Startups 100 2023: Entries are now open!

Entries are open for the UK’s longest-running index of new businesses. Are you an exciting entrepreneur sending shockwaves through your sector? Then we need to hear from you. Here’s how to apply.

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We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by:
Cal Distributed

“For a nascent business, the hardest thing to do is to get noticed, the second hardest thing to do is to be trusted. Being on the Startups 100 list helps us do both.”

– Callum Adamson, founder of Distributed.

Throughout its fourteen year history, our annual ranking of the UK's best and most brilliant businesses has showcased how a simple idea can revolutionise an industry.

Featuring ingenuitive and passionate startups in everything from plant-based food to X-rays, our keen panel of experts have identified some of the biggest movers and shakers of the past two decades.

Previous alumni include household brands Monzo, Deliveroo, and THIS™. Last year’s winner, educational tech startup Multiverse recently took on a valuation of £1.4 billion.

Could your business be next? Entries will close 1 October. Read on to find out how to apply…

Why apply?

The Startups 100 is a list of the most promising new UK businesses, chosen in collaboration with our authoratitative panel of judges.

As well as celebrating the best small businesses in the UK, the list is also an opportunity to grow a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and business owners who support and advocate for each other.

In fact, our index is the ideal opportunity to showcase your company’s capabilities and advertise your success, attracting clients and collaborators from across the UK.

Jimmy Urban Jungle

“New product lines have more than tripled in the months since we featured in the Startups 100.”

– Jimmy Williams, founder of Urban Jungle

Am I eligible for the Startups 100?

There are only three qualifications required to be eligible for the Startups 100 2023. Your business must:

  • Be UK-based
  • Be privately owned
  • Have launched on or after 1st January 2017

Other than that, the only rule is there are no rules. Firms can be based in any industry, at a kitchen table, office, virtually anywhere or just virtually, with founders of any age or background.

How do I apply?

Applying for the Startups 100 is easy. We are also one of the few business awards that is completely free of charge to enter.

To make a submission, all you have to do is fill in our online entry form. It will ask you a number of straightforward questions about your business and its founders.

You’ll need:

  • A description of your business, and what makes it so special..
  • Financial information – including last year's figures and this year's projections.
  • Data – go on, show off your  impressive stats such as employee growth and subscriber numbers.
  • Key info about the founder(s)
  • All of the questions are simple to answer. But no need to rush it. Take your time and make sure you present your brand and its story in the best, most inspiring and original light.

Don’t worry about sounding too business-like. We do not want cliched entries with lots of confusing jargon!

Instead, tell us in clear and concise terms who you are, what you have achieved, and why you deserve to be featured in the Startups 100 Index in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Here’s an example of a ‘cut and paste job’..

Startups.co.uk is a small business website that provides guides and advice for entrepreneurs. It was founded in 2000 and caters to a wide readership.”

..compared to a bold and brilliant entry:

As a serial entrepreneur, I (Ian Wallis) knew the huge difference that being surrounded by an experienced and supportive community can make to a new business owner. But you can’t fit the UK’s more than 3 million business owners in just one pub.

“Instead, in 2000, I founded Startups.co.uk, the UK’s leading small business advice platform to give SMEs a friendly voice to listen to, and a fountain of knowledge to drink from.

“Today, the site’s mix of considerate guides, inspirational ideas, and authoritative commentary support a monthly readership of almost 300,000 – and I owe them all a round.”

How is it judged?

The winners of the Startups 100 Index are chosen by a specialist panel of judges (watch this space – details to follow shortly). As always, the top-rated 100 businesses will be selected to feature in the list.

However, we want to recognise the startups that prioritise people, planet, or purpose as much as profit. That’s why this year there will be several other awards up for grabs.

Amongst the main judging criteria will be:

  • An innovative USP
  • Exceptional founders
  • Traction and ambitions
  • Brand story and purpose

We are looking for impressive business ideas with lots of growth potential – but don’t feel intimidated if you haven’t got big funding figures to advertise or a well-known partner. More important is your passion and hard work. Most important is your story.

The Startups 100 Index is all about celebrating authenticity. We want to hear about the challenges you’ve faced or mistakes you’ve made, and how you’ve overcome them to get to where you are today.

Successful businesses are birthed by determined and innovative people – so let your personality, passion, and purpose shine through.

Good luck. We can’t wait to hear from you!

If you have any questions regarding the Startups 100 2023, drop us an email at su100@startups.co.uk or reach out to us on our social channels.

If you know a startup business that deserves to be on this year's Index, tell them to apply or send us their details!

Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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