Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Awards 2021/22 will award 32 people from diverse backgrounds a £5K grant, 1-1 business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.

We hope these Frequently Asked Questions will be helpful to potential applicants for the Young Innovators Awards 2021/22. If you have a query about eligibility which is not dealt with below, please contact Innovate UK directly here.

Q. I am an international student living in 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 here.

Q. Will the production values of the submitted video be judged in any way? E.g. storytelling, editing, etc?

A. No. The assessors will not be scoring your videos based on editing, background music or story telling abilities. 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.

Q. The competition overview page states applications can be for an existing business. Is there any time limit involved with this? E.g. existing businesses must have been operational for less than 12months?

A. No. There are no time limits on how long an existing business has been operational for before entering into in the Young Innovators competition.

Q. Given the NI protocol, will Northern Ireland applications be eligible?

A. Yes. We welcome applications from Northern Ireland.

Q. Many grants take in consideration applicants’ locations, is there any quotas when it comes to where we’re based in the UK? I’m in London.

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

Q. Can we apply with a project which has been placed previously within another competition?

A. You can use a previously submitted application, if you did not receive a Young Innovators Award previously and you meet the eligibility criteria for this competition. Additional details under the previous applications section of the application form.

Q. If the applicant turns 31 a couple of days before July 28th can they still apply?

A. No. Young people (aged 18-30 on 28th July 2021) can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality.

Q. In the application, is the project a specific project for this application (like for most Innovate UK competitions) or simply our business idea?

A. 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 to support award holders who have business ideas that are ready to be developed into new business or within your existing business ( i.e you are early stage, you are founder etc).

Q. Does the applicant need to have a registered company?

A. No. We are looking to support award holders who have business ideas that are ready to be developed into a new business or within your existing busienss (i.e you are early stage; you are the founder etc).

Q. Anything that you would recommend to get right in the application? What do applicants typically get wrong?

A. To fit the competition, your project must address a problem, be innovative, meet the eligibility criteria and have a realistic plan. Applicants typically leave the application to the very last minute, don’t fill the forms correctly, have lots of missing information, do not provide sufficient evidence in the application or do not follow the instructions.

Q. Can you still be a student and apply?

A. Yes, students can apply 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; be aged from 18 to 30 on the date of competition closing; have not previously received a Young Innovators Award from Innovate UK.

Q. What’s the maximum age to apply?

A. 30 years old on 28th July 2021

Q. Would the living allowance come in as a wage every week/month or as a one off annual salary payment?

A. If successful, the living allowance would be paid on agreed dates (claim periods); there should be 4 claim periods through the 12 month project. These dates will be shared with you when your Innovate UK project is set up.

Q. Is there a deadline for applications?

A. The Young Innovator competition will close on 28th July 2021 at 11:00am.

Q. If you have a mentor with the Princes Trust already, does this go against your application?

A. No You are eligible to apply if you are receiving support from the Prince’s Trust’s in-person Enterprise programme.

Q. Where can we apply?

A. On the Innovation Funding Service website here.

Q. Are you allowed to tell us how many applicants you had last year/expecting to have this year? Thanks!

A. We had over 600 applicants last year, we are expecting a similar number of applications this year, however we will know the exact numbers on the 28th of July 11:00.

Q. Approximately how many applicants are there each year?

A. Each year is different, last year we had over 600 applications.

Q. The Young Innovators Award grant includes “£5,000 for project costs and a living allowance based on two days (15 hours) work per week”. How much is that living allowance?

A. The living allowance is an hourly rate matching the UK real living wage (£9.50 for UK rate and £10.85 for London rate).

Q. What is the ratio of successful applications and applications submitted? The website says looking to fund 32, so 32/X?

A. We do not have ratio of successful applications for each phase, the applications submitted for each phase of the Young Innovation competition is different. For example, in phase 2 (2020/21) we had over 600 applications and we awarded 64 Young Innovators.

Q. I am developing my project with a friend, does that make me ineligible for this award?

A. No. The important thing is that the Young Innovators competition is open to sole applicants only. You need to decide who is going to be the lead applicant.

Q. Are we eligible to apply if we have been previously awarded or funded for our startup?

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

Q. Are the bootcamps in person, or if coronavirus stays around will it be virtual? If in person, are we expecting everyone at the bootcamp to be vaccinated (unless a specific medical exemption)?

A. The bootcamps are currently held as virtual events following the standard COVID-19 rules in the UK. However, should rules and regulations change we may opt to hold physical events in the future. An assessment of risks will be carried out for physical events, and award winners will be consulted in the decision making process, the mental and physical health of our staff and award winners will be paramount in decisions taken.

Q. Can we still apply if the company is already registered?

A. Yes.

Q. Will the 5k grant be available at the beginning or the ending of the project? or is it released in instalments based on meetings with mentor?

A. No. If successful, the grants would be paid on agreed dates (claim periods) subject to agreement with your Monitoring officer, there should be 4 claim periods through the 12-month project. These dates will be shared with you when your Innovate UK project is set up.

Q. How close to starting your business do you have to be? I am a healthcare worker with an idea but haven’t had a lot of time due to the pandemic to develop a concrete business plan.

A. 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. You don’t have to have a business

Q. Last year there were 64 winners and this year there will be 32. Just curious to know the reason for this reduction in grants?

A. There was no reduction in the grants, due to the COVID-19 outbreak last year, we had a record-breaking number of applications into the competition, and we had an uplift in our investment so we were able to support an additional 32 grants last year. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, plan was to invest up to £460,000 in young innovators with this competition for 3 years (funding 32 Young Innovators every year for 3 years).

Q. Can you apply with multiple ideas?

A. We will 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. Having multiple ideas is not advisable, essentially what can you achieve in 12 months, what will £5,000 enable you to do?.

Q. Can I reapply if at the second attempt I’m 30?

A.Yes as long as you are still 30 when the competition close ( 28th July 2021) and you meet other eligibility criteria in the Young Innovator competition

Q.I’m aiming to launch my business mid-july. Can I still apply having launched before the application deadline date?

A.Yes

Other resources and support

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22: Application Support Workshops | 23 June 2021- 6 July 2021 | Register now

These workshops aim to:

  • Supplement the official Innovate UK guidance
  • Help understanding of the application questions
  • Introduce and explain tools that can help you with your application
  • Develop your answers further
  • Provide a clear understanding of the application review process

Young Innovators Office Hours

To register your interest for a 15 minute 1:1 conversation with Siwan Smith, KTN’s lead for the Young Innovators Programme, please send us an email at younginnovators@ktn-uk.org, outlining what you would like to discuss, and why you are interested in speaking. Places for office hours are limited.

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22 Briefing Event

KTN hosted a briefing event that provided information about the awards, eligibility criteria, the application process and timelines. Watch the recording below!

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