Winners of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2020 unveiled.

Konglomerate Games from Abertay University and Torann from Queen’s University Belfast win top prizes of £30,000 funding.

Over 480,000 students currently run, or plan to run a business whilst at university.

Two top emerging entrepreneurs, and potential business success stories of tomorrow, have been unveiled at the tenth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2020, a prestigious UK-wide entrepreneurial business pitching competition for students and recent graduates.

The two talented winners which will receive £30,000 worth of seed funding towards their forward-thinking businesses and a fully funded intern are:

  • Konglomerate Games, a video games company which specialises in developing healthcare games to improve lives, from Abertay University; and 
  • Torann, which has developed a unique device to provide 100% sound quality for musicians playing amplified instruments across the globe, from Queen’s University Belfast.

At the online event, which was attended by students and colleagues from across the UK, Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, stressed the importance of championing start-ups and said: “We’re committed to supporting higher education and nurturing entrepreneurship among students particularly given the current challenging environment for graduate career prospects. Now more than ever, it is important we support those who are laying the foundations for a business while studying and may be on their way to making it a full-time career. Congratulations to the winners and all those who presented their pioneering ideas this year – they were truly inspirational.”

Jamie Bankhead, Founder of Konglomerate Games said: “We are so pleased to have won the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. It was such a fantastic competition and the prize will enable us to focus on developing our game designed for children with cystic fibrosis. The Emerging Entrepreneurs programme has enabled us to build our network with such fantastic people which will really help us in the long run.

Lewis Loane, Founder of Torann said: “The support from the Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme has allowed us to sharpen our business model and strengthen our commercialisation plan. Winning the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards is absolutely incredible and will provide us with the critical resources to accelerate our business and capture the global opportunity.”

Eight student businesses were shortlisted from over 80 entries from universities across the UK.  These finalists were whittled down to the two winners following a challenging selection process. This included each of the eight finalists having to pitch their business online to a panel of business experts. Alongside Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK and Susan Allen, CEO Retail and Business Banking at Santander UK, judges also included: Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur and TV Dragon; Prue Leith, Chancellor, Queen Margaret University; Warwick Hill, business executive and entrepreneur; and Julie Devonshire OBE, Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute, King’s College London. The event was hosted by Seema Jaswal, professional sports host and journalist.

Theo Paphitis said: "The quality of idea, development and execution of these businesses is excellent and shows how entrepreneurial students can be. That these ideas have been nurtured alongside their studies is inspirational and shows me that UK start ups are in great shape. That so many students are now starting businesses as they study shows the value of earning whilst learning."

In addition to the two overall winners, eight businesses were announced as the Judges Choice Winners from the semi-finals round and won a prize of £1,000 of seed funding from Santander.  This year the programme also included a Crowdfunding challenge, where the businesses worked with the team at Crowdfunder to create a campaign for their business. Student Travel Tips was announced as the winner of the challenge and received a cash prize of £6,000 from Santander at the final.

The Awards follows the Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs programme for 2020, which took place across the summer months, in celebration of 10 years of supporting entrepreneurship. The new virtual programme which brought together budding entrepreneurs from across the UK, included dedicated support for all 83 student and graduate start-ups of the bank’s partner universities. 

The programme involved fortnightly webinars of online support sessions aimed at helping the emerging entrepreneurs understand how to get the most from their business and included a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers including Lesley Stonier, Founder, We Mean Business and Jeremy Snape, former international cricketer and Founder and Managing Director of Sporting Edge.

Alongside panel discussions and workshops, coaching and peer-to-peer learning, the programme also focused on responding to key challenges and goals for start-ups during the current coronavirus crisis. Sessions included topics such as: funding and finance; building a sustainable business; growing your brand on a budget; building your business during a recession; and pitching to investors.

Research conducted by Santander Universities to support the new Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs 2020 programme revealed that over 480,000 (27 per cent) students currently run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university. The study   – which polled 1,000 undergraduates from across the UK – found that almost one in ten (9%) entrepreneurs are already running a business alongside their studies, an increase from just 6% recorded in 2018(6) , with an additional 18% of students saying they have plans to start their own business venture in the near future.

The study also found that when asked about the future of their businesses post-university, almost a fifth – 17% – expect to continue with it as a full-time career once they leave university. Almost half – 48% – said they plan to continue the business as a second job or hobby post-graduation. 

Since the Entrepreneurship Awards were first launched in 2011, Santander Universities has awarded more than £500,000 in support of student start-ups across the UK and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the country. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2.5m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship at its 85 UK university partners.

Santander Universities 
Banco Santander is firmly committed to progress and inclusive, sustainable growth, with a long-standing dedication to higher education that sets it apart from the world's other financial institutions. With over EUR 1,800 million invested in academic initiatives since 2002 through Santander Universities and over 430,000 university scholarships and grants awarded since 2005, it has been recognized as the company that invests most in education in the world (Varkey/Fortune 500 Report), with 1,000 agreements in place with universities and institutions in 22 countries, of which over 80 are in the UK. Through these agreements Santander promotes education, entrepreneurship and employability. For further information please visit:

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 30 June 2020, the bank had around 23,000 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. 

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas, and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first half of 2020, Banco Santander had more than a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.5 million are loyal and 40 million are digital, 11,800 branches and 194,000 employees. 

Media Enquiries

Adam Williams M: 07711 783 118 E:
Leonora Burtenshaw M:07701004107 E:

Follow @santanderuknews on Twitter

The Santander press office operates from 8.00am to 6.00pm. Outside of these hours please call 0800 5877708