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You can enter your Side Hustle as a start-up or a scale-up.

Start-up refers to projects in the first stages of operation. You should be able to demonstrate appropriate research and testing, although you are unlikely to have a fully developed business model or funding.

Scale-up refers to projects in the later stages of operation. Your product or service should be fully functional and proven within the marketplace. You should be able to demonstrate success and will likely have received some funding.

Emerging Talent subcategories are for Side Hustlers who are still in education, have recently graduated or are non-professionals.

Junior Professional subcategories are for those with less than 5 years experience producing commercial creative work.

Established Professional subcategories are for those with more than 5 years experience producing commercial creative work.

Learn more about Side Hustle

  • What is it?

    Side Hustle is the competition for students, emerging talent and creative professionals with big ideas.

    The D&AD Side Hustle Pencil is awarded to inspiring, scalable projects that demonstrate creativity and innovation.

    Entry is open to anyone with a Side Hustle, so long as it demonstrates flair and creativity. It must have been developed or significantly changed within the Awards Qualifying Entry Period (1 January 2021 – 18 April 2022).

    Is your Side Hustle on the way to becoming your main hustle? Then our scale up categories are for you.

  • What can I win?

    Shortlisted entrants will receive:

    —An invitation to D&AD's pitching masterclass, worth £560, to help you prepare for Side Hustle Pitch Day. The Masterclass will be held remotely on Thursday 5 May 2022.
    —Your name and work in the D&AD Annual, online and freely accessible to the global creative community. In 2021 this reached a global audience of over 75,000 people.

    Winning entrants will receive the above plus:

    —A D&AD Side Hustle Pencil, a symbol of creative excellence
    —Two hours of mentoring with a D&AD judge, focusing on you and your business
    —A D&AD Masterclass of your choice, pick skills, mindset or leadership
    —A tree planted in recognition of your award. Find out more about this initiative here

  • What does Pitch Day involve?

    Pitching will be done via Zoom. You will be joined on the call by the other finalists and the judging panel. Each finalist will take a turn to pitch their business. This can be delivered in a style to suit you, provided it is not pre-recorded and is a maximum of 7 minutes. After each pitch, the Judges will have 5 minutes to ask questions.

    When the pitches are over, the finalists will be moved to the Zoom waiting room so that the Jury can vote for the Pencil winners. When judging is complete, the finalists will have the opportunity to rejoin Zoom to find out the results and receive feedback from the Judges on the work.

  • What are the judges looking for?

    Start Ups:

    —Is it innovative and inspiring?
    —Is it supported by appropriate research and testing?
    —Does it show potential for growth?

    Scale Ups:

    —Is it innovative and inspiring?
    —Is it fully operational with proven success?
    —Is it on track to meet its intended scale?

  • How to enter

    Download the new entry kit for eligibility criteria and more information on what to submit.

    If you are shortlisted, please make sure you are available to pitch your idea remotely to a panel of judges on Thursday 12 May 2022.

    We also recommend you keep Thursday 5 May 2022 free if you are interested in attending D&AD's pitching masterclass.

Have a question about your entry?

Most questions can be answered by checking our FAQs page.

If you still need to speak to someone, you can call the Awards team on +44 (0) 207 840 1111. Lines are open from 9.30 - 5.30pm GMT.

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