What are we doing?
Following on from the success of three previous iterations of the prize, which kicked off in 2014, the Prize is returning for 2020/21. The Prize, which is based around a different STEM theme each time, aims to demystify innovation and entrepreneurship, while encouraging young people to be the driving force in the future of tech for good. This year, schools and youth groups across the UK will be invited and supported to apply and participate in the programme with an interactive online delivery, consisting of a fantastic array of webinar sessions, downloadable resources and guides and the opportunity to transform their idea into a reality over the academic year with access to mentors, hardware and software - and a chance to win up to £20,000 for their schools or youth groups, plus individual prizes.
Why are we doing this?
Fostering entrepreneurial spirit among young people will be vital in order to successfully solve some of the greatest challenges of today, as well as supporting a new generation to gain the skills needed for their future work. Across the UK, schemes that focus on providing young people with the opportunity to participate in innovation and invention are currently only reaching 1.5% of the total pupil population. In an innovation landscape that already struggles with diversity and representation, this increases the risk of missing out on vital progress and positive societal change. Women are outnumbered by men by 4:1 as founders of innovation start-ups. Only 7% of UK patent applications are made by women, and just 4% of the UK tech workforce identifies as BAME.
Giving young people access to innovation and entrepreneurship schemes early on is a key driver to close these gaps and the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize aims to do just that by focusing on reaching young people from diverse backgrounds, bridging the gap between young people and innovation.
Entry period (2nd of November 2020 - 12h February 2021)
Running across the academic year, the Prize challenges young people to come up with ideas for a product or service that will help tackle the issues they care most about. As the leaders of tomorrow and the next generation of innovators, we know young people are using their creativity, drive and innovative thinking to tackle the challenges faced by millions across the world, which is why this year we are appealing to 11- to 16-year-olds across the UK to answer this call to action:
How can you use technology to create an app, product or service that will make the world a better place, enabling people to live better, live longer, live greener and live together?
Finalist stage (April - June 2021)
Forty finalist teams will be shortlisted by an expert judging panel and then supported to develop their ideas into reality, through provision of hardware and being matched with expert mentors to help them develop their business case and prototype. Finalists will also be invited to an exclusive business school experience (either online or in person depending on the public health conditions in May 2021), where they will have the chance to explore essential business topics.
Awards & Prizes (July 2021)
The Prize will end with finalist teams pitching to an expert panel of judges in July 2021. Here, finalist teams will have the chance to develop a professional pitch with the help of their mentor, and demonstrate the progress they have made in turning their idea into a reality.
The winners will be awarded £20,000 for their school or youth group and connections to further develop their ideas. There will be three runners up prizes of £5,000 each and a people's choice award of £5,000. Please note: that prizes will be provided in the form of grants that will be entered into between the winning school/youth group and Nesta.