Why did we do this?
We know that people across the UK have ideas that, with a bit of support, could be developed into fantastic products that would help improve people’s daily lives but in reality it’s not that easy. Coming up with an idea is only part of the journey. We want to support individuals, teams or companies that would likely struggle to otherwise access resources and support. The Inventor Prize seeks to:
- Support the development of selected products
- Build the capacity of prize participants (inventors)
- Champion and raise the profile of the lone or small scale inventor
Unlike other programmes, the Inventor Prize is athematic, open to products that relate to any issue as long as that product helps to make people’s lives better, thereby helping to tackle a social issue affecting the UK. To be eligible, entrants had to have a working model and be able to show their invention would help to tackle an important social challenge.
From over 180 applications, an expert panel of judges announced our 10 finalists who all received a £5,000 grant towards their prototype development, business planning and user testing. They were also given non-financial support by Barclays Eagle Labs. After working hard on developing their product, the grantees pitched for the final prize in front of our judges at the beginning of September, with the winner taking £50, 000 for business and product support. Two runner up prizes of £5,000 and £15,000 were also given for other promising products.
The Inventor Prize was been launched as part of the government’s industrial strategy, and some of the key pillars of this strategy centre around backing local innovation, supporting businesses to start and grow, and creating the right conditions so that these new businesses can access the finance and management skills they need. Part of the Challenge Prize Centre, this prize has been funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which brings together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, energy, and climate change.