Young Innovators Success Stories: Ryan Bell, Tech Balance, South East

Posted on: 11/01/2023

Empowering young people to achieve a healthier tech-life balance

Ryan Bell started Tech Balance to help students understand their relationship with technology and achieve a better tech-life balance.

Since winning the Young Innovators Award, Ryan has developed a dedicated curriculum and minimum viable product (MVP) of digital wellbeing workshops. The workshops have been delivered to over 1,000 students and received positive feedback.

“We’ve gone from just an idea to having several MVPs. We have workshops as part of a curriculum in schools, an early-stage coaching offering and a survey to help students evaluate their relationship with technology,” Ryan explains.

“The survey was developed with support from Innovate UK KTN’s Design for Growth initiative and in collaboration with two psychologists to boost academic rigour.”

Building partnerships

Partnerships have been a key focus for Ryan in the last 12 months. He’s formed relationships with a number of schools and colleges, as well as international organisations in the US and Slovenia.

While Tech Balance’s proposition hasn’t been commercialised yet, the partnerships have allowed Ryan to rapidly increase taster offerings of the MVP across a number of institutes.

He plans to build on this progress over the next 12 months by increasing the reach of the Tech Balance survey and securing the first sale of his workshop or coaching MVP. He’ll also be using grant funding to integrate content into a software platform to drive self-care for students.

“I was accepted onto the Fast Start: Innovation programme to design and build a healthcare solution around digital wellbeing for young people. The solution aims to reduce overuse and misuse of attention-seeking technology,” Ryan says.

Core values

Over the course of the programme, Ryan has learnt to step outside of his comfort zone. As he puts it, that’s when most personal growth occurs. He’s also learnt to prioritise his time and not be afraid to say no.

“You quickly find as an entrepreneur that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. If you say yes to everything that comes your way or sounds good, you won’t move at the speed you need to. You need to learn to say no when there are demands that compromise your core values.”

Understanding his priorities has been another learning curve. As Ryan explains, it’s easy for your personal life to start to slip, whether it’s losing sleep or missing opportunities to socialise.

“You start to realise quite quickly what makes you happy and fulfilled. It’s all about striking the right balance. You’re your number one asset – but you can’t do it alone.

“As a solo founder, there are times when the journey can be lonely. If you’re not careful, you can easily lose a sense of direction or feel like you’re not progressing as quickly as you should be. Supportive friends, family, innovation champions and other entrepreneurs are crucial.”

Legal protection

The Award funding allowed Ryan to establish a professional brand, cover volunteering costs and complete a course to become a Certified Digital Wellness Educator.

The programme’s wider support has also been pivotal in helping him to understand the legal side of the business.

“My innovation champion connected me with a GDPR expert, which was extremely helpful in getting our GDPR policy up and running. I also spoke to an intellectual property (IP) professional through Innovate UK, who helped me evaluate any IP considerations and ensure I was protected.”

Ask questions

Ryan advises future Young Innovators Award winners to make the most of the network of innovation champions and fellow entrepreneurs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – reaching out to the right people will save you time, money and energy.

He also emphasises the importance of focusing on high-value tasks. It’s easy to get caught up in tasks that seem urgent but realistically won’t move the needle. If that happens over weeks or months, you risk moving slower than you’d like.

“Move fast and prioritise ruthlessly. Ask yourself what the biggest bottleneck is to achieving your next goal and what you are avoiding, then get to work on it,” Ryan says.

“Don’t forget to celebrate your successes too, no matter how small. As you start to get stuck into your business, the amount that needs to be done is often overwhelming. Set practices where you look back and reflect on what you’ve achieved, every day or every week at minimum.”


Join us and become part of the Young Innovators community. Find out more about the programme here.

Read the other Young Innovators’ success stories here.

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Young Innovators

The Young Innovators Awards are an annual competition from Innovate UK that finds, supports and celebrates young people with great business ideas.


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