Young Innovators

We want to find young people from a diverse background in the UK with great ideas for starting a business who have real potential to make their businesses a huge success and we want to support them to realise this potential. We want to build a more inclusive innovation system by helping young people from diverse backgrounds to start and grow sustainable businesses.

Aged between 18 and 30 years old and looking to turn your innovative idea into a reality? You've come to the right place.

Business in Britain is changing. Over the next 3 years, Innovate UK has allocated £2.2 million to help young people develop their innovative ideas and drive positive and meaningful change.

The Young Innovators programme, which includes annual awards for young people with creative and ground-breaking business ideas and a high-profile #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign, is all part of Innovate UK’s commitment to changing the world by investing in young people with big environmental, societal, and economic ambitions.

So far, over 150 inspiring young people have received Young Innovators awards and 12,000 young people have engaged with the #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign. By 2023, the programme will award more than 200 young people from diverse backgrounds with a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching, and an allowance to cover their living costs.

Diversity & Inclusion in Innovation

Innovate UK is all about supporting the best ideas and innovative businesses with the overall goal to help grow the economy. The Young Innovators programme recognises young people from across Britain and from diverse backgrounds who have great business ideas and the potential to become future leaders in innovation.

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.”

Young Innovators Awards 2022/23 

The Young Innovators Awards 2022/23 are open for application from 13th June to 27th July 2022. Up to 100 winning young entrepreneurs will be supported for 12 months through a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching, and a contribution to their living cost which is paid as part of the overall grant at an hourly rate matching the UK real living wage for 2 days (15 hours) per week throughout the duration of the award.

Watch our briefing event below to find out more.

You might also find these Frequently Asked Questions useful for your Young Innovators Awards 2022/23 application.

When you are ready, start your application and turn your idea into the NEXT BIG THING.

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22 Winners: Young people creating a better world


We’re proud to announce the winners of Young Innovators awards 2021/22! Over the past couple of years, the pandemic has significantly impacted young people due to well documented challenges such as disrupted education, declining mental health, and delayed careers. However, it also triggered a surge in entrepreneurialism, resulting in a third of 18 to 34-year-olds wanting to launch an independent enterprise.

This appetite for innovation can also be seen in the unprecedented engagement with the Young Innovators Awards, which received 1,300 applications over the past two years.

Following a rigorous assessment process, 63 Young Innovators were awarded and now form the 2021/22 cohort. From a device that keeps patients’ muscles working when on a ventilator to avoid muscle wastage, to a washing machine that re-uses shower water, to 3D printed knee replacements, they look to tackle some of our biggest environmental and societal challenges.

For this cohort, Innovate UK has also partnered with the Cardiff Capital Region as part of its commitment to increase its impact by working with key regional stakeholders.

Read about all 63 Young Innovators in our brochure.

#IdeasMeanBusiness Webinar Series

The #IdeasMeanBusiness webinar series has been designed to provide practical advice, expert knowledge, and tools for young people. It aims to enable entrepreneurship and innovation among young people to help them bring more diverse ideas and businesses into the economy.

If you want to learn from experts, build your skills, gain confidence, and develop networks to help you grow and succeed, join us as we take you on a journey to develop your ideas.

Launched in August 2020 by Innovate UK KTN, partnering with UK Black Tech, Foundervine, UltraEducation, Like Minded Females, St John’s Innovation Centre, Nicholas Himowicz, Spencer Ayres, and CareerEar, the series has since been viewed by over 2,000 people.

So far, it has explored topics ranging from marketing through to business plans, personal branding, intellectual property, and much more. Watch all recordings here.

The Young Innovators Comunity

We’ll be updating our social media channels with plenty of resources & inspiration for you to turn your ideas into reality. Follow us and keep up to date with upcoming funding opportunities, events, and news.

YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram | Newsletter

Previous Award Winners

Since we started the Young Innovators Awards we have helped over 150 inspiring Young Innovators develop business ideas. It’s an awesome opportunity to give your innovation the best chance of success. But don’t just take our word for it…

We also followed and enabled the journey of some incredibly inspiring young people in Phase 1 and 2 of the Young Innovators programme. They are now part of our alumni network which continues to grow and is a rich source of knowledge, experience, and expertise future winners can draw upon.

Find out more about the previous Young Innovators cohort here and about the second cohort here.

Moving forward, we will continue to support and nurture young people. We look forward to engaging with the new cohort, the growing alumni network, and the wider community to inspire new generations of diverse innovators. Together, we will shape a future beyond limits.

More about the programme

Debunking Stereotypes: What does being an innovator mean to you?

Innovation Meets Inclusion: A take on Innovation from Innovate UK and KTN

About the Awards: What did you achieve through the programme?

Join our community today

Current Young Innovators funding opportunities

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.

More Information

Fast Start: Innovation for net zero and healthcare

Opens: 11/07/2022 Closes: 26/07/2022

Innovate UK is offering small and micro businesses a share of up to £30 million in grants for affordable, adoptable and investable innovations in net zero and self-driven healthcare.

More Information

Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round 4

Opens: 09/06/2022 Closes: 13/07/2022

UK registered businesses can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

More Information

Young Innovators Events And Recordings


2022/23 Young Innovators Briefing Event

10.00 - 12.00 | Online

Watch Now

2022/23 Young Innovators Applicant Support Workshops

12.00 - 13.00 | Online

Register for this event

Young Innovators Awards 2021/22 Briefing Event

10.00 - 12.30 | Online

Watch Now
See all events

Our Young Innovators Experts

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