About University Sparks

Do you have an amazing business idea? Take the first step to turn your idea into reality.

University Sparks is a crowdfunding competition that brings together university students from all over the UK and Ireland to find the best new business ideas and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. It was created by students from different colleges around Ireland in partnership with Spark Crowdfunding.

The unique aspect of this competition is that students choose the winners by investing virtual funds into their favourite ideas. Any student can invest regardless of whether or not they have submitted a business idea to the competition.

The winning ideas with the most investment are awarded cash prizes, empowering students to begin their entrepreneurial journey.

Last Year’s Irish Finalists – Congratulations to All the Winners:

Competition Rules

Investment Rules

  • You must spend all of your available funds before your investments will appear on your chosen campaigns.
  • All students are allocated €/£10,000 in virtual funds to invest regardless of whether they have submitted an idea or not.
  • €/£4,000 - maximum investment in a campaign.
  • €/£6,000 - maximum total investment in campaigns from a single university.

Prizes

  • There is a total of €3,000 in cash prizes for the ideas with the most investment in Ireland:
    • 1st place = €1,500
    • 2nd place = €1,000
    • 3rd place = €500
  • There is a total of £3,000 in cash prizes for the ideas with the most investment in each region of the UK:
    • 1st place = £1,500
    • 2nd place = £1,000
    • 3rd place = £500
  • There is a total of €/£10,000 in cash prizes for the ideas with the most investment in the UK & Irish Grand Final:
    • 1st place = €/£5,000
    • 2nd place = €/£3,000
    • 3rd place = €/£2,000

Competition Format

  • The initial entries will be evaluated by our committees who will shortlist the 30 (maximum) best ideas in Ireland / Northern Ireland and each subregion of the UK.
  • Each shortlisted team will then be asked to create their campaigns by submitting a logo, 3-minute video and short slide deck, explaining their idea in more detail.
  • The top 10 ideas that received the most investment in the first crowdfunding round will progress to the finals of their respective regions.
  • The ideas that then receive the most investment in the second crowdfunding round will become the Irish and UK regional winners.
  • The winners of the Irish and UK regional competitions will then progress to the overall UK & Irish Grand Final.
  • The idea that receives the most investment in the UK & Irish Grand Final crowdfunding round will become the overall winner.

Key Dates

  • January 17th

    - Idea submissions open

  • February 20th

    - Idea submissions close

  • February 28th

    - Irish semi-finalists announced

  • February 28th

    - UK regional semi-finalists announced

  • March 14th – March 27th

    - Irish semi-final crowdfunding round

  • March 14th – March 27th

    - UK regional semi-final crowdfunding round

  • March 28th

    - Irish finalists announced

  • March 28th

    - UK regional finalists announced

  • March 28th – April 3rd

    - Irish final crowdfunding round

  • March 28th – April 3rd

    - UK regional final crowdfunding round

  • April 4th

    - Irish winners announced

  • April 4th

    - UK regional winners announced

  • April 4th – April 10th

    - UK & Irish Grand Final crowdfunding round

  • April 11th

    - UK & Irish Grand Final winners announced