Microsoft Offers Young Entrepreneurs £10k Start-up Prize

Microsoft Offers  Young Entrepreneurs £10k Start-up Prize

Young entrepreneurs with socially responsible business ideas can pitch for £10,000 to get their ideas off the ground, following the launch of Microsoft’s Life Academy competition.

Applicants must be 18-25 years old and will be judged by a panel including Brent Hoberman, co-founder of, and Robert Winston, professor of science and society at Imperial College London.

Julia Owen, Internet Explorer product manager for Microsoft, said:

“We’re looking for original business ideas with an online element that wow the judges with their innovation.”

The Life Academy competition has three broad categories, each with a top £10,000 prize:

  • Online Venture Explorer, for ideas to do with business, technology and innovation
  • Creativity Explorer, for ideas connected with creativity, media, education and the arts
  • Adventurer Explorer, for ideas to do with travel, adventure and the environment

All ideas need to demonstrate an element of social responsibility, but this does need not be the main element.

Entrants will be judged on a two-minute video pitch and a 200-word idea description. Videos can be uploaded from cameras or phones direct to the Life Academy website, recorded at Life Academy Video Booths touring shopping centres or at special events at universities and colleges. 

“Videos pitches only need to be in the ideas stage so don’t worry if you’ve not got it off the ground yet,” said Owen. “However, the judges will be impressed with a concise vision of your idea that clearly lays out its benefits and how you’ll use £10,000 to make your idea a reality.”

The closing date for entries is 27 May and 12 finalists will be announced on 15 June. Finalists are due to present their ideas in person to the judges in the week starting 21 June. 

For more information about the competition and to upload a video pitch, visit

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