Minister meets Young Innovators

Minister George Freeman meeting Innovate UK’s Young Innovators at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

During British Science Week, Minister George Freeman met Innovate UK’s Young Innovators to find out how they are turning STEM ideas into innovative businesses.

To celebrate British Science Week, the Science Minister hosted a roundtable discussion with a diverse range of Innovate UK Young Innovator winners at the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Video credit: Innovate UK
Video transcript and on-screen captions are available by watching on YouTube.

Funding and support

They discussed how Innovate UK’s Young Innovator Award provides vital funding and support to help young innovators turn their science and technology ideas into innovative businesses.

Sam Graham, founder of Revolv said:

The Innovate UK Young Innovators Award has really helped me to develop my business by providing me with a full wrap-around support package.

It’s not only the grant funding and living allowance that enables me to test and play with different ideas, but also access to great marketing, technical and commercial networks and vital business support and mentoring.

I work closely with a dedicated innovation champion who provides me with strategic business advice and acts as a really helpful sounding board for my ideas and plans.

Sam has a passion for cycling, trekking, nature and the outdoors and uses smartphone apps to plan and track journeys but grew frustrated by the drain to his battery. The Young Innovator’s Award is helping him to grow his business Revolv, which is developing a sustainable energy harvesting device that harnesses wheel motion to charge devices on the go.

Encouraging STEM mindsets

Megan Hale explained how she founded her business Team Repair to solve two of Britain’s biggest pressing challenges: the lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and the electronic waste crisis.

Team Repair is the first sustainable subscription service that teaches children science and how to repair technologies. Every month, children are sent an electronic gadget with carefully planned faults, and given the tools and guidance to fix them.

Megan said:

Team Repair is on a mission to teach everyone to fix. We want to instil a repairing mindset in the next generation by empowering children to explore the inner workings of real technology to solve the electronic waste problem of today.

With help from the Young Innovator Award, I will continue to grow my business to inspire more young people into science and innovation careers, encouraging people to live sustainably.

Learning STEM through play

Sara Berkai explained how she had founded her business Ambessa Play through her vision to support children around the world to learn STEM subjects through play.

Sara said:

We create STEM toy kits and innovative workshops with the aim to encourage children globally to build. For every kit or workshop purchased, we ensure a displaced child receives one for free.

With help from Innovate UK’s Young Innovator Award, we have now successfully launched our product and will test the kits in various classrooms across the UK.

Sara also went on to win this year’s Women in Innovation Award, to further develop her business.

Diversity of thinking

Minister George Freeman meeting Innovate UK’s Young Innovators at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Minister meeting Innovate UK’s Young Innovators.
Credit: UK Research and Innovation

The Minister and Young Innovators discussed the importance of bringing together a diverse set of minds, talent and expertise to help solve the big societal challenges of today.

Minister George Freeman said:

Innovation is about developing new and better ways of doing things – something young minds do naturally.

Our record 50% funding increase for Innovate UK to drive our Innovation Nation mission is about investing in our R&D economy in all parts of the UK to help create exciting new career opportunities for a new generation to invent, invest & develop the innovations the world urgently needs.

Helping, inspiring and supporting these excellent young innovators is the best investment – for our planet and our economy – there is.

Further information

About Young Innovators

As part of UK Research and Innovation, Innovate UK wants to give inspiring young entrepreneurs the opportunity to take their business idea to the next level through its Young Innovators programme.

The programme aims to help build a more inclusive, accessible business landscape, while ensuring that every part of the country can power our collective success.

It encourages and enables entrepreneurship and innovation among more young people and brings new diverse ideas, passion and expertise into the innovation ecosystem.

Find out more about Young Innovators.

Top image:  Minister George Freeman meeting Innovate UK’s Young Innovators at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. Credit: UK Research and Innovation

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