Banbury-based Prodrive Ventures launches 2021 RAPID Challenge.

Last year's Prodrive Ventures Rapid Challenge winner, Cosi Care
ProDrive Cosicare 1

Pandemics don’t stop creative ideas, so if you’ve got a brilliant product you need help bringing to market, Prodrive Ventures the investment arm of British motorsport and advanced engineering business Prodrive, is who you should call.

Applications are now open for the 2021 RAPID Challenge. The event, organised by Prodrive Ventures, wants identify, reward and help bring the best and most innovative British based hardware start-ups to market.

The difference between this competition and the many others, is that where technology and software start-ups have little trouble attracting investment and support, that’s often not the case for innovative hardware start-up companies, which can struggle to commercialise their ideas.

Prodrive, the Banbury-based a world leading motorsport and advanced technology business, wanted to put that right.

While its business and culture is founded in motorsport, it has evolved to help businesses in the automotive, aerospace, marine and other sectors create innovative engineering solutions which realise their ambitions.

And this year the prize package for the Rapid Challenge winner has increased to £75,000.

But no-one’s left out. While each year there is a prize package for the winners, all projects which match the entry criteria benefit from a range of dedicated workshops from the Challenge’s partners which offer valuable advice and insight to help build a business plan for their projects.

These plans are reviewed by an expert panel of judges with a range of backgrounds before five successful submissions go forward to the interview stage, with three reaching the final at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury in November. Here they present their projects to an invited audience and the winner is announced.

The winning prize package worth £75,000, includes cash and a range of services from The RAPID Challenge partners: RPD International, TBAT Innovation, HSBC, Crowdcube, Bridgehead International Agency, OnePLM, The IP Asset Partnership and Develop3D.

David Cullimore, Head of Innovation at Prodrive, said: “We came up with the idea of The RAPID Challenge in 2018, as while there were lots of competitions and investment opportunities for technology start-ups, none were focussed on only those producing hardware, something physical and tangible, rather than web or tech based. Britain is a hub of engineering and design creativity and it struck a chord with many entrepreneurs out there struggling to get the support and recognition they needed and deserved.”

Previous winners of The RAPID Challenge are diverse and include EAV (Electric Assisted Vehicles), which has created novel pedal assisted last mile delivery vehicles; and last year’s winner, Cosi Care whose aim is to transform the lives ofchildren suffering from eczema.

The Rapid Challenge is about nurturing British-based talent and all entrants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a disruptive hardware project
  • Have a sustainable business strategy
  • Pre-revenue or up to £1M annual revenue
  • No more than 10 employees
  • Be based in the UKApplications are now open and will close on 30 July 2021.