It’s incredible to think that we are only a month away from closing entries for this year’s BIG Awards. This is the second BIG Awards competition we have run in the UK since the British Innovation Gateway programme was announced in January 2011 by Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The annual open innovation competition identifies and offers financial and mentor support for the next generation of the UK’s digital entrepreneurs and startup companies.

It seems like yesterday that we were at the top of the Gherkin, launching this year’s competition and hearing about the great progress that last year’s winners – Snap Fashion, Digital Shadows, and Six 3 – have made over the past 6 months. Now the sun has come out (briefly), the football season is over, and we start to think about summer and the announcement of our 20 short-listed semi-finalists.

The BIG Awards 2013: One Month Left for Entries

Already this year’s competition is shaping up to be a classic. Competition is strong between entries already submitted, all trying to secure as many votes as possible and canvassing support from the wider BIG community.

The range of ideas and submissions is incredible. From an app that helps find missing people, to a lifestyle dashboard, to a platform for debate and opinion – once again the range of ideas is huge and diverse. Currently we have a great balance across the 4 category areas that we are accepting submissions on: BIG data, Internet Of Things/Everything, Collaboration, and Mobility.

We are extremely pleased that with 1 month to go we have entries flooding in, but we know there are a lot more out there. We encourage you to enter as soon as you can if you are based in the UK and involved in something tech based that is truly innovative, or know someone who should enter but just needs that final push!

Plus, the sooner you submit your idea, the longer people will be able to vote. The top 2 favourites automatically go through to the semi-finals. What are you waiting for? Encourage your friends to vote!

Don’t forget last year’s winner, Jenny Griffiths from Snap Fashion, only entered at the very last minute when she heard about us on Twitter. What a result!

The BIG Awards Roadshow

One of the really enjoyable parts of the BIG Awards at this stage is being able to go out to universities, business schools, entrepreneurship societies, and incubation hubs the length and breadth of the country to promote the BIG programme. Seeing and hearing first-hand about the projects that people are getting involved in around the UK and how we can help is always inspiring.

In the last few weeks we have been to Dundee, Glasgow, Bradford, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, Cambridge, Southampton, Guildford, and London to encourage entries to the competition and network with the communities around these centres of incubation/innovation. Many are already nodes on the National Virtual Incubator (NVI) and some are considering getting involved, but each time we have met and talked to some incredibly talented young people with fantastic ideas that they are working on.

The tour will come to a close over the next month but we’re still planning to be in Swansea on 3 and 4 June, Cambridge on 5 June, and Oxford on 18 June, so if you are in those locations please come and say hello.

With a month to go for final entries it’s natural that our minds move toward the semi-final stage of the competition. It’s at this point that the competition comes alive. The semi-finalists meet each other face to face, and we introduce them to their mentors. Also, entrants meet our BIG Awards partners – including the guys from Bird & Bird, Right Management, Octopus, and DNX – and start to understand what the eventual winners prize could look like come November when we hold the live finals event.

So don’t delay, get your entry in now!


Tom Kneen

Business Development Manager, CTO Office, UKI

GEO - Sales UKI Mgmt