Young Innovators Challenge

The Young Innovators Challenge returns with a new focus on social innovation. This is a great opportunity to develop ideas and new ways of tackling real issues that can make a difference in Scotland and beyond.

The 21st century has brought with it a number of challenges and opportunities for Scotland. Healthcare issues such as obesity and dementia are a growing threat, which need addressed as a nation. There are also opportunities to develop new and cleaner sources of power for our country, make our cities more sustainable, and improve our communities with the latest technological developments. The solutions to the challenges we face are out there and just need that spark of ingenuity to bring them together!

Social innovation is an emerging global phenomenon that brings together enterprising and entrepreneurial thinking with creative innovative skills to deliver solutions with a social impact. Done well, it changes people's lives and communities for the better.

The Young Innovators Challenge 2014 invites Scotland's students to submit ideas which address problems or opportunities related to one of three areas that already exhibit opportunities for social innovation:

  • Healthcare and wellbeing
  • Green and sustainable energy resources
  • Smarter communities and infrastructure

Twenty-five successful entrants could receive up to £2500 to work on their innovations throughout summer 2014 and take it from an idea to a potential solution!

Entries can be submitted online from January 23rd until March 26th 2014.  Individual and team entries will be accepted. Up to 150 entrants will be invited to a special social innovation development weekend event in April. Here they will develop their ideas into potential social innovations with appropriate mentors. Final competition judging takes place in May.

The best ideas will then be supported through a summer of residential and workshop events. There will be opportunities to meet and be challenged by leaders in social innovation, get great opportunities to network with other innovators and potentially work in social innovation focused ventures.

This is your chance to make a difference to your communities, your environment and the future of Scotland!

Are you up to the challenge?


The Young Innovators Challenge closed for entries on March 26th. The competition received a large number of entries from across Scotland and SIE would like to thank the YIC Champions in Scotland's institutions and other supporters for encouraging entries from Scotland's students.

Stage 1 winners attended the residential Innovation Weekend on April 12-13th at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh. They received their £100 prize and had the opportunity to meet John Bird MBE, founder of The Big Issue, who gave help and advice on their entries.

Innovation Weekend group

The finalists will now go on to produce a video pitch for the judges. This must be completed by midnight on April 25th. Judging will take place early in May! Finalists can download guidance on creating their video here, and watch video tips from Borja Alcalde (WavLab), which was originally presented at the Innovation Weekend.


To be kept up to date with the Young Innovators Challenge, you can still join the YIC2014 priority mailing list. You can also follow the latest updates on Facebook and Twitter.