Guide to winning Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Competition

Are you a bold young innovator searching for funding?


Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Awards competition is aimed at younger people aged 18-30. UK-based residents can apply for an award to make their business concept a reality, which consists of a grant for £5000, a living allowance, and tailored business support.

As a young innovators, this might also be the first time you have considered applying for a grant in competition. Through this blog, we will grant some pointers and hints on how to maximise the likelihood of success.


Step 1 – Innovation Funding Service Registration


Firstly, before you can apply to the competition, you will need to register with the Innovation Funding Service Portal, which is the platform used through Innovate UK to allow applicants to apply for innovation competitions launched throughout the year by Innovate UK, such as Smart Grants.


Once registered, you’ll want to navigate to Innovate UK’s competition page, locate the Young Innovators Awards competition and click on ‘Start new application’.


Step two – Portal Familiarisation


At this point, familiarise your self with the software portal, in particular the formats required for responses. The application portal is very strict in phrases of how you furnish your response, for example, there are word count restrictions and you are unable to include photographs inside your answers.


Step three – Draft proposal


The application involves of a range of sections, with Innovate UK helpfully offering instruction on what is required in the response for every question. You need to make certain that your responses cover these requirements.


Project Details- This area covers factors such as the application team, application details, and the equality, diversity, and inclusion survey.


Crucially, this part additionally consists of the project summary, allowing up to one hundred fifty words that provide the assessors a beneficial introduction to the project. This is the first chance you have as an applicant to articulate and persuade assessors of your game-changing innovation, so make it impactful.


Questions 1 to 13– Collate fundamental facts about the applicant such as your age and your right to work in the UK. The majority of these questions are tick boxes and must be relatively effortless for applicants to complete.


Questions 14 to 17– Explain your innovation’s value proposition, impact, game plan, and risks. Your responses to these questions will be assessed and will decide the result of your application. therefore, you have to pay attention the majority of your proposal development time on producing these responses.


When responding, attempt to:


  • Use headings to assist assessors navigate your response
  • When using acronyms, use the longer title or section the first time that the acronym is used
  • Back up any claims you make with referenced proof e.g. the Harvard referencing style
  • Avoid weblinks to exterior sources as assessors are no longer allowed to access these
  • Ask colleagues, friends, and family to evaluate your responses- a fresh pair of eyes can assist to test that your response is clear and become aware of any apparent errors such as spelling or grammar errors


Question 17 (Risks)– is the only response that approves applicants to optionally provide a 2-page appendix. Whilst the appendix is a separate document containing supplementary material and is considered ‘optional’ by Innovate UK, in reality, you must provide a comprehensive risk register in the appendix or you will be scored down by the assessors.


Step four – Create a video


Question 18 (Video) – You need to develop a video that covers the eleven bullet points requested by Innovate UK.


This is your chance to promote your self with the aid of sharing your passion and bringing your innovation to life. It is also the only opportunity to share pictures and graphics of your proposed innovation, giving assessors greater confidence in the work you have achieved so far.


Please keep in mind that assessors will only watch the first three minutes of your video.


Step 5 – Detail task costs


Finances – This follows Innovate UK’s standard layout with many unique cost categories, however for this competition the guidance states ‘you need to only enter £5,000 under labour costs’.


Step 6 – Accept T&Cs


Innovate UK Terms and conditions – The applicant should read and accept Innovate UK’s T&Cs.

Step 7 – Submit your application


Once you have finished your application, you need to press the ‘Review and submit’ button to make sure it is submitted.


Step eight – Fingers crossed !


Once submitted, applications will be assessed with the aid of a panel of assessors primarily based on the information you provided, with applicants notified of the result by means of e mail and with the aid of the application portal.


In the unfortunate event that your application is unsuccessful, Innovate UK helpfully presents comments for questions 14 to 17, allowing you to understand their areas of concern. Using this information, you can refine your proposal and resubmit it in the subsequent round of the competition.


Reach Out


If you have a disruptive enterprising project or innovation, why not contact us? A brief chat with one of our innovation consultants will help you determine whether grant funding could get your project off the ground.


Why use grant funding experts?


Although there are many benefits to seeking grant funding, the thought of applying can be confusing, time-consuming and stressful. Using the creative and technical skills of a professional Innovation grant writing consultancy will strengthen your business in translating technologies and business models into a language and format assessors understand; increasing the chance of success. If you have a disruptive ambitious project or innovation, why not contact Capti Innovation.