FAQs for 2023-24

Who can take part in the programme?

The programme is open to:

  • The Ingenuity Programme is open to all and supports students, graduates and community members across the UK to turn ideas for change into exciting new ventures. Now in its 8th year, the programme is designed to demystify entrepreneurship and support underserved and underrepresented groups to engage by adopting an agile and flexible approach to ensure it is inclusive, diverse and accessible.
  • The Ingenuity Programme is open to all, subject to the eligibility criteria as available on the website – https://ingenuityimpact.org/terms-and-conditions/

Can I take part even if I have no formal business qualifications?

Yes! The Ingenuity Programme is designed to be accessible for people with a range of experiences and professional/academic backgrounds. Our skills and training activity is designed for people with no/very little previous business experience. We provide you with a step-by-step process to develop your idea, build your business plan and prepare to launch your new venture.

How do I register?

Registration for Participants and Mentors takes place from mid-September until early January and the registration form is available via our website during this period. When the registration is closed, a ‘register your interest’ form will be available in its place, so we can contact you when the this reopens for the forthcoming Programme.

Participants can register to take part in one of our three challenges. There will be an option on your registration form to indicate which challenge you have chosen.

What level of commitment is expected?

The programme is designed to be accessible and inclusive to anyone with work, caring and/or study requirements.
The Ingenuity Programme takes place from October to June and is broken down into three sections

  • Develop your idea (October – December)
  • Build your business plan (January – April)
  • Prepare for launch (April – June)

Throughout the programme we will run learning and development sessions. Attendance to these is optional and all online sessions will be recorded for those unable to attend them live.
All participants will be invited to mentoring session during the programme.
We also have online Skills Hub which provides you with a step-by-step process to develop your idea and build your business plan. Participants typically spend a few hours a month working through the core resources and writing their business plan.
If you are shortlisted as a Finalist, there will be some additional pitch events that you will be expected to attend.

What level of commitment is expected for mentors?

We would like mentors to be part of at least one of the mentoring sessions, which is a 90-minute commitment. The registration form allows you to select the dates you are available for. Follow-up sessions with your team are to be organised between yourself and the team.

What is the Ingenuity Skills Hub?

The Ingenuity Skills Hub is an online platform which provides a step-by-step process to help you identify your solution and develop it from an idea to a business plan. Once you register for the programme you’ll be given login details to gain access to the resources.
All of our events are designed to complement the content available on the Ingenuity Skills Hub.

Should I focus on an idea for my UK region, or can our proposal be based abroad?

Your idea should address a key issue in your local area or region, with the ambition that it can be scaled up and implemented across the UK eventually. Your solution may impact on communities and environments outside of the UK but your primary focus should be the development of society and the environment within the UK. We will provide you with tools and support on the Skills Hub to help you make a scalable business model.

Do I have to be part of a team, or can I join as an individual?

You can apply either as an individual or take part as a team of up to four.
There will be opportunities during the Ingenuity events to meet other participants, discuss your idea with others and have some peer-to-peer support alongside the mentoring. You may also find fellow participants who love your idea and want to work with you to develop it. Similarly, you may meet someone and decide to develop a new idea with them.

How will you identify my team members when they apply?

All team members must complete the initial registration form. There is an option in the form to input your team name and members to help us identify every member. We ask your team members to do this so we can comply with our Privacy Notice.

Can I take part in Ingenuity if I already have a business idea?

Yes, but the product must typically be at pre-trading stage or not yet generating revenue.
To be eligible for prize funding, you must not have received any significant funding for your idea previously.
At the business plan and pitching stage of the programme, judges will only consider material provided through the official Ingenuity submission form. Any additional materials given to assessors or judges will be ignored.

Can I take part in Ingenuity if I have already been awarded investment or funding for my business idea?

Ingenuity provides first-time funding as investments and grants for early-stage business ideas. The programme is not open to businesses who have already received investment, assigned equity, or significant grants and awards previously. In short, we look at how much impact our funding could have. For example, if you have already raised £1million then a £10,000 loan or grant is unlikely to offer the impact we would like.
If you have already received grant funding or investment for your business idea and would like to check whether you are eligible to take part in the programme, contact ingenuity@nottingham.ac.uk. Enquiries will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Can I take part in Ingenuity if I have already participated in previous years?

Yes, but there are certain requirements. Ingenuity is for new early-stage business ideas, and so we try to offer the grant funding we have available each year to new ideas and not those who have already received funding from us. If your business has already received investment, or you have assigned equity, you would not be eligible as you are already in receipt of support. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the Ingenuity Team.

Does Ingenuity encourage individuals from all backgrounds to take part?

Yes, Ingenuity is committed to eliminating unjustified discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity and good relations across and between equality groups. We welcome registrations from all sections of the community and do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, disability, age, race/ethnicity, religion, philosophical belief or sexual orientation.

If I have a disability, will I still be able to take part in Ingenuity?

Yes, the programme is open to all individuals, including those with disabilities. If you have a disability, please let us know if there are any reasonable adjustments we can make to enable your participation. The 2023-24 programme will involve a mixture of online and in-person activities.

Is there an age limit?

There is no upper age limit for taking part in Ingenuity, however all participants must be over the age of 18 at the time of registering to take part.

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Telephone: +44 (0)115 846 6193 Email: ingenuity@nottingham.ac.uk

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