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Welcome to the Barclays Local Genius Challenge

Congratulations to the Barclays Local Genius Challenge 2019 winners CoCo (Connecting Communities), from the University of Cambridge!

Keep an eye out for more Barclays news and challenges by following us on our Early Careers social media channels: Facebook @joinusbarclaysuk, Instagram @joinusbarclaysuk, and Twitter @joinusbarclays

If you're a university student or graduate, explore the site to find out about early careers opportunities with Barclays.

Welcome to the Barclays Local Genius Challenge image

How does the challenge work?

While you're waiting for your genius idea to strike, watch our short film and find out what you can expect. For full terms and conditions please click here.

The process

1. Enter

Enter your tech business idea on our website by February 15th – either as an individual or as a team of up to five people.

2. Equipping you with the right skills

Our panel of senior Barclays colleagues and local business leaders will pick their top ten ideas per region. These teams will be invited to attend a training day at their local Barclays Technology hub in order to help them develop their idea and equip them with the pitch presentation skills they'll need at the regional and national finals.

3. Shortlisting

Following the regional training days, the top five ideas from each region will be shortlisted to present these at the Regional Finals.

4. Regional winners

The Regional Finals winners will pitch to business leaders in a final at our London HQ on April 10th 2019.

1. Enter

Enter your tech business idea on our website by February 15th – either as an individual or as a team of up to five people.

2. Equipping you with the right skills

Our panel of senior Barclays colleagues and local business leaders will pick their top ten ideas per region. These teams will be invited to attend a training day at their local Barclays Technology hub in order to help them develop their idea and equip them with the pitch presentation skills they'll need at the regional and national finals.

3. Shortlisting

Following the regional training days, the top five ideas from each region will be shortlisted to present these at the Regional Finals.

4. Regional winners

The Regional Finals winners will pitch to business leaders in a final at our London HQ on April 10th 2019.

Find your genius

You’ll learn a lot about yourself in this challenge, just by taking part. Even if you don’t win, you’ll find your genius. Here’s how:

  • You’ll find an idea you’re passionate about and learn to expand it
  • You'll learn what it takes to catch the interest of our expert panel
  • You’ll present to business leaders – and get feedback on how to improve
  • You’ll see what you’re capable of – either on your own or as a team
  • You’ll meet Barclays colleagues – and find out about graduate employment opportunities

What could I win?

Pitch training

If your idea is one of the most promising in your region you’ll get a personal training day with one of our coaches - all designed to help you give the perfect pitch.

One-on-one coaching and support

If you (and your team, if you have one) are in the top ten ideas within your region, you'll receive one-on-one coaching and support in preparation for the Regional and National finals.

Bringing your idea to life

Win the final and your idea could potentially get the support it deserves; from help with writing your first plans to getting in touch with useful teams to get the idea off the ground.

Potential financial backing?

This isn’t guaranteed and is not part of winning the challenge, but if they believe in you and your idea, you might even get financial backing from one of our industry guests.

Pitch training

If your idea is one of the most promising in your region you’ll get a personal training day with one of our coaches - all designed to help you give the perfect pitch.

One-on-one coaching and support

If you (and your team, if you have one) are in the top ten ideas within your region, you'll receive one-on-one coaching and support in preparation for the Regional and National finals.

Bringing your idea to life

Win the final and your idea could potentially get the support it deserves; from help with writing your first plans to getting in touch with useful teams to get the idea off the ground.

Potential financial backing?

This isn’t guaranteed and is not part of winning the challenge, but if they believe in you and your idea, you might even get financial backing from one of our industry guests.

Where has genius struck so far?

Need more inspiration? Click our map to find out how all kinds of local geniuses got their ideas – from previous winners to Barclays colleagues, past and present.

Interactive Map

Meet our 2017 winner

 Josh Davies - Bournemouth University - Founder of Galleon

My lightning bolt struck in a little sandwich shop on my way into university. I’d ordered my sandwich and it was only as I got to the till that I noticed a really small sign offering student discount. I just thought to myself, “I wonder how much more money I’d be able to save if I knew about all the discounts in my local area. How much more profit would the smaller businesses be able to attract?”

From there, I developed an app that focuses on local student discounts. Whereas larger student-specific companies tend to focus on larger brands, this would focus on the smaller discounts being offered by local businesses – to benefit both the students and the community.

Winning the competition has been an amazing experience and it’s really helped to launch the business. Barclays connected me with some highly talented third parties who could support the business while I got it up and running. I even had access to one of Barclays’ business managers, who helped me create my first business plan and develop my brand. They even put me in touch with a team of developers to help me create the app from a technical standpoint.

Meet our 2017 winner image

Meet 2017 finalists Eugine and Kiran

You don’t have to win to learn incredible things from the Local Genius challenge. We spoke to Kiran and Eugine, who’ve used their new-found experience to launch amazing new projects and initiatives:

Kiran: “We’re both studying for a degree in Management at the University of Manchester, and I was running the Manchester Entrepreneurs on campus when I first heard about Barclays Local Genius. That’s when I asked Eugine to get involved.”

Eugine: “Our idea, essentially, was a community platform to improve online safety for parents and their children, to help families know and understand dangers when it comes to online games, platforms and social media. SecurUs would be a crowdsourced platform, like a review aggregator, where parents could report together on content that might not be right for their children.”

Kiran: “We applied, made it to the Manchester Final, then the London final. All the way along, we were gaining these really key problem-solving skills. I think you find that, even if you’re at business school, what you’re learning is very much theory – and this is putting it into practice. Presenting to the judges in the national final; that’s a huge learning experience.”

Eugine: “What it did for us is made us feel empowered. Off the back of the competition, I’ve put my new skills into developing a gaming start-up – and my first board game will be stocked in a major department store retailer from March this year.”

Kiran: “I felt inspired by the whole experience. I felt like, you know, we’ve had this idea, but there must be more students like this in Manchester with other early-stage ventures: how do we help them more? I put that energy into running an accelerator at our university, helping 15 start-ups a year. Our companies have gone on to raise £2.2 million pounds and to create over 50 jobs.”

SecurUs is the brainchild of Eugine Lim and Kiran Arokiasamy.

Meet 2017 finalists Eugine and Kiran image

FAQS

Who’s eligible to enter?

Any university student in the UK who’s 18 or over. As long as you’re able to travel to one of Glasgow, London, Northampton or Radbroke (Knutsford) for the Regional Finals, as well as attending the National Final in London, you can enter. For full terms and conditions please click here.

What kind of ideas are you looking for?

There are four key rules to consider when submitting your idea:

1. It should demonstrably help improve your community, or some part of your community, in some way. That could be by helping a disadvantaged group; by improving the surrounds of your city; raising awareness of a good cause; or something else entirely. 

2. Whatever your idea aims to accomplish, it should be predominantly based on some kind of tech. That doesn’t mean you have to know how to build the tech yourself though, as long as you have the idea.

3. It should be a realistic idea for a business. By that, we mean, you should be able to show that your community needs it, and it should be feasible to achieve if you win, working with a team of developers. Flying cars, for instance, probably wouldn’t be our winning idea. 

4. Your idea should be fresh, original and unique: try not to be a copycat.

How much business detail do I need to provide?

Your idea doesn’t need to be fully-formed or perfect at this stage: there will be plenty of opportunities to fine-tune the business details later with help from our experts. It would be good to show that you understand your audience and that there’s a need for the help your idea can provide, but it doesn’t need to go into too much financial detail. Your submission should be between 150 and 500 words.


How do I update or edit my entry?

Once you submit your entry there’s no way to edit it, so try to make sure that you’re happy with what you've written before you send it to us.

How many team members does my team need?

You can submit your idea on your own or with a team. We encourage teamwork and collaboration so if you do decide to submit together, there should be a maximum of five people in your team, including you.

When will the Regional finalists be announced?

We’ll announce the top five Regional finalists for each location on 22nd February 2019. 

Key dates:

  • 15th February: closing date for submissions
  • After 22nd February: invitations to training day will be sent to ten teams per region. The training days will take place between 11-15th March 2019
  • After 15th March: shortlist of five Regional Finalists invited to pitch their ideas 25th-28 March 2019
  • Week of 25th March: Regional Finals. Winners will be announced on the day of the Regional Final and invited to the National Final on 10th April 2019
  • 10th April: National Finals. Winner is announced

When and where are the Regional Finals?

Our Regional Finals take place in each of Barclays’ major tech hubs in the UK.

Those are:

Scotland - Glasgow – Monday 11th March 2019
Aurora House,
120 Bothwell Street,
Glasgow,
G2 7JT

England North - Radbroke (Knutsford) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
Radbroke Hall,
Knutsford,
Cheshire,
WA16 9EU

England Midlands - Northampton – Wednesday 13th March 2019
1234 Pavilion Drive,
Northampton,
NN4 7SG

England South - London – Thursday 14th March 2019
Barclays UK HQ,
1 Churchill Place,
Canary Wharf,
London,
E14 5HP

When and where is the National Final?

The winners from the Regional Finals will be invited to the National Final on Wednesday 10th April 2019 at Barclays’ UK headquarters in Canary Wharf, London:

1 Churchill Place,
Canary Wharf,
London,
E14 5HP

Will the Regional or National Finals have a public audience?

At Regional Finals, your audience will be a mixture of local businesses and Barclays colleagues. At the National Finals, you (and your team, if you have one) will present your idea to the judges, but there’s also likely to be an audience made up of senior business leaders from inside and outside Barclays. We’ll also be recording at both the Regional and National stages, so if you’d like your family and friends to see how you do, they’ll be able to watch later.

Do I have to pay for my travel arrangements?

We will reimburse reasonable inter-city Day Return Travel for you and your team (if you have one) to Regional Finals and National Finals only, and you’ll be provided with food and drink at all stages.

Do all team members have to be present at each stage?

To get the most benefit from this challenge, you and your whole team should make a reasonable effort to attend the initial training, the Regional Finals, and if selected, the National Final. Every stage will help you and your team (if you have one) to develop your skills and idea.

How will my idea be judged?

Your idea will be judged by a panel of experts, including Barclays colleagues and business leaders. They’ll look at each submission and judge which ones they think are the most innovative tech solutions with the biggest potential to help their communities.

Who will own the intellectual property rights to any product my team creates?

All submissions remain the intellectual property of the individuals or teams that developed them.

I submitted an online entry, but didn’t receive a confirmation email?

If you have not received a confirmation that we’ve got your submission, or you're concerned that your submission did not get to us for any reason, please take a few minutes to re-submit it.

Is financial backing a definite part of the prize?

No. Our panel of judges or even one of our audience of business leaders might decide to invest in your idea – and this has happened in previous years – but it’s entirely dependent on circumstances and what stage the judges think your idea is at right now. For some teams, business coaching, mentoring, and help with initial plans is more helpful right now. That means you might win the challenge but not receive financial backing. It’s entirely dependent on the quality of ideas that reach the final, how you perform on the day, and what the team thinks is the best option for you.

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