Our Story

The Entrepreneurial Barnet Competition was launched by Middlesex University in 2014. Since then, it has grown year on year and now involves London Borough of Barnet Council and Barnet and Southgate College working in collaboration with the university. For the past four years, the competition has been generously sponsored and supported by Hammerson PLC, the organisation who own Brent Cross shopping centre.

In 2020, we are delighted once again to be sponsored by Brent Cross. We are also thrilled that Santander Universities has joined as a headline sponsor of the competition and are donating half of the £10,000 prize funding.

We also have a number of other key sponsors who are supporting the contest in various ways, including The Stay Club, CDS & InnovateThis.

The rationale behind the competition is to promote and develop enterprise and entrepreneurship throughout Barnet and amongst the student population. It offers Middlesex University students, Barnet and Southgate College students and local residents the opportunity to showcase their business ideas, be coached by business experts and win funding to develop their business further.

The competition has become a major event in the borough and throughout the student population, with the 2019 contest being the most popular in its history. 2020 promises to be event more exciting!

Previous winners


Jo Merchant (Barnet resident)
Business: When I Grow Up

A family hub which aims to transform the way young families spend time together, a modern home-from-home on the high street in a supportive space.

“I have never won anything before, so I am very happy. I am so happy with all the support I have received tonight, but also over the past year from parents locally. It has just been amazing, so thank you.”


Marie Farmer (Barnet Resident)
Business: Mini Mealtimes

An app that gives parents information on the nutritional value of their children’s meals and eating habits, including those that are homemade, store-bought, or a combination of the two. The app also provides reports based on the above, and recipe recommendations. Parents simply need to scan the barcode on the food packing or manually type in a description of the food.

“I’m so pleased to have won, the prize money and ongoing mentoring will really help develop my business idea further. The support you receive throughout the process is wonderful. It gives you an extra boost of confidence and will validate your idea.”


Andre Thompson (Middlesex University student)
Business: Student Light

Student Light is an app and web platform designed to liberate students from barriers and adversity they face, particularly around mental health issues. The idea is to connect individuals, communities and leaders within and across higher education institutions.

“It feels absolutely incredible to win the prize. I’m glad people are really seeing that mental health in universities is an issue.”


Rebecca Manning (Middlesex University student) Business: Happy to be

Happy to be has the aim of improving mental health for people questioning their gender identity. The organisation provides professional peer support, networking and training for the LGBT+ community.

“Not only does the prize money mean so much, but the awareness and exposure created from the competition across the business and the council has been brilliant.”


Natasha Collins (Middlesex University student)
Business: Literary Life stories

Literary Life stories was launched in 2014 and offers the public a chance to turn their life story into literature by re-creating it as a biographical tale.

“It’s great to have the support of Middlesex University and the EDH, which has been there from the beginning. This award is the culmination of dedication, persistence and finally finding my life path.”


Erdi Debesai (Middlesex University student)
Business: Your Herbal Clinic

Erdi’s idea was to set up an alternative complementary, natural clinic where various health conditions are treated using natural alternative therapies.

“It is a great opportunity to start my business. I’m chasing a dream and it’s a great feeling to win this award from Middlesex.”

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