Funding competition Young Innovators Awards 2022 to 2023

Young people can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality. This includes a grant for £5,000, a living allowance, and tailored business support.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £1.4 million in young innovators with this competition.

The aim of this competition is to find a new group of young innovators that with our help, can turn their great ideas into successful businesses.

We are looking for young people who would benefit most from the Young Innovators Awards. The award includes financial support and a tailored package of expert advice, with access to the innovation tools and useful connections also on offer.

The financial support, tailored coaching and mentoring will be provided directly to the successful applicants.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. The competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

The Young Innovators Award includes £5,000 plus a living allowance in the form of a grant.

Who can apply

This competition is open to sole applicants only.

Awards will start on 1 December 2022. The support awarded is for young innovators over a 12 month period.

All projects must end by 30 November 2023.

Lead applicant

To be eligible for an award you must:

You must be able to commit to:

  • working on average for 2 days (15 hours) per week on your Young Innovators Award, including some weekday time to meet with your Innovation Champion
  • attend 3 virtual bootcamps, each lasting 1 day on 15 November 2022, 15 March and 15 June 2023
  • attend a further 1 day, in person or hybrid access, event with all Young Innovators on 14 September 2023
  • provide at least 4 days over the duration of the award to be a role model for the Young Innovators Programme

You are still eligible to apply if you are receiving support from The Prince’s Trust in-person Enterprise programme.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian entity as lead. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian source.

Your project cannot include partners


Subcontractors are not allowed in this competition.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application, as long as you did not receive a Young Innovators Award previously and you meet the eligibility criteria for this competition.

If you have ever been awarded funding by Innovate UK, we will not award you more funding if you have:

Eligibility Tree

Attached you will find the eligibility tree regarding the competition

Minimal Financial Assistance (and De minimis where applicable)

Grant funding in this competition is awarded as Minimal Financial assistance (MFA). This allows public bodies to award up to £315,000 to an enterprise in a 3 year rolling financial period.

In your application, you will be asked to declare previous funding received by you. This will form part of the financial checks ahead of Innovate UK making a formal grant offer.

To establish your eligibility, we need to check that our support added to the amount you have previously received does not exceed the limit of £315,000 in the ‘applicable period’.

The applicable period is made up of:

(a) the elapsed part of the current financial year

(b) the two financial years immediately preceding the current financial year

You must include any funding which you have received during the applicable period under:

You do not need to include aid or subsidies which have been granted on a different basis (such as an aid award granted under the General Block Exemption Regulation).

Further information about the UK subsidy control requirements can be found in:

EU Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK’s International Obligations to Subsidy Control or the De minimis rules, you should take independent legal advice. We cannot advise on individual eligibility or your legal obligations.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.


Up to £1.4 million has been allocated to fund young innovators in this competition.

Each successful Young Innovators Award winner can claim a grant that includes £5,000 for project costs and a living allowance based on two days (15 hours) work per week. Claims will need to be agreed with your Innovation Champion, who will be allocated to you if you are successful.

In this competition, we plan to give awards to 100 young people across the UK. The same benefits will be offered to all award holders.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to find young people with great business ideas who have the potential to become future leaders in innovation and successful entrepreneurs.

Your project must:

  • address a problem
  • be innovative
  • be significantly better than what is currently on offer including from existing businesses

As an award holder you will receive:

1. Tailored business support including but not limited to:

Media and communications, for example:

  • branding
  • business planning strategy
  • confidence
  • growing your networks

Funding and finance options, for example:

  • introductions to investors and pitch training
  • financial planning

2. A grant of £5,000 to cover eligible project costs, for example:

  • travel to meet customers and partners
  • attending relevant training courses
  • equipment
  • hiring office space and IT support

3. A contribution for living expenses equivalent to £165 per week.

If successful, the funding will be paid in four increments called claim periods.

You will need to provide evidence to your monitoring officer to show how your grant was spent over each claim period before your next claim can be submitted.

In total, every young innovator will get £5000 plus a contribution to living allowances of £8,619, making a total of £13,618.99.

This will be divided over four claim periods:

  • December 2022 (upfront) - £3654.74
  • March 2023 - £3404.75
  • June 2023 - £3404.75
  • September 2023 - £3154.75

We are looking to support award holders across the UK working on a wide range of business ideas, types, sectors, products, processes, and services.

Your innovative idea can be:

  • ready to be developed into a new business
  • within an existing business

As part of your application, you must pitch your idea in a short video. It can be up to 3 minutes long. This must be uploaded to YouTube and provided as an unlisted link in question 19 of your application. If we are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on YouTube, your application will be made ineligible.

We are looking to fund a portfolio of projects.

We will select a portfolio of award winners who:

  • have high potential to be future leaders in innovation, or successful entrepreneurs and inspirational role model to others
  • are most likely to benefit from the package of support on offer
  • represent a diverse range of innovative ideas for business
  • are located throughout the UK

Subject to meeting the quality threshold, we reserve the right to manage the portfolio to achieve a balance of awards.

Projects we will not fund

Text update 1 July 2022: we have removed the bullet relating to audio visual sector.

We are not funding:

  • applicants that have previously received an Innovate UK Young Innovators Award
  • applicants who would not benefit from the package of support on offer
  • applicants who do not intend to use the full award package, for example, just the funding
  • applicants who are younger than 18 or older than 30 on the close date of the competition
  • projects that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • projects that involve primary production in agriculture
  • activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • projects not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • projects not allowed under Minimal Financial Assistance
  • projects dependent on export performance, for example giving an award to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country.
  • projects that are dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example if we give an award to a baker on the condition that they use 50% UK flour in their product.

For further guidance on how these restrictions might affect your project you can contact at least 10 working days before the competition closes

13 June 2022
Competition opens
14 June 2022
Webinar briefing event: register to attend
27 July 2022 11:00am
Competition closes
9 September 2022
Applicants notified
15 November 2022
First virtual bootcamp day starts
1 December 2022
Project start date
15 March 2023
Second virtual bootcamp day starts
15 June 2023
Third virtual bootcamp day starts
14 September 2023
One day in person event

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

We encourage you to view the webinar recordings and resources available on the Young Innovators programme page before you make your application.

When you start an application, you will be asked to create an account on the Innovation Funding Service. You will need an account to submit your application and track its progress. Some mandatory fields in the Innovation Funding Service system will ask you to select if you are a business as part of your application. You must select business, even if you do not yet have a business.

As the applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • committing to engage fully with the package of support provided with the award if your application is successful

Your application may be marked ineligible if it is not clear which individual will be receiving the award. We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

If your application does not meet the competition’s eligibility criteria it will not be sent for assessment. The assessment will be a two-stage process.

  • Stage 1: is the standard assessment process as outlined in the guidance. A portfolio selection of the highest scored applications will go to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: is a judging panel who will review and assess your video pitch.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions, including your video pitch.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

For the project start date, please enter 1 December 2022. For the project duration, please enter 12 months.

Subsidy basis

Will the project, including any related activities you want Innovate UK to fund, affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU?

Application team

You can invite people from your organisation to help complete the application.

You must complete an Equality Diversity and Inclusion survey to submit your application. We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 150 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers for questions 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 You will receive feedback from them for each one. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers, except for your video pitch.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation. We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Minimal Financial Assistance declaration (not scored)

You must download the declaration template. You must complete this, declaring any funding received under Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights) or De minimis awards, (from any source of public funding) in the applicable period.

You must complete all the fields on your form before uploading.

You must write “declaration attached” in the text box.

You must upload the completed declaration as an appendix. It must be a PDF and no larger than 10 MB.

You must keep all documentation relating to Minimal Financial Assistance (previously referred to as Special Drawing Rights) and other De minimis awards for a period of 6 years and be prepared to release it to any public funding body which requests it.

Question 3. Registered business (not scored)

Do you have a registered business, or will you have a registered business by the closing date of this competition?

Your answer to this question will not affect your eligibility for the Young Innovators Awards.


  • Yes
  • No

Question 4. Time commitment (not scored)

You must confirm that you are able to commit:

  • to working on average for 2 days (15 hours) per week on your Young Innovators Award, including some weekday time to meet with your Innovation Champion
  • to attend the four bootcamp sessions


  • Yes
  • No

If you select no, you will be made ineligible.

Question 5. Role model commitment (not scored)

Can you commit 4 days over the duration of the award to activities related to being a role model?


  • Yes
  • No

If you select no, you will be made ineligible.

Question 6. Your age (not scored)

What will your age be on 27 July 2022?

If you are not aged from 18 to 30 on this date, you will be made ineligible

Question 7. Date of birth (not scored)

What is your date of birth?

Please provide your date of birth in the format DD/MM/YYYY.

Question 8. Right to work (not scored)

Are you a UK resident who has the right to work in the UK, or will have the right to work in the UK for the duration of the award?


  • Yes, I have or will have the right to work in the UK
  • No, I do not have or will not have the right to work in the UK

If you select no, you will be made ineligible.

Question 9. Where will you be working? (not scored)

You must provide the post code where you will be working on your project.

If you will be working across more than one location, tell us the post code where you will do the majority, or more than 50%, of your project over the 12 months of the award.

Question 10. Other support (not scored)

Are you currently receiving business support, including from the Prince’s Trust? This includes financial support, advice and guidance.

Receipt of existing business support will not affect your eligibility for the Young Innovators Awards.


  • Yes
  • No

If yes, you must explain what support you are receiving and upload as an appendix.

Your appendix must be a PDF and can be up to 1 A4 page long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 11. Employment status (not scored)

Are you currently in paid work?

This will not affect your eligibility for the Young Innovators Awards.


  • I work full-time (35 hours or more a week)
  • I work part-time (less than 35 hours a week)
  • I am unemployed

Question 12. Student status (not scored)

Are you currently studying or in Higher Education?

This includes all school, college and university courses or degrees, as well as PhDs and distance learning.

This will not affect your eligibility for the Young Innovators Awards.


  • Yes, full-time
  • Yes, part-time
  • No

Question 13. Young Innovators Awards webinars (not scored)

Did you watch any of the Young Innovators webinars, live or recorded?

This will not affect your eligibility for the Young Innovators Awards.


  • Yes
  • No

Question 14. Further support (not scored)

Even if you are unsuccessful, we may be able to find you some support through our partner organisations. Are you happy for us to share your details with our partner organisations, Innovate UK KTN, Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network?


  • Yes
  • No

Question 15. Value proposition

What is your value proposition?

You must provide a value proposition: a short, powerful statement that explains why the customer should buy from you. For example, the kind of claim that you see on the home page of a website.

It can also include:

  • what problem your product or service solves
  • the benefits the customer can expect when they buy from you
  • why the customer should buy from you rather than from competitors

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 16. Impact

What difference will this award make to you personally and your business idea?

Explain how you will use the full package of support provided by the award. If you have received other business support, outline how this award will add value.

What new idea or business opportunity would you like to develop with the award, and why is this a critical next step for developing your idea or business?

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 17. Game plan

What is your game plan?

Describe the most important steps you need to take in the 12 months duration of the project to turn your idea for business into a reality. List up to 5 steps.

For each step, identify the areas where you think you need the most support to make a success of your business idea and how you will use the award.

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 18. Risks

What are the main risks for your project idea?


  • the main risks and uncertainties of turning your idea into a reality with this award
  • any technical, commercial, environmental or personal risks
  • how you will mitigate your risks

Your answer can be up to 300 words long.

You can submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. This is not compulsory. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 19. Video pitch

You must upload your video to YouTube. It must be no longer than 3 minutes. If your video is over 3 minutes long, only the first 3 minutes will be used to assess your application.


  • your video is ‘unlisted’ in the privacy settings
  • your video must remain available until 1 December 2022
  • you give the link and any passwords required in your answer to this question

If we are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on YouTube, your application will be made ineligible.

More information on how to create an unlisted video on YouTube.

If you cannot upload your video to YouTube, you must contact at least 10 working days before the competition closes for advice or to ask permission to use an alternative platform.

In your video you must:

  • introduce yourself and your business idea
  • explain how you came up with your idea
  • explain why you think it is a good idea for business
  • what problem it will solve
  • why it is better than, or different from, what exists
  • what the wider benefits are to society, the environment and the economy
  • describe the work that you have carried out already to develop your idea
  • what difference will this award make to you personally
  • where do you hope to be in 5 to 10 years
  • explain how you feel about becoming a role model for other young innovators
  • include any additional information about you and your idea that will help to strengthen your application

Question 20: Project start date (not scored)

Can you confirm that you are able to start your project on 1 December 2022

You must be able to start your project on the 1 December 2022 to apply for this competition or your application will be made ineligible.

Please select yes to confirm you are able to start your project on this date. If you select no, your application will be made ineligible and not sent for assessment.


  • Yes
  • No

3. Finances

To complete the finances section in your application, you must only enter £5,000 under labour costs. This does not mean your award can only be spent on labour costs. This section is simply a mandatory part of the application that needs to be completed.

Innovate UK will add the living allowance grant to the fixed £5,000 project costs grant if your application is successful. The grant and living allowance are paid in four increment payments through the life of your project.

Background and further information

The Young Innovators Awards will support over 300 young people by 2023 through annual competitions. So far, 151 young people in the last three years have received Young Innovators awards, a further 100 are planned in this competition. There has been 12,000 young people engaged in the #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign. You can find out more about the Young Innovators programme

If successful, you will be invited to the Young Innovators bootcamps. The bootcamps will be held at the start and mid-point of your award. These are an opportunity to engage and network with both those providing the expert support available and other peers in your cohort, including your innovation champion. We expect your action plan to be agreed at the first bootcamp.

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, Innovate UK KTN, Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network (each an “agency”).

Your submitted application and any other information you provide at the application stage can be submitted to each agency on an individual basis for its storage, processing and use Any relevant information produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to Innovate UK KTN, Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network and vice versa.

Innovate UK and Innovate UK KTN, Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information Data is held in accordance with their own policies Accordingly, Innovate UK, and Innovate UK KTN, Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Extra help

If you want further information about making your application, you can view the webinars and resources delivered by Innovate UK KTN.

If you receive an award, you will be allocated an Innovation Champion from Innovate UK EDGE acting on behalf of Innovate UK. They will offer bespoke business support to help you maximise your project and business potential.

It will be a requirement that you engage with your Innovation Champion throughout your project. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email or call 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Need help with this service? Contact us