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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I apply to The RAPID Challenge?

Our programme of activity has been designed to help you commercialise your hardware project. Those matching our entry criteria will be advanced to our workshop sessions. These sessions will include valuable advice and insight from our challenge partners to help you build and develop the business plan for your product/service.

The workshop sessions also give you the opportunity to network with peers, gain validation and confidence, and help develop your idea.

If you make it to the final the additional exposure and PR will showcase your business to a broad audience, including investors and senior members of our challenge partner companies. This is of course in addition to the amazing prize package.

What we look for?

The RAPID Challenge has been created with the specific aim of helping early stage hardware businesses. Therefore, applicants must have or are in the process of developing a hardware product to be eligible. Software only businesses are not eligible. The business must have a desire to or are in the process of commercialising their product.

We have identified some key criteria for our application process. A greater explanation of each point is provided below;

Disruptive hardware– what we would consider ‘Me too’ products are less likely to be successful. Applications with a truly disruptive proposition to the market are more likely to be successful.

Sustainable Strategy – applicants should have given consideration to how they can create a sustainable business model with ongoing revenue and scale up potential beyond initial investment and R&D costs. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers but an outline strategy is important.

Defendable IP – we appreciate it may be early stages for your product/service however you should have an appreciation for your ‘freedom to operate’ in the area you are innovating and appreciate other competitors and patents/trademarks they may already have in place. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate their IP or the potential for defendable IP.

Based in the UK – the prize fund is only available to applicants based in the UK  due to the requirements of the contributing partners.

Proof of Concept – blank page concepts are less likely to be successful. Ideally your submission will have some sort of proof of concept prototype, test rig, simulation or market study that demonstrates how it will work.

Route to Commercialisation in 12 months – this is not a hard and fast rule, more of a rule of thumb.

The aim of this challenge prize is to provide all of the tools required to accelerate your business. Therefore your project should have the potential to reach the market within 12 months. Long burn R&D programmes are less likely to be successful.

Applications should be completed by the strategic decision maker within your business as it may not be possible for all of your team to attend every session or present on behalf of your submission.


What types of projects are suitable?

There are no strict categories to adhere to, the challenge is open to all hardware projects.

The aim of the challenge is to impact hardware businesses and improve the commercial success of the projects, therefore projects that have extremely high funding requirements are less likely to progress in the challenge. 

The RAPID Challenge is not a pure engineering or design competition. We would be delighted to see your innovative design and engineering but the challenge is solely interested in projects that are or will become commercially viable.

What kind of businesses can apply?

Small businesses and start-ups turning over no more than £1m in the last financial year are invited to apply. This includes companies across all sectors and funding stages.

If you are still in the development phase and are pre-revenue, you are still welcome to apply.

Applications are open to teams between the size of 1 to 10 people. Applicants must be 18 years of age or over.

What if my project has both hardware and software?

If your project has both hardware and software aspects, it will be eligible. However, the process has been optimised for hardware businesses, the greater the software proponent of the project, the less relevant the process may be to you.

What is the process?

The first stage is an online questionnaire that helps our judges assess the potential for the business and what you’ve achieved so far. We then shortlist the submissions against our criteria and invite those selected to join our workshop sessions.

The workshop sessions will include seminars and advice from some of our key challenge partners. All of these sessions are aimed at helping you advance and improve your business plans. Our objective is for everyone to benefit from attending the sessions and being part of the challenge – even if you don’t share in the ultimate prize pot available to the winners.

At the conclusion of the workshop sessions, applicants will then have some time to refine their business plans and submit these for review. The most successful submissions will be invited to the final interview stage to present their plans in more detail to our judging panel.

The final event will provide the top 3 businesses with the opportunity to present their proposition to an audience of key partner affiliates and investors and the winner of the prize pot will be announced.


Why do I have to submit a video with my application?

The application video is your opportunity to tell us about your project, what makes it special and what impact it will have. We will use the video to assess your project and gain insight into the founder / team.

We will only be accepting 1 video no longer than 3 minutes per application. Please make sure to keep your video brief and to the point. Videos longer than 3 minutes will not be considered.


What should I include in my video?

You should aim to include information about your project and introduce your team. We will not be assessing production quality, the video is about conveying your idea. We are not expecting a studio production, a camera phone video is perfectly acceptable.

How do I submit my video application?

We encourage applicants to use Youtube to host their videos. Please submit a link to the video in the application form.

It is up to you whether you wish to submit an unlisted video link or make your video publicly available. However, please do not submit videos that are ‘private’. You can find more information on the differences between video types here

Please do not submit any other videos as part of the application, they will not be considered. We can consider other submissions so don’t let this become a blocker to your application and talk to us about what works for you.


We ask that teams to explain their projects via the application, giving as much possible clarity without disseminating confidential information. We encourage teams to describe what their project does rather than how it does it.

What will you do with my video?

The video application will be watched and evaluated by the RAPID Challenge judging panel. Unless specifically requested, videos will not be made public.


Is it free to apply?

Yes, there is no cost to apply.

When do applications close? And what are the other important dates?

Applications close in June and those who have reached the workshop stage will be contacted via email. The workshop will be held in July. The Final is typically held in November. See the home page for full process dates.

Where will the workshops/final event be held?

The workshops are hosted online. The RAPID Challenge final is typically hosted at Prodrive in Banbury.

Can I submit more than one application?

Yes, however multiple applications for the same project will not be accepted.

How do you decide who gets through to each stage?

Our panel of Challenge Partners will evaluate each stage of the process against our criteria as detailed above in the what we look for section. 

How will I know if I have reached the next stage?

You will be contacted via email.

What’s the history of The Rapid Challenge?

Find out more about the previous winners of The RAPID Challenge, on the Previous Winners page.

Who is behind The Rapid Challenge?

The RAPID Challenge is run by Prodrive Ventures, the hardware investment arm of Prodrive, brought to you in collaboration with the contributing partners. Find out more about the partners here.


What can I do to support The Rapid Challenge?

The Rapid Challenge is a truly collaborative project. If you are interested in becoming  involved simply      e-mail

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