Michael Acton Smith and Nick D’Aloisio throw support behind Digital Enterprise Award for young entrepreneurs
(L-R) will.i.am, HRH The Duke of York and Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust
There certainly seems to have been an explosion in the number of innovation awards of late. However, the latest of these has piqued our interest more than most. iDEA, the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, is the brainchild of The Duke of York and Nominet Trust, the UK social tech charity. Its very worthy aim is to help young people gain the digital and entrepreneurial skills they need to set up and run their own venture.
The launch of iDEA coincided with the release of a YouGov survey of 1,000 16-25 year olds. Two thirds of those interviewed felt that formal education did not provide sufficient support for those interested in entrepreneurship. Another report by Unltd, the social enterprise charity, suggested that more and more people of the same age group were interested in entrepreneurship, with over half (55%) declaring that they want to set up their own business and another 14% saying they were already the in process of doing so.
Backed by the likes of Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summly, and Tech City meister and founder of Mind Candy, Michael Acton Smith, there’s surely no better time to launch a programme that aims to help those looking to go down the entrepreneurial route and realise their potential.
“iDEA is exactly the type of scheme that could have helped me as a teenager,” said Smith. “I hope it can inspire and embolden a new generation of British tech entrepreneurs.”
The programme will start with a pilot whereby 1,000 young entrepreneurs with a new digital business idea will be mentored and developed. The top 20 ideas will be awarded with a £5,000 grant and a business placement with three finalists selected to receive the 2014 iDEA Award, which will come with £15,000 of seed funding.
Several learning organisations including The Prince’s Trust, Hackney Community College, Gazelle Colleges and The Studio Schools Trust have also signed up to help make the scheme a success.
“Digital technology has fundamentally changed the nature of entrepreneurship, opening up new opportunities for young people to create businesses,” said Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust. “From working with young people, it is clear that they are looking for small scale support that allows agile and iterative development, building and testing prototypes before going to market.”