunting, especially if you are doing so for the first time. Here at Herts, we support all budding student and recent alumni entrepreneurs, whether you’re ready to enter Flare or not.
From workshops to one-to-one advice sessions, we have a wealth of resources on offer to help you develop your business idea, whether you're working through the early stages of an idea or you're already up and running.
Visit our Enterprise Zone to see all that what we offer—we’re sure you’ll be inspired.