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A quest to find the "next generation" of UK innovators

Written by Katrina Fuchs on 23 January 2018

A new national campaign from Innovate UK & the Prince’s Trust will support young people with their innovation through the Young Innovators Programme.

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© The Prince's Trust

As part of the #IdeasMeanBusiness campaign, the Enterprise Europe Network (who are part of the Innovate UK family) is looking for the next generation of UK innovators who are wanting to take their ideas to the next level. We are particularly interested in 18-30-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training or are in a form of under-employment. The Young Innovators Programme will enable applicants to quickly receive advice, guidance and have the chance to get access to funding to help to turn their ideas into reality.



A new report published and conducted by YouGov and Innovate UK (“Ideas mean business: Attitudes to innovation by young, disadvantaged adults”) revealed that - despite long-held social assumptions perpetuated by negative media articles - young people are far from uninspired. In fact:

  • Two in five young people (39%) have ideas for products and services they think they could sell
  • More than half (54%) of young people would like to run their own company
  • But, just 8% describe themselves as "entrepreneurial"

The campaign is designed to help just this group and kicks off with a series of events around the country, to explain how it all will work.


Event dates

Regional events will be held throughout February and March 2018, where young innovators will be offered the tools, support and expert advice to help them realise the potential of their ideas. Following this, ongoing support will be offered to all attendees and each will have the chance to apply for financial support from Innovate UK to develop their plans.


  • Ipswich on 5th February 2018
  • Cardiff on 5th February 2018
  • Birmingham on 6th February 2018
  • Brighton on 7th February 2018
  • Plymouth on 8th February 2018
  • Newcastle on 26th February 2018
  • Belfast on 26th February 2018
  • York on 27th February 2018
  • Salford, Manchester on 1st March 2018
  • Nottingham on 2nd March 2018
  • Glasgow on 2nd March 2018


The award package will include:

  • An allowance to cover living costs (similar to an apprenticeship)
  • 1:1 coaching and mentoring from an Innovation Champion
  • A pot of funding to support specific requirements, e.g. travel to meet customers/partners, attending relevant training courses, equipment, hiring office space and IT support

You can find out more about how to get involved with The Trust and Innovate UK's Young Innovators' programme here: http://ow.ly/cQ0T30hzFL1


Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs

Enterprise Europe Network has historically been involved in an innovative business support programme, the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) initiative.
This initiative enables new entrepreneurs to exchange skills, knowledge and contacts with the owner of a more established host enterprise in another European Union member state and focuses on business-to-business relationships. Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs is financed by the European Commission and has been operating successfully since 2009.