Funding competition Young Innovators Awards 2021/22

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

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £460,000 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, including the financial support and tailored package of expert advice, with access to the innovation tools and connections 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

Grant

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 2021. The support awarded is for young innovators over a 12 month period.

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
  • attending 2 bootcamps, each lasting 1.5 days on 7 and 8 December 2021, and 17 and 18 May 2022
  • providing at least 4 days over the duration of the award to be a role model for the Young Innovators Programme

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

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:

Special Drawing Rights (and EC De minimis where applicable)

The UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has agreed on small funding allowances under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

These are for awards up to SDR of 325,000 (approximately £335,000) given to a single beneficiary over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

You must complete and provide Innovate UK with a declaration as part of your response in question 1.

The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under De minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

If you have received an award under De minimis for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under SDR. This means that the total award must not exceed approximately £335,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.

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

Further Information

Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent BEIS guidance. Or you can see our general guidance on Special Drawing Rights and EU de minimis awards.

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime 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.

Eligibility overview

Here is a diagram showing a summary of eligibility.

This is a new way of showing you eligibility. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Funding

We have allocated up to £460,000 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 32 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:

  • 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
  • a grant of £5,000 to cover eligible project costs, including travel to meet customers and partners, attending relevant training courses, equipment, hiring office space and IT support
  • a living allowance grant for 2 days (15 hours) per week throughout the duration of the award at an hourly rate matching the UK real living wage

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, up to 3 minutes long. This must be uploaded to either Vimeo or YouTube and provided as an unlisted link in question 18 of your application. If we are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on Vimeo or 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

Projects we will not fund

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
  • projects not allowed under Special Drawing Rights (SDR
  • projects not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • projects that involve the audio visual sector (such as film production)
  • subsidies dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • subsidies that are dependent on domestic inputs usage- for example if we insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product

For further guidance on how these restrictions might affect your project you can contact support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes.
14 June 2021
Competition opens
15 June 2021
Online briefing event: watch the recording
28 July 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
1 October 2021
Applicants notified
1 December 2021
Award start date
7 December 2021
First 2-day bootcamp
17 May 2022
Second 2-day bootcamp

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.

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 the correct balance of awards.

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 2021. For the project duration, please enter 12 months.

Subsidy Basis

Text update [21 July 2021]: we have added guidance to make it clearer that all participants must complete this section

Is your company based in Northern Ireland and are you planning to undertake any work for which you are seeking Innovate UK funding in Northern Ireland?

All participants must complete this section.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

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.

You must complete this EDI survey and then select yes in the application question. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

Project summary

Describe your business idea briefly.

Your answer can be up to 150 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers for questions 14, 15, 16 and 17. 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. Special Drawing Rights declaration (not scored)

Please download the declaration template. You must complete this, declaring any awards, including those made under De minimis and Special Drawing Rights (SDR) subsidies, (from any source of public funding), over a rolling 3 fiscal year period.

You must also keep all documentation relating to this and other De minimis awards for a period of 10 years and be prepared to release it to any public funding body which requests it.

Please write “declaration attached” in the text box.

Question 2. 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.

Select:

  • Yes
  • No

Question 3. 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 two weekday bootcamp sessions.

Select:

  • Yes
  • No

If you select no, you will be made ineligible.

Question 4. Role model commitment (not scored)

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

Select:

  • Yes
  • No

If you select no, you will be made ineligible.

Question 5. Your age (not scored)

What will your age be on 28 July 2021?

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

Question 6. Date of birth (not scored)

What is your date of birth?

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

Question 7. 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?

Select:

  • 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 8. 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 9. 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.

Select:

  • 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 10. Employment status (not scored)

Are you currently in paid work?

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

Select:

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

Question 11. 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.

Select:

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

Question 12. 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.

Select:

  • Yes
  • No

Question 13. Further support (not scored)

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

Select:

  • Yes
  • No

Question 14. Value proposition

What is your value proposition?

You must provide a value proposition as 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 15. 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 16. 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 17. Risks

What are the main risks for your project idea?

Describe or explain:

  • 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 18. Video pitch

You must upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo. 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.

Please ensure your video is ‘unlisted’ in the privacy settings. 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 Vimeo or YouTube, your application will be made ineligible. The video must remain available until 1 December 2021.

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

If you cannot upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo, you must contact support@innovateuk.ukri.org 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 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

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.

Background and further information

The Young Innovators Awards will support up to 152 young people by 2023 through annual competitions. So far, 88 young people have received Young Innovators awards and 12,000 young people have engaged with 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

With your permission, 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 our partner organisations, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Innovate UK EDGE and the Catapult network and vice versa.

Innovate UK is directly accountable to you for its holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. It is held in accordance with its Information Management Policy.

Innovate UK and our partner organisations 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 our partner organisations 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.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, 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.

Extra help

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


Innovate UK EDGE Upon 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.

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