Young Innovators Awards 2022/23 - Frequently Asked Questions
Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Awards 2022/23 will award up to 100 young people from diverse backgrounds with a £5,000 grant, a living allowance, and tailored business support.
We hope these Frequently Asked Questions will be helpful to potential applicants for the Young Innovators Awards 2022/23. If you have a query which is not covered below, or if any of the answers provided are unclear, please contact the Innovate UK Customer Support Service team.
Q. If I turn 31 a couple of days before the 27th of July 2022 can I still apply?
A. No. Young people (aged 18-30 on or before the 27th of July 2022) can apply for an award to turn their business idea into a reality. There are many other competitions open to all ages, please head to the Innovate UK KTN or Innovate UK websites to find out more.
Q. If I just have an initial idea, can I apply?
A. Yes. You can enter with a business or with just a business idea. You don’t have to have a business in order to apply. If you meet the eligibility criteria and have an idea that solves a problem and is innovative, we look forward to receiving your application.
We will be holding a briefing event to discuss the scope of this competition. If you are unsure whether you are eligible to apply, please attend the event (on the 14th of June from 10am to 12pm). Click here to register for the event.
Q. If I am further on my journey and already have a business, can I apply?
A. Yes. You can enter with a business or with just a business idea. There are no time limits on how long an existing business has been operational for before entering the Young Innovators competition.
Q. Can I still be a student and apply?
A. Yes, students can apply if they meet the other eligibility criteria. The sole applicant must:
- be 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
- be aged from 18 to 30 on the date of competition closing
- have not previously received a Young Innovators Award from Innovate UK
Q. I am an international student living in the UK, am I eligible for this competition?
A. To be eligible for an award you must be 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. Please check your right to work.
Q. My friend/co-founder and I are developing this business idea together, does that make me ineligible for this award?
A. Yes and No. The Young Innovators competition is open to sole applicants only. So, you need to decide who is going to be the sole applicant and take part in the programme if successful. Unfortunately, if it is unclear who the sole applicant is within your submission, you may be ineligible.
This does not mean that you cannot work with one or multiple co-founder/friend/business partner(s) on before, during, and after the programme developing your business idea, simply that only ONE of you can apply as sole applicant and receive the Young Innovators Award.
Q. Given the NI protocol, will Northern Ireland applications be eligible?
A. Yes. We welcome and encourage applications from Northern Ireland as well as all regions of the UK.
Q. If I have a mentor with the Prince’s Trust already, does this go against my application?
A. No. You are eligible to apply if you are receiving support from the Prince’s Trust.
Q. Am I eligible to apply if I have been previously awarded or funded for my business through other opportunities?
A. Yes. As long as you state clearly the added value in your Young Innovator competition application. Also, you can use a previously submitted application, if you did not receive a Young Innovators Award previously and you meet all the eligibility criteria for this competition.
Q. Am I eligible to apply if I have received a previous Innovate UK grant for the same business idea?
A. No. You cannot have received other Innovate UK funding for the same project prior to applying. However, you are eligible to apply for the Young Innovators programme with a different project.
Q. Am I able to apply for other Innovate UK grants if I am awarded the Young Innovators funding?
A. Yes. However, you cannot receive funding for the same project twice.
Q. Can not-for-profit organisations apply for this award?
A. Yes. This competition accepts submissions from all types of organisations including for-profit, not-for-profit, social enterprises, etc.
Q. Is there a deadline for applications?
A. The Young Innovators competition will close on the 27th of July 2022 at 11:00am precisely. Extensions to this deadline cannot and will not be granted under any circumstances.
Q. Where can I apply?
On the Innovate UK Applications Page.
Q. What would you recommend to focus on in my application? What do unsuccessful applicants typically miss or get wrong?
A. To fit the competition, your project must address a problem, be innovative, meet the eligibility criteria, and have a realistic plan. Unsuccessful applicants typically leave the application to the very last minute, don’t fill the forms correctly, have lots of missing information, forget to include their video link, do not provide sufficient evidence in the application, or do not follow the instructions.
We encourage you to submit your application well ahead of the deadline and to read it several times before doing so. You might also consider having a trusted friend, family member, or advisor take a look at it before submitting to ensure that it is as complete and comprehensive as it can be.
Q. The application requires a short video. Will the production value of it be judged in any way (e.g., editing, sound effects, etc.)?
A. No. As part of your application, you must pitch your idea in a short video, up to 3 minutes long. The assessors will not be scoring your videos based on editing, background music, or presenting skills, but on the content of your answer to all elements of the question.
The video must be uploaded to YouTube and provided as an unlisted link. Please share the link and any passwords required in your answer to the video-related question.
If we are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on YouTube, your application will be made ineligible. So, please make sure to double-check that your video link is included in your application before submitting.
You must ensure that your video is viewable after the competition deadline and up until the 1st of December 2022.
Q. I’m keen to apply – where can I find the support I need as a disabled young person?
A. We are committed to making support for innovation more accessible and inclusive. If you have any barriers to applying due to a disability or long-term condition, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Innovate UK’s Customer Support Services Team on 0300 321 4357 or email@example.com.
If you know what you need, please tell us how best we can support you. We’ll be in touch and do our best to provide that support.
If you’re not sure, we can discuss the support available with you in order to better understand your needs and determine how we can help.
So that we can provide the best support possible, we encourage you to get in touch as early as possible during the application process – within the first week of the competition opening, if possible.
Q. Is there a competition helpline?
A. If you need more information you can contact Innovate UK directly for all competition enquiries via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357. Phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Q. Is this programme specific to a type of business or sector?
A. No. We are looking to support award holders across the UK working on a wide range of business ideas, types, sectors, products, processes, and services. We welcome and encourage applications from all sectors and areas of innovation.
We have had Young Innovators developing businesses in health, technology, fashion, food, manufacturing, education, music, finance, agriculture, etc. You can read about some of our previous awardees in the 2020/21 brochure and 2021/22 brochure to find out more.
Q. Can I apply with a business idea which I previously submitted to last year’s Young Innovators competition or any other competitions?
A. Yes. You can use a previously submitted application, if you did not receive a Young Innovators Award previously, or other Innovate UK funding for the same idea, and you meet the eligibility criteria for this competition. Before doing so, please read through the additional details under the previous applications section of the application form.
Also, if you received feedback on your previously submitted application, we do encourage you to take it into account before submitting the same idea for this competition. However, please note that it is most likely that different assessors would review your new application and therefore there is no guarantee your application will score higher even if all feedback is addressed.
Q. Can I apply with multiple ideas?
A. We encourage you to work through one clear business idea/area, planning it out carefully to give you the best opportunity of being funded. This will help you outline your game plan, think through the risks, and identify the impact of the award. Submitting multiple ideas is not advisable. If you’re struggling to choose one to focus on, we’d recommend thinking about what you want and can achieve in 12 months as well as what the Young Innovators package of support will realistically enable you to do.
Q. What is the ratio of successful applications and applications submitted? The website says looking to fund up to 100, so 100/X?
A. The number of Young Innovators award holders has grown from 24 in the first year, to up to 100 for this 22/23 competition. The number of applications has fluctuated too. For example, last year (2021/22), we received over 500 applications and awarded 63 Young Innovators. We are expecting a higher number of applications this year, however we will only know the exact number on the 27th of July 2022 at 11:00am.
Q. How do you select the Young Innovators award holders from the hundreds of applications you receive?
A. We follow a very detailed and thorough process working with a team of experienced assessors. Every aspect of each application is carefully reviewed and evaluated against a common list of criteria and multiple assessors review the same application to ensure that the outcome is as consistent and fair as it can be.
You can find more information about the standard assessment process in this outline video about how Innovate UK assessors assess.
Q. Many grants take in consideration applicants’ locations, is there any quotas when it comes to where we’re based in the UK?
A. No. There are no quotas. We are looking to fund a portfolio of business ideas. 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
Q. When will I know if I have been successful with my application?
A. You will be informed by Innovate UK of the outcome of your application by the 9th of September 2022.
Q. How and when will the £5,000 grant be paid?
A. The grant is paid on agreed dates (claim periods) subject to the sign-off of each Young Innovators’ assigned Monitoring Officer. There are usually 4 claim periods through the 12-month project. If you are successful, these dates will be shared with you once your project has been set-up.
Q. How much is the 2-day (15 hours) living allowance and how is it paid?
A. The living allowance is an hourly rate matching the UK real living wage. If successful, the living allowance will be paid in the same way and on the same timeline as the grant (see above).
Q. Can you tell me more about the support package that is offered alongside the grant?
A. As part of the Young Innovators programme, awardees are paired with an Innovation Champion from Innovate UK EDGE who acts as a business mentor and provides one-to-one bespoke business advice. Innovate UK KTN also organises bootcamps which awardees are required to attend as well as several optional webinars, peer-to-peer knowledge sharing sessions, and sector-specific networking opportunities.
The expert advice available includes topics such as, but not limited to:
- media and communications
- problem, purpose, vision, and mission
- business models, strategy, and planning
- funding and finance options
- intellectual property
- self-leadership and leading teams
- growth and scale-up
- storytelling and confidence building
- role modelling opportunities
The package of support is delivered jointly by:
- Innovate UK
- Innovate UK KTN
- Innovate UK EDGE
- Other Partner Organisations
Q. Are the bootcamps in person or virtual?
A. Over the past two years, bootcamps have been held as virtual events. However, we may opt to hold hybrid (in-person with a video-conference option) events in the future. An assessment of risks and opportunity will be carried out beforehand and we are committed to ensuring that all events are as open and accessible as possible.
The plan for 22/23 is the following: 3 virtual bootcamps, each lasting 1 day (10am to 4pm) on the 15th of November 2022, the 15th of March 2023, the 15th of June 2023 and a 1-day hybrid event with all Young Innovators cohorts on the 14th of September 2023. Please note that this is subject to change.
Q. You mention that you are looking to award ‘diverse young people’. What do you mean by that?
A. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the Young Innovators programme which forms an integral part of Innovate UK’s 2021-2025 Plan for Action for UK Business Innovation and its commitment to “increase the diversity of upcoming innovation talent and make innovation support more visible, accessible, and inclusive to all.”
As a result, the Young Innovators programme recognises young people from diverse backgrounds located all over the UK who have great business ideas and the potential to become future leaders in innovation. In last year’s cohort, we achieved a 50/50 gender split, had 1 in 3 awardees who identified from a race or ethnicity minority background, and 17% who declared a disability.
We intend to continue to showcase the diversity of young people in the UK by welcoming Young Innovators from a wide range of backgrounds, including though not limited to: gender, race & ethnicity, disability, age, geography, sexual orientation, education, socioeconomic background. Whoever you are and wherever you are from, if you have an innovative idea and meet the eligibility criteria, we look forward to hearing from you.
Q. When is the 12-month programme due to start?
A. The Young Innovators programme will start for successful applicants on the 1st of December 2022 and the support will be provided over a 12-month period. Please note that there will be a bootcamp beforehand on the 15th of November 2022 (see all bootcamp dates above).
Q. How can I learn more about and join the Young Innovators community?
A. Please visit the Young Innovators Programme page on the Innovate UK KTN website. You can also:
The Young Innovators Awards offer you a great way to get your innovation or business ideas off the ground fast. So what are you waiting for? Start your application today and turn your innovative idea into the next big thing.
Additional Questions From Briefing Event
Please note that the below questions and answers are not covered in the FAQ recording video as they came from the subsequent briefing event.
Q. The application mentions company’s house, if you don’t have a registered business and associated Company Registration Number (CRN) what do you type?
A. You don’t need a company’s house registration to apply, this can be left blank.
Q. When I go on the website to register it states to provide your business. However, I have yet to launch my business as it is currently only an idea I have. What should I do?
A. When you start an application, you will be asked to create an account on the Innovation Funding Service (IFS). You will need an account to submit your application and track its progress. Some mandatory fields in the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) system will ask you to select if you are a business as part of your application. You must select ‘Business’, even if you are looking to submit just an idea and do not have a business yet. If you don’t have a business and associated business name, then please use your name (first & last name) in the open text box.
Q. Does a start-up loan count as public funding or any other grants received?
Q. Are Charitable Community Benefit Societies with a revenue model eligible?
Q. We incorporated in 2010… just asking if you support existing businesses seeking start-ups and innovator visa endorsement?
A. No, not within this award – but there are other Innovate UK competitions that do.
Q. Will this programme negatively affect my PIP and/or Universal Credit benefits etc.?
Q. As a British citizen, can you study abroad for 9 months in the EU during this funding program?
A. Generally, students can apply to the Young Innovators competition if they meet the other eligibility criteria. The lead applicant must be 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. In this case you meet this criteria, however it is important that you conduct most of your project/business in the UK during the 12 months, take an active part in the Young Innovators programme on offer, engage with your Monitoring Officer & Innovation Champion, and attend the bootcamp days listed within the brief. Other practical things to mention regarding the award: the funding can only be paid into a UK bank account and you must intend to exploit the results of your project/business/idea from or in the UK.
Q. Last year, there was a trick question on the application which asks when you’d like to start your project date only to backfire and fail the application due to you needing to select a specific date. Has this been fixed as it causes last minute chaos?
A. Please input the start date requested on the brief document (1 December 2022) and there will be no issues, if you cannot meet the day listed in the brief guidance you may be ineligible.
Q. Will we receive a confirmation email when we submit an application?
Q. Does the product have to solve a social problem or can I solve any business problem – e.g. improving sales processes?
A. We are looking for business ideas that are innovative. What do we mean by innovative? Specifically, we mean, they must address a problem, they must be different and they must be significantly better than what is currently on offer. It could be a societal, social, environmental, health, or economic problem.
Q. Can the £5,000 grant be used solely for prototyping a product?
A. Yes you can, we are flexible. When you come onto the Young Innovators programme, we would advise you to speak with your Monitoring Officer and Innovation Champion from Innovate UK Edge to get all the advice on the best way forward.
Q. Can we do this programme along with a job in a company?
A. Yes, you can be part of the Young Innovators programme while working, many of our award holders work while they are on the programme. As long as you state clearly the added value of the award in your Young Innovators application. Also, you can use a previously submitted application, if you did not receive a Young Innovators Award previously and you meet all the eligibility criteria for this competition.
Q. Could you please share more information about the project summary – are we meant to have specific business goals to achieve as part of the one year ‘project’?
A. We would advise you to have clear business goals regarding what you plan to do with the grant funding and living allowance, as well as how you will benefit from the wider package of support. To fit the competition, your project must address a problem, be innovative, meet the eligibility criteria, and have a realistic plan. We encourage you to work through one clear business idea/area, planning it out carefully to give you the best opportunity of being funded. This will help you outline your game plan, think through the risks, and identify the impact of the award.
Q. How do you define sustainable businesses?
A. We do not have a specific definition for sustainable business, we would advise you to check the information here on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Q. Do you have to provide any evidence of the 15 hours per week?
A. No, we do not track every hour – but we do measure overall engagement and attendance over the course of the programme. The important thing is how you invest yourself in the programme and progress with your project within the 12 months. We advise you to work closely with your Monitoring Officers and Innovation Champion to make the most of everything that is on offer.
Q. Can people who are part of groups each take turns attending the support sessions?
A. No. The sessions are dedicated to the individual Young Innovators award holders, so the lead applicant for the award will be the person attending them.
Q: I don’t have a registered business. How do I start my application?
A: To start a business without a registered business, please follow the steps below:
1. Once you have clicked on start a new application/accept an invitation, if you do not have an account you will be required to ‘create an account’. Once you have selected this option click on your organisation type, you will then need to complete the following steps
2. Put your name or organisation in the box and click search
3. Scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the “find out what to do” link under the ‘my organisation is not registered on companies house’
4. Click on the enter its details manually at the bottom of the exemptions list
5. You only need to fill in your organisation name (this can be your company name or your own name) and your address (business or personal) then click save and continue
6. Confirm your organisation, save and continue
7. Fill in the details to create your account, name, email address, password etc. then select create account
You will then receive an email asking to verify your account, please do this to start your application. Please check junk and spam for the verification email. If you do not receive an email, please get in touch with Innovate UK Customer Service Team on 0300 321 4357 or email@example.com.
Other resources and support
Young Innovators 2022/23 Briefing Event
Innovate UK KTN is hosting a briefing event providing information about the awards, eligibility criteria, the application process, and timelines on the 14 of June from 10am to 12pm. Find out more and register on the Young Innovators 2022/23 Briefing Event page.
Young Innovators Awards 2022/23: Application Support Workshops | 20 June 2022 – 18 July 2022 | Register now
These workshops aim to:
- Break down the application
- Give you tips and tricks
- Answer your questions
Young Innovators Awards 2022/23
Opens: 13/06/2022 Closes: 27/07/2022
Young people (aged 18-30 by 27th July 2022) can apply for an award that will help turn their business idea into a reality – including a £5,000 grant, a two days a week living allowance, and tailored business support.