Competition FAQs

About the Programme

Who is organising the competition?

The UMBRELLA competition is delivered by the South Gloucestershire Council and is funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit .

What is the UMBRELLA network?

UMBRELLA is a joint project between South Gloucestershire Council and Toshiba, with the backing of West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership. The project aims to provide an open, real-world platform for the testing and evaluation of innovation in the fields of robotics, wireless communication, smart city and general Internet of Things applications.

How is the competition supporting SMEs?

Successful SMEs are supported through:

  • Equity-free funding to support the implementation of the testbed trials. Typically expected bids range between £3,000 – £25,000.
  • Technical support during the testbed implementation.
  • Access to the UMBRELLA network facilities.
  • Training recommendations depending on the specific needs of each SME.

What are the key dates of the programme?

There are two phases to the UMBRELLA Competition. Here are the key competition milestones for each phase.

Phase 1:

  • Competition launch: 21 February 2022 (15:00 GMT)
  • Live Briefing Event: 7 March 2022 (15:00 GMT)
  • Competition closure: 21 March 2022 (midnight)
  • Announcement of selected winners: 8 April 2022
  • Due diligence and contract signature: 8 – 21 April 2022
  • Engagement programme: 26 April – 15 September 2022

Phase 2:

  • Phase 2 closure: 16 May 2022 (noon)
  • Announcement of selected winners: 30 May 2022
  • Due diligence and contract signature: 31 May – 14 June 2022
  • Engagement programme: 6 June – 29 October 2022

Application and Evaluation

Can one SME submit more than one application?

We strongly advise SMEs to only submit one application, as only one project per SME will be funded through this competition.
However, if you have two very distinct project ideas with different applications and funding needs, please email first to make us aware of your intention. You may be allowed to submit both applications, with the expectation that only one (the highest scoring) can be funded.

Can two SMEs submit one application?

This competition addresses single SMEs only, rather than consortia. However you can use part of the funds to subcontract external expertise, if necessary for the implementation of your project.

Can I receive preliminary feedback on my entry before submission?

To ensure all applicants receive the same type of support and a fair evaluation for all, we won’t be providing preliminary feedback on entries.
If you are unsure about the competition rules, please consult:

  • the competition brief,
  • the guidance included in the Application Proposal template and the Finance Form, and
  • this FAQ list

If these still don’t answer your question, do reach out to the organisers at We can’t give feedback on your application, but we can help clarify specific questions that may not be answered in the competition documentation.

What information will I need to provide in the application form?

The application form includes sections on your company, product, the project you would like to propose, the budget you are requesting, the expected impact of your project and the team expected to work on the project if your entry is successful.
You are required to upload three separate files to describe how you will implement the project you are proposing and what resources you will need:

  • Your Application Proposal (you must use the official competition template). Formats accepted: document, .pdf.
  • Your Finance Form (you must use the official competition template). Formats accepted: spreadsheet.
  • Your Project plan (should be a Gantt chart; no template is provided). Formats accepted: document, spreadsheet, .pdf.

Is there any guidance available for preparing my finance form?

Please read carefully the information included in each tab of your Finance Form, as they include important guidance on how to prepare your costs.

Who will my application data be shared with?

Your data will be treated as confidential and access to it is limited to the organising team and the judging panel. Your application information will only be used for the purposes of the competition and its evaluation and will only be retained for the duration of the programme (one year). For successful participants, this data shall be retained for maximum of 2 years or otherwise to comply with legal requirements.

Will I receive feedback if I am not selected for the engagement phase?

Unfortunately, due to the potential large number of applications reviewed, we do not plan to provide detailed feedback to rejected applicants. However, we will inform you about the outcome of the competition, and, if your application has passed the pre-sift stage, we will communicate your ranking.

SME Requirements

How do I know if my organisation qualifies as an SME?

The definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) used for the purpose of this call is set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003. The main factors determining whether an enterprise is an SME are:

  1. staff headcount in Annual Work Unit (AWU) is less than 250; and
  2. annual turnover less or equal to £41 million OR annual balance sheet total less or equal to £35.2 million.

These ceilings apply to the figures for individual firms only. A firm that is part of a larger group may need to include staff headcount/turnover/balance sheet data from that group too. Further details are available in the Revised User Guide to the SME definition (2020):

Does my organisation need to be UK-registered to enter the competition?

You don’t need to be registered at the application stage, but if your bid is successful, you will be required to register with Companies House before the start of the programme to be able to enter the engagement programme and receive funding.

Do I have to be based in the West of England to be able to participate in the competition?

This competition welcomes applicants from across the UK. The region where you are based can only make a difference in case of a tie. Only in this specific case, applicants from the West of England region will be favoured.


What type of technologies will be supported?

The competition is open to a wide range of technologies that can benefit from the services of the UMBRELLA network, UMBRELLA node and UMBRELLA platform. While your application should demonstrate the innovation behind your product or service, the type of technology is not a selection criterion.


How and when will applicants receive funding?

The calendar of payments will depend on the amount of funding requested and will be agreed before the start of the engagement phase.

What if my activities run over budget?

Applicants are requested to submit, through their Finance Form, an estimate of the resources needed for the implementation stage. Any further expenditure produced by applicants will have to come from their own budget.


Do the organisers take ownership of the IP developed during the engagement phase of the competition?

No, this programme does not seek to own any participant’s IP. Participants will keep full ownership of their IP.

What is the contracting process for the applicants?

If your application is successful, you will be contacted by the organising team who may ask you to submit additional due diligence information to confirm your status. Once the team is satisfied with the information provided, you will need to sign up to additional terms and conditions to enter the programme and receive the funding.

Get in touch

If the list of FAQs does not answer your question, please email us at:

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