Social Impact Prize 2018

Last Thursday, the 3rd of May, was the award ceremony for Startup Sussex and the Social Impact prize at the Sussex Innovation Centre. This was the end of all the startup workshops we had been taking part in since last October. It was an especially scary yet exciting night for us as we finally found out who was going to win the prizes!

There were two main categories, one for StartUp Sussex and one for the Social Impact Prize. Luckily, we were in both. The competition had gone from over 80 initial people down to only 10 remaining. The award for coming first was a prize worth £10,000. A prize that could potentially turn any Start Up idea into a real business.

On the two days leading up to the award ceremony we had to pitch our idea to a panel of judges as well as submit a business plan. It was a very intimidating process but also an extremely educational one.

We thought our presentations for had gone really well.

In both presentations we did at least one judge said they thought it was a really good idea or that they would even buy it. Although this gave us a lot of confidence that we could stand a chance of winning, the competition we faced was extremely tough.

As Thursday approached our nerves amplified. Every time I thought about the winners being called out and not being one of them I got an adrenaline spike throughout my body. Going to the awards ceremony we were almost on autopilot. Both of us were extremely anxious but also knew we had to make it through the day no matter if we won or not.

The awards ceremony itself was a nice formal occasion with lots of free food and alcohol, always a plus. There were many photos being taken and every competitor was there with their friends or family. I’m not sure how the other competitors felt but all we could think about was what time the awards were being given out and to whom they would go.

Halfway through the ceremony we gathered into a room to watch videos giving a brief overview of each competitors idea. Although it makes us cringe, here’s ours:


After all the videos were shown we went back out into the main gathering area for more food and drink. Neither of us ate as we were too nervous. Even writing this now I’m starting to get anxious even though it’s over! The fact is, winning £10,000 could potentially change our lives and make turn our business into our careers. It was hard not to be nervous.

After what seemed to be a long time waiting for the awards to start, finally, they did.

It started with a few speeches about how far we had all come. And we hadn’t really thought about it, but they were right, had gone from a website and a half finished app to a developed business plan, presentation, and a working prototype. Without the Sussex Innovation Centre’s help we wouldn’t be anywhere near as far as we are now.

And finally, the awards were given out. The awards were being given out by the Brighton Mayor,  Mo Marsh. The Social Impact category was first. Amazingly the generous person behind the funding for this category was so impressed with the competition that he added more prizes, that meant there were now 3 prizes in this category! This obviously boosted our morale as it meant our chances of winning at least something had increased massively!

3rd place was given to Vorteil –  a sustainable tech business creating products such as solar powered lights.

2nd place was given to RED –  giving renewable energy to rural communities in Zimbabwe.

1st place was given to… DEADLINE.LIVE!

We won the Social Impact Prize! I can’t describe how much relief and excitement hearing 1st place goes to “” gave us. It meant so much to us. Not only to help us financially but also to prove that it’s a good idea and that we can convince other people that our idea means something. We and all the other winners were so relieved. We all gathered together celebrating each other and just hung around being happy and in shock.

Everything after this was a blur of excitement and happiness. It got round to the the StartUp Sussex category winners were being awarded their prizes, unfortunately we didn’t win anything here but we can’t be too greedy 😉 We had to give a comment of how we felt for a press release and have lots of photos taken! For the night we felt famous.

Here’s a picture of all the winners! (We’re on the left)


As the night came to an end we tried to thank everyone involved but likely missed some people due to still being in shock! We would like to thank everyone at the Sussex Innovation Centre, especially Simon and Joseph. We really think these past few months working on with you will change the rest of our lives. We want to thank all the judges and also those that wish to remain anonymous! Everyone helped us a great deal and gave us such confidence in ourselves and in our business. We will never forget it. Thank you.

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