The Startups 100 2017 index is now open for applications from the UK’s high-potential, early-stage businesses in a bid to find the top 100 most inspirational and disruptive start-ups launched in the UK in the past three years.

This year’s index, which has been described as ‘the definitive ranking of the top 100 start-ups in the UK’, will build on 2016’s success when peer-to-peer property lender, LendInvest, came out on top, followed by employee benefits business Perkbox and family-run sausage brand, HECK. Previous alumni in the eight-year index include such household names as Naked Wines, Shutl and Huddle.

However, the competition is fierce; Crowdcube, which is now one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms in the UK, came 15th in 2014, while its rival but equally well-known business, Seedrs, only managed 41st in 2014.

Last year 186 of the UK’s top entrepreneurs were represented, all of which had started and scaled new businesses with an average turnover of £1.1m and 19 employees.

As a spokeswoman for the sponsors said, there has been an explosive growth in start-ups in the past three years, so to be part of this revolution is very exciting. She added, however, that the new start-ups now are different from what has gone before.

Businesses that want to enter must have started trading on or after 1 January 2014, be privately owned and based in the UK. They must, of course, be innovative and exciting or able to demonstrate considerable success or potential for fast growth. Entries close on March 24.

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