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Young Innovators Challenge FAQs

We have a series of downloadable YIC2015 FAQs covering essential information for students, educators in colleges and universities and employers with employees who are undertaking a modern apprenticeship. (Click any of the links below to download).


FAQs for Students

What is social innovation?

Social innovation integrates the skills and practice of enterprising thinking and behaviour with creative and innovative processes tackling difficult ‘messy’ problems. Successful social innovation can start at family and very local levels all the way to significant changes and developments in national and international arenas. Social innovation encourages cross-disciplinary, team working and working across or breaking traditional sectors and boundaries. (For more signposts to social innovation and ideas that have changed lives through this exciting global phenomenon see our YIC2015 inspiration page).
What is the Young Innovators Challenge 2015?

The Young Innovator Challenge is a competition designed to encourage students studying in Scotland to practice social innovation with their own ideas. The outcomes could deliver potential solutions which will make a difference to individuals, communities, the environment and economy of Scotland.

Students are asked to submit their social innovation idea which tackles problems or opportunities in one of three areas – healthcare and wellbeing, green and sustainable energy resources or smarter communities and infrastructure. The innovations must identify the social value and impacts they intend to achieve.

Students are invited to take the challenge and be a part of the competition. The ideas can be worked on by individuals or by teams of students in collaboration. Up to 30 students may win up to £2000 to take their social innovation ideas further. During Summer 2015, the winners will be supported via a range of activities to develop the ideas to potential before pitching to judges in August for the chance to win up to an additional £5000.
Does my idea have to be for one of the three challenge areas?

Yes. Although successful social innovations can often have positive impact on a number of areas, they need to be relevant to one of the three areas.


Does the idea have to relate to Scotland?

Yes, we want you to think about issues that affect people in Scotland. The competition categories, however, encompass major global themes, so although your idea may initially apply to Scotland, we would encourage you to think big.


Who can enter?

  • Entrants must be 18 years old or over on 08 April, 2015
  • Entrants must be undergraduate or postgraduate students at a Scottish University or College or be in full time training in Scotland (e.g. Modern Apprentice).

Individual or joint/team entries will be accepted . All members of the team must be eligible and, should the entry be selected to move forward to the next stage, teams will be offered up to 3 places at workshops and up to 3x the individual cash prize (Evidence may be required that each team member made a contribution to the idea).


What are the stages of the competition?

There are three stages to the competition.

In stage 1, up to 150 shortlisted entries will win £100 and be invited to a residential workshop weekend in April 25 – 26. Entries to round 1 can be submitted online from 02 February 2015 until 08 April 2015.

Submitted ideas will be evaluated by an Internal Panel of representatives of SIE and an external representative. This panel will select up to 150 entrants (individuals or team members) to progress to stage 2 of the Challenge. These entrants will each be awarded cash prize of £100 and invited attend a weekend residential workshop.

After the residential weekend, the 150 shortlisted entrants will be invited to submit a short video and resubmit their on-line form for the chance to win one of 30 individual or team member prizes of up to £2000 each and a place on an exclusive residential Innovation Bootcamp.

An external panel of Judges will assess the video and written (on-line) application, and will select up to 30 winners.

After the summer, the final stage will see the 30 winners pitching to judges for a chance to win up to an additional £5000 on 24 August.

The activities will culminate in an exciting showcase event on 27 August 2015.
Who will see my entry?

Your application will be kept confidential by SIE. It will not be used for purposes other than the Competition, without the prior written approval of the Entrant. Only a limited number of persons involved in the organisation of the competition, including the judging panels, will have access to the entries.


How can I protect my idea?

The ownership and protection of an idea can be very complicated. SIE can provide you with guidance on how to protect your idea and how to ensure that you are not infringing the rights of others, such as employers. You may find this guidance from Business Gateway useful.

If you have any specific concerns, please contact and we will arrange for someone to advise you.


If I win, are there any conditions on how I would use the money?

We want the winners to develop their idea over the summer, and the money and the workshops are intended to help you do that. The prize is a cash prize; you will not be asked to return it and you do not have to spend it on your idea. It could mean, for instance, that you do not need to get a summer job and are able to work on your idea instead. We would not, however, expect you to give up any work experience that you may already have organised.
What if I want to enter as part of a team?

We welcome teams as part of the challenge . The maximum amount that can be won by teams in stage 2 is £6000. In addition, a maximum of three team members per team will be able to attend the summer workshops for the competition finalists. This is to make sure that we can support as many ideas as possible
Why should I take part?

This is an exceptional opportunity for you to make a difference; blending your knowledge, skills and values to design and innovate solutions to previously seemingly difficult to solve problems. Throughout the competition and particularly in the latter stages there will be considerable opportunities to learn new approaches and perspectives on how to use knowledge gained from studies whilst also attracting new useful skills. Those selected to work in the final stage may realise personal aspirations creating solutions whilst working on issues that excite passion and excitement.

Successful innovators will be encouraged to contribute to developmental and networking events. There is the potential to learn new skills, meet important players in the social economy as well as win individual funding for the development of your idea. You don’t need to achieve a fully working social innovation by the end of the competition but your ideas will be assessed by people who are looking for and may invest in successful innovations and scalable solutions. Yes it’s about attracting some personal funding but it’s much more about making a real difference. You won’t be asked to give any money back. You should take part because it will develop your idea into innovation potential as well as developing your own potential.
What will I get if my idea does not get taken all the way in the competition?

Being an applicant will require you to demonstrate a wide range of skills and attributes all of them important for your future success as either an employee in an organisation or a sustainable entrepreneur. You will be able to practice creativity, innovation, problem finding and solving, team working, communications and networking skills. Getting your idea into a format for judging in the competition will help you develop presentation and abilities to demonstrate you think innovatively and across diverse perspectives. These are all skills and knowledge you need to make the most from your studies and in preparation for using your knowledge and skills after college or university. You may also start a personal process of discovery using your ideas and passion to change and improve others’ life chances in the future that you will be part of.


How do I take part?

Entry is online at from 02 February 2015. You don’t need to fully complete your entry in one sitting as you will set a password that allows you to save and return to your entry later. However your entry must be fully completed by 5pm on 08 April 2015.


  • Sign up to receive priority updates about the Young Innovators Challenge 2015
  • Visit our YIC2015 Inspiration page for more information on social innovation and the challenge areas.

You can also follow the competition on:

  • Twitter: @YIchallenge
  • Facebook:



Competition dates

02 Feb              YIC2015 opens for entries

08 Apr                Closing date for entries

25 – 26 Apr        YIC2015 Start-up Weekend

08 May               Closing date for videos and any updated online submissions

14 May               Judging by independent panel, identifying the 30 winners

16 – 18 Jun        3 day residential YIC Bootcamp 2015 for 30 winners

08 Jul, 01 Aug   2 half-day workshops to support idea development

24 Aug              Pitching to judges for the chance to win up to an additional £5000

27 Aug              Winners’ showcase and networking event with invited guests.