Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has announced the winners of this year’s Young Innovators’ Awards as the next generation help the UK with the race to net zero.
The Young Innovators Awards recognise young people from every region and nation of the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation.
Innovate UK KTN supports the programme through the delivery of workshops and briefing events that provide practical business advice to a network of over 8,000 young people across the UK.
The innovation potential of this young age group is incredible.
Hundreds of these aspiring entrepreneurs then apply to the programme and, following a robust evaluation process, 63 innovators have started the New Year with a boost after winning the coveted award.
The inspiring young people will each benefit from a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs. Nearly half of this year’s 63 winners, young people aged 18 to 30 with ideas to change the world, were inspired by the environmental crisis.
These 25 young innovators have ideas to tackle some of our major sustainability challenges, these include:
Eva Gilder-Hodgson from Bristol, founder of The Bristol Plastic Factory, which is turning bottle tops into furniture and homeware products
Thomas Constant (27 years old), from West London in White City, who has created insect growing pods for people’s homes, that recycle food waste and convert it into affordable and sustainable pet food and plant fertiliser.
Albie Baker-Smith, from South West England, who has created CarbonRoots, an online platform which uses software to help people and businesses identify spare pieces of land – ‘hedges and edges’ – which aren’t being used where they can plant trees, to help reverse climate change and offset their carbon footprint.
Antonia Gillett (28 years old), from Woodchester, Stroud, whose company Felsie, is turning surplus salmon skins into fish leather for bags and wallets.
Joanne Power (23 years old), from Mitcham, co-founder of Lylo Products, who was inspired by the world’s shrinking reserves of water to create a washing machine that uses filtered shower water to help reduce water usage in the home.
Chantelle Edwards (31 years old), from West London, who is creating a more diverse line of recyclable and biodegradable maternity bras and lingerie products that compliment a variety of skin tones, sizes, and curves.
Jack Peden (24 years old), from Newton near Cambridge, whose business, Druid Technology, is creating wearable devices that charge themselves by harvesting your body heat.
Emulating the pioneering spirit of one of her design idols, Sir James Dyson, winner Joanna Power of Lylo Products, said: “England is set to run short of water within 25 years. We must examine our current use of water more strategically.
“Our washing machine does just that, its removable water tank is placed on the shower floor during showering, then returned to its base for use in the laundry process! I applied for the Young Innovators programme to inspire other young female designers and engineers.”
Our young innovators are also relatable role models, inspiring and showing the path to others, as they create economic and societal benefits through innovation – so that we can all see a fairer, more resilient and more productive society
Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “The innovation potential of this young age group is incredible. It’s a cohort that promises to bring energy, entrepreneurial flair and fresh perspectives to today’s big challenges.
“Our young innovators are also relatable role models, inspiring and showing the path to others, as they create economic and societal benefits through innovation – so that we can all see a fairer, more resilient and more productive society”.
Innovate UK sets out to drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas, including those from the UK’s world-class research base.
It connects businesses to the partners, customers and investors that can help them turn these ideas into commercially successful products and services, and business growth.