FAQs

Who can take part?

The programme is open to students, graduates, local residents and community-led organisations based in Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, South West, South Coast and South East of England. The programme is designed for people with ideas for change.

Industry professionals and entrepreneurs can join the programme as a mentor who volunteers to work with a group of one or more of the mentoring sessions. They will work with participants offering guidance and advice on creating new business models through to specialist challenge related knowledge.

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. The Develop Platform will provide you with all the tools, training and knowledge needed to help you set up a new business venture.

How do I register?

There is one registration form for participants which is open until 2 February 2022.

Mentors can sign up to join the programme using this registration form until 11 March 2022.

How many challenges can I register for?

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 Ingenuity Programme takes place from December 2021 to May 2022. To be eligible for pitching and prizes, you must have worked through at least 15 hours of the Develop Platform, including engaging with your relevant summit sessions, prior to the first submission deadline on 3 March 2022. This can be through attending the live online events, or catching up on keynote recordings on the Develop Platform.

If your business plan is shortlisted, you will be expected to submit a video pitch, and may be invited to attend the National Finals and Impact Evening.

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, and the Ingenuity Team will confirm the times and dates following the registration deadline on the 11 March. Please note, we will not allocate mentors more than three sessions. 

What is the Develop Platform?

The Develop Platform is a step-by-step resource hub which enables you to identify your solution and develop it from an idea to a business plan. Once you register for the programme you’ll receive a registration link to gain access to the resources.

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 Develop Platform to help you make a scalable business model.

Do you have to be part of a team, or can you 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 if I am applying with a team of up to four people?

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 the Equality and Diversity Act, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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

Yes, but the product must be at pre-trading stage or not yet generating revenue.

To be eligible for pitching and prizes, you must have worked through at least 15 hours of the Develop Platform and engaged with your summit and mentoring session. This can be through attending the live online events, or catching up on keynote recordings on the Develop Platform.

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 £50,000 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 you are a previous regional or national winner, you will be offered support through the alumni development programme, and therefore you cannot re-apply to the programme until a year after the alumni development programme has finished. 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.

Is there a limit to the number of participants who can enter from one university?

No, all events and activities will be online for the 2022 programme and there is no upper limit for participants.

Is there a limit to the number of participants who can enter from an organisation?

No, however you will need approval from your employer to take part in the Programme.

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. All activity for the 2022 programme is online.

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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