BT is joining forces with TechHub - the East London organisation which hosts workspace for startups to collaborate - for the programme, which is called BT Infinity Lab.
The BT Infinity Lab programme is seeking entrepreneurs to propose ideas specifically to be sold alongside BT's existing consumer broadband and Wi-Fi offerings. Once it has found the company it wants to back, BT will offer them six months' support – such as access to its R&D and engineering departments, rather than monetary investment – and premises to work in TechHub.
BT also confirmed it was not looking to acquire any new technologies or companies at this stage.
The BT Infinity Lab launch received the backing of communications minister Ed Vaizey, who said the "radical transformation" of broadband in this country needed new innovations to run over it.
"TechHub and BT are to be congratulated on this brilliant initiative which will result in exciting new products and prototypes, helping all UK internet users to make the most of all the benefits superfast speed has to offer," Vaizey said.
BT will also run a showcase within TechHub to display some of the new technologies, even if the companies don't win the six months' backing.
Elizabeth Varley, founder and CEO of TechHub, said: “Partnering with BT gives TechHub an unmissable opportunity to offer to tech startups. Working with BT gives entrepreneurs the chance to test their innovations with a major partner, receive specialised help and advice, and take advantage of the huge promotional reach offered by this bastion of British business.
"For UK startups or those wanting to enter the UK market, it’s an opportunity that’s usually hard to come by without partnerships like this one between TechHub and BT.”
More details on how to get involved in the competition and deadlines is due to be posted on TechHub's website in due course.