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Young Innovators Awards 2021/22


Young people can apply for an award to make their business idea a reality, which includes a grant for £5,000, a living allowance, and tailored business support.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £460,000 in young innovators with this competition.

The aim of this competition is to find a new group of young innovators that, with the help of Innovate UK, can turn their great ideas into successful businesses.

Innovate UK are looking for young people who would benefit most from the Young Innovators Awards, including the financial support and tailored package of expert advice, with access to the innovation tools and connections on offer. The financial support, tailored coaching and mentoring will be provided directly to the successful applicants.

The Young Innovators Award includes £5,000 plus a living allowance in the form of a grant.

Open Date:


Close Date:


The aim of this competition is to find young people with great business ideas who have the potential to become future leaders in innovation and successful entrepreneurs.

Your project must:

  • Address a problem
  • Be innovative
  • Be significantly better than what is currently on offer including from existing businesses

As an award holder you will receive:

  • Tailored business support including but not limited to; media and communications, for example, branding, business planning strategy, confidence, growing your networks; funding and finance options, for example, introductions to investors and pitch training, financial planning
  • A grant of £5,000 to cover eligible project costs, including travel to meet customers and partners, attending relevant training courses, equipment, hiring office space and IT support
  • A living allowance grant for two days (15 hours) per week throughout the duration of the award at an hourly rate matching the UK real living wage

Innovate UK are looking to support award holders across the UK working on a wide range of business ideas, types, sectors, products, processes, and services. Your innovative idea can be:

  • Ready to be developed into a new business
  • Within an existing business

As part of your application, you must pitch your idea in a short video, up to three minutes long. This must be uploaded to either Vimeo or YouTube and provided as an unlisted link in question 18 of your application. If Innovate UK are unable to view your video or it is not hosted on Vimeo or YouTube, your application will be made ineligible.

Innovate UK are looking to fund a portfolio of projects.

Innovate UK 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

This competition is open to sole applicants only.

Awards will start on 1 December 2021. The support awarded is for young innovators over a 12-month period.

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
  • Be aged from 18 to 30 on the date of competition closing
  • Have not previously received a Young Innovators Award from Innovate UK

You must be able to commit to:

  • Working on average for two days (15 hours) per week on your Young Innovators Award, including some weekday time to meet with your Innovation Champion
  • Attending 2 bootcamps, each lasting 1.5 days on 7 and 8 December 2021, and 17 and 18 May 2022
  • Providing at least four days over the duration of the award to be a role model for the Young Innovators Programme

You are eligible to apply if you are receiving support from The Prince’s Trust’s in-person Enterprise programme.

Previous applications

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.

If you have ever been awarded funding by Innovate UK, we will not award you more funding if you have:

Special Drawing Rights (and EC De minimis where applicable)

The UK-EU Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has agreed on small funding allowances under the Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

These are for awards up to SDR of 325,000 (approximately £335,000) given to a single beneficiary over a rolling three fiscal year period.

You must complete and provide Innovate UK with a declaration as part of your response.

The declaration asks you to tell us about any awards, including those made under De minimis and SDR, (from any source of public funding) over a rolling three fiscal year period.

If you have received an award under De minimis for the same period, this will be added to your total allowance under SDR. This means that the total award must not exceed approximately £335,000 (325,000 SDR) for any one organisation. You must declare this allowance to any other funding body who requests it.

EC Commission rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see the general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent BEIS guidance. Or you can see the general guidance on Special Drawing Rights and EU de minimis awards.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean Innovate UK need to change the terms of this competition, they will tell you as soon as possible.

Innovate UK have allocated up to £460,000 to fund young innovators in this competition.

Each successful Young Innovators Award winner can claim a grant that includes £5,000 for project costs and a living allowance based on two days (15 hours) work per week. Claims will need to be agreed with your Innovation Champion, who will be allocated to you if you are successful.

In this competition, Innovate UK plan to give awards to 32 young people across the UK. The same benefits will be offered to all award holders.

Innovate UK are not funding:

  • Applicants that have previously received an Innovate UK Young Innovators Award
  • Applicants who would not benefit from the package of support on offer
  • Applicants who do not intend to use the full award package, for example, just the funding
  • Applicants who are younger than 18 or older than 30 on the close date of the competition
  • Projects that involve primary production in fishery and aquaculture
  • Projects that involve primary production in agriculture
  • Projects not allowed under Special Drawing Rights (SDR
  • Projects not allowed under De minimis regulation restrictions
  • Activities relating to the purchase of road freight transport
  • Projects that involve the audio visual sector (such as film production)
  • Subsidies dependent on export performance – for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that they export a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • Subsidies that are dependent on domestic inputs usage– for example if it was insisted that a baker use 50% UK flour in their product

Cresco Innovation works with companies to develop and implement innovation strategies. We help client companies identify opportunities to develop new products and services, and then create a package of support to ensure that the idea is turned into a commercial reality.

Our services include securing grants (as a team we have raised around £40million over three years), business planning, IP advice, access to finance and funders, project management and IP commercialisation support.

We regularly act as the interface with the funding bodies and help clients ensure that their projects are properly managed to ensure the best outcome for all.

Call to find out more

If you’d like to know more about this competition, please give us a call on 01509 261182 and one of our team will be delighted to help you access this funding opportunity for your business.