Flagship entrepreneurial competition celebrates a decade of innovation

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A group of people take part in a panel

Previous VCC participants taking part in a discussion for this year's cohort

The Venture Catalyst Challenge, Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurial competition for early-stage ventures, is celebrating its tenth year.

Over its ten-year history, the Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) has demonstrated an impressive ability to identify and nurture successful ventures. Previous participants have gone on to raise over £200 million in funding and create over 750 jobs. Notable success stories include Notpla which recently became the first UK winner of the Earthshot Prize. 

This year’s cohort of 25 teams for the VCC are now beginning the three-month programme to commercialise their ideas and win a share of the £100,000 prize money. 

Diverse projects

This year, participants are working on diverse projects including the world's first adjustable lower limb prosthetic cover, which covers where the artificial limb meets the socket, a novel aerodynamic design that makes supersonic aviation and space travel cheaper and cleaner, and sustainable wave energy converters that preserve the natural beauty of the ocean.  

Participants are competing on five sector-specific tracks:  

  • AI & Robotics – sponsored by I-X 
  • Creative and Consumer – sponsored by Imperial College London 
  • Health and Wellbeing – sponsored by Novartis 
  • Digital and Finance – sponsored by Santander Universities 
  • Energy and Environment – sponsored by Undaunted 

The VCC aims to equip participants with vital skills, exposure and acceleration in order for their startups to thrive beyond Imperial in the wider commercial world. The comprehensive programme includes tailored professional advice to support teams as they develop their plans, complemented by coaching, training sessions and structured masterclasses. 

The winning teams from each track will pitch their ideas to industry-leading judges at the Grand Final in May, with the overall winner receiving a total prize of £30,000. 

Supporting the best Imperial teams

Ben Mumby-Croft, Director of Entrepreneurship at Imperial said: “With the Venture Catalyst Challenge celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, it’s great to welcome another 25 teams onto the 2023 edition. VCC is Imperial’s flagship student entrepreneurship competition, supporting some of the best Imperial teams through their early development stages and offering the largest prize fund of any UK-based university.  

“With teams on the programme covering a wide array of technologies and sectors, from medtech to consumer goods, I’m excited to watch them grow and develop over the next three months and beyond.” 

Two women smile holding trophies
VCC 2022 winners Dotplot

Sarah Ranchev-Hale, Head of Enterprise Lab said: “I’m very happy to launch the 2023 Venture Catalyst Challenge and once again welcome 25 of Imperial’s most exciting startups to the programme. VCC gives teams an intensive learning experience through group workshops on a variety of topics from financial modelling to team culture and 1-2-1 business coaching.  

“It also incorporates other Enterprise Lab services, including sessions with experts from our Experts-in-Residence service and mentors from the Imperial Venture Mentoring Service, ensuring teams are getting expert advice and feedback.” 


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 3970
Email: joanna.wilson@imperial.ac.uk

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Sylvia Garvin

Sylvia Garvin


Events, Student-entrepreneurship, Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Entrepreneurship, Enterprise
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