Innovate UK & The Prince’s Trust announce search for next generation of UK innovators

Today, as part of its mission to shine a spotlight on those currently under-represented in business innovation, Innovate UK is turning its focus to the next generation of innovators.

Launched in partnership with The Prince’s Trust, the nationwide initiative aims to find the next generation of UK innovators, but also to provide them with much-needed support, advice and funding.

Open to 18-30 year olds from a wide range of backgrounds, who are simply looking to take their ideas to the next level, the initiative will enable applicants to quickly receive advice, guidance and the chance to get access to transformative backing; helping to turn their ideas into reality.

The very best ideas will be announced in March 2018 and these future innovators will go on to receive vital funding and ongoing business mentorship.

Bringing the next generation face to face with their own potential

To kick start the campaign, investor, entrepreneur and The Prince’s Trust ambassador Deborah Meaden will meet a number of potential future innovators at the #IdeasMeanBusiness pop-up coffee shop in Angel, London, on the 5th December 2017.

For one day only, the #IdeasMeanBusiness coffee shop will give young people the chance to speak with Innovate UK business mentors, experts from The Prince’s Trust and unlock free idea-fuelling coffees. They can also meet with successful young innovators with inspiring stories to share, including 19-year-old millionaire entrepreneur Ben Towers. Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust will also be taking the pop-up coffee shop to different regional locations by the end of the year, to continue inspiring the next generation of innovators that #IdeasMeanBusiness.

Dr. Ruth McKernan CBE and Chief Executive of Innovate UK says: ‘With our Women in Innovation initiative, the first of our infocus campaigns, we not only saw a 6 per cent increase in applications from women, but women from across the country bringing amazing new innovations to life – from the optimisation of cancer treatments, to the creation of sustainable alternatives to animal products and even solutions to safer female solo traveling. We aim to drive the same levels of success and positive impact with this new initiative, focusing on young people from diverse backgrounds and motivating them to see how their ideas mean business. We hope, in doing so, to unearth the UK’s future innovators.’

Empowering future innovators to help power the economy

According to existing research from the Social Mobility Foundation, breaking the link between background and achievement could add as much as four per cent to GDP. Through this initiative, Innovate UK therefore aims to unlock the potential of this long-overlooked generation, by resolving the disparity between the ambitious of young people and their confidence at taking these ideas forward.

Deborah Meaden, explains: ‘Young people represent our future, so to describe their engagement in business and innovation as crucial is no overstatement. With the new research from Innovate UK highlighting the scale of their disengagement and sense of mistrust, it is clear we need to urgently re-frame the business and innovation landscape as one that is open and inclusive of ideas that come from anywhere and from anyone. I believe the #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign will be hugely successful in welcoming in the next generation of UK innovators.

Lindsay Owen, Director of Policy and Evaluation at The Prince’s Trust, adds: ‘For thousands of young people across the UK, starting their own business could be a viable route to success, and a sustainable income for themselves and their families. Although many of these young people are evidently brimming with ideas and entrepreneurial spirit, a lack of confidence they can succeed appears to be holding them back. While their concerns are understandable, in fact their worries are unfounded; funding and support are available to help get new business ideas off the ground. The underlying problem therefore appears to be a lack of knowledge about what support is out there. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Innovate UK because with the right support from organisations like ours and from Government, there is no limit to how much these young people can achieve.’