Having now completed our sixth year, we are proud of the impact our programme has had on the underserved and under-represented groups that have taken part. This year’s cohort was our most diverse yet and the application of their lived experience has inspired all of us involved in the programme. From safe spaces for domestic abuse survivors, Alexa-linked support for families affected by dementia, access to green space for families, employment support for neurodiverse adults, to a social supermarket and app to make more sustainable lifestyle choices, we are proud to have supported such a wide variety of new start-ups this year. Despite the broad canvas of ideas, all teams were united in their unwavering commitment to create significant social and environmental impact through their work, and we are delighted to continue to play a role in their entrepreneurial journeys. In response to the British Business Bank’s 2020 Alone Together report, we are proud of the role we have played in diversifying the start-up landscape:
2022 saw us expand from 4 UK regions to 6, bringing in participants from Yorkshire & Humber and the South East to join our existing group across the East and West Midlands, South West and South Coast. Joining our longstanding partners Shakespeare Martineau, Santander Universities and Nottingham Forest Community Trust, 2022 also saw us welcome new corporate partners and supporters including Nuffield Health and Abri. All partners provided invaluable contributions to this year’s programme, and we look forward to continuing our collaborative relationships.
This year we were able to support over 260 changemakers, including 108 community participants, from six UK regions. Participants were tasked with identifying and developing business ideas that could help build stronger communities, improve health and tackle climate change. Alongside students and graduates from the University of Nottingham and Ingenuity’s network of 30+ university partners, the programme worked with local residents and unincorporated community groups to identify more sustainable ways of operating and delivering impact.
The programme began in December 2021 with our State of the Nation Summit, which featured keynotes from the UK’s most influential social enterprises, charities and public sector bodies. The week-long event was designed to highlight the biggest issues facing the UK and the role of civic entrepreneurship in driving change. With the support of HGI colleagues, participants were also given the opportunity to work through the Ingenuity Process to systematically contextualise their chosen challenges and begin identifying potential solutions.
The main programme of skills and training began in January 2022, with a 16-week course to help participants turn their initial ideas into viable, sustainable and profitable businesses. Our online Develop Platform provided a step-by-step process for participants to develop their idea and build a business plan. They also had opportunities to access bespoke advice and guidance, through our 1:1 mentoring sessions and series of drop-in sessions with industry and academic experts.
After three rounds of shortlisting, Ingenuity invited 18 teams to take part in the 2022 National Finals and pitch for their share of the £89,000 funding pot. They received further mentoring, and each delivered a 10-minute pitch to a panel of impact investors, Ingenuity partners and sector influencers. Ideas ranged from portable seat raisers (Mobiliaid Ltd) and wheelchair-accessible bicycle rental services (Bikeables) to services for domestic abuse survivors (Honour thy Woman) and non-violent resistance training for parents (NVR South).
The programme culminated in the National Ingenuity Showcase in June 2022. Part of the University of Nottingham’s Power of Partnership conference, the Ingenuity exhibition zone provided the Class of 2022 with the opportunity to showcase their products, services and programmes and network with prospective clients, partners, investors and supporters. Joined by keynote speakers Alex Peace-Gadsby OBE DL and Lord Victor Adebowale, teams were given a platform to present their idea and a ‘wishlist’ of support to those eager to support the next generation of changemakers.
The support we’ve been able to give this year’s cohort would not have been possible without the invaluable contributions from all the Ingenuity Programme’s partners and supporters. Thank you to all those involved in driving forward our mission of civic entrepreneurship.
Our next programme cycle begins in September 2023. If you or your organisation are interested in joining the Ingenuity ecosystem, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.