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The Ingenuity Programme is designed to create impact through enterprise in communities across the UK.

We are looking for the most viable and innovative business ideas that will transform how and where we live. Ingenuity is looking to support:

Future Founders – students, alumni, researchers and staff from our University Partners, as well as those living within our four Ingenuity Regions, who are interested in creating investment-ready start-ups that produce sustainable impact across the UK. 

Regional Pioneers – those within existing organisations looking to use their volunteering hours to help create, implement, and support new impact driven enterprise.

About the Programme

Regional and national events will offer you the chance to work in partnership with diverse groups of like-minded individuals. Ingenuity will take place in the East Midlands, West Midlands, the West of England and across the South Coast. At these events you will:

  • Gain a national and regional understanding of key social and environmental issues.
  • Be inspired by insights from leading think tanks, charities and impact innovators.
  • Learn from experts in industry, universities, government, and the wider community.
  • Transform your solution into a sustainable start-up idea.
  • Develop a business plan and submit it for expert assessment and feedback.
  • Pitch to industry specialists at regional and national finals.
  • Compete for significant investment and support.


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Take part in a Challenge Summit, work with like-minded people and get expert feedback on your ideas. Our online workshops will explore the Ingenuity Challenges from a regional and national perspective.

Understand the Challenges

Presentations by regional experts will offer context and help participants understand the priorities.

Develop your ideas

You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other Future Founders and Regional Pioneers, as well as Mentors to explore your ideas.


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Access Tutorials on our Develop Platform – an online learning platform with inspiration from leading social innovators and support from industry and academic experts to evolve your business idea. The tutorials will help you build a robust and tested business plan.

Gain insights

Exclusive interviews with leaders from charities, NGOs, impact entrepreneurs, investors and corporate social responsibility specialists.

Access tutorials

Videos featuring industry professionals and academics. Topics covered will include design thinking, business planning, market analysis, sales strategy, financial planning, Intellectual Property rights, legal structures and much more.


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Formalise your ideas and experiences into your submission to the competitive stages of Ingenuity to be in with a chance of winning significant investment.

Create and submit your business plan

Use the Develop Platform resources, along with the knowledge and partnerships gained from the Summits.

Pitch your idea

Submissions will be assessed by industry experts and the most scalable and impactful ideas from each region will be invited to attend the Regional Finals.


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Work through your business model with mentors and investors, before pitching at the National Finals.

Collaborate with investors

National Finalists will work with prospective investors and senior industry figures to fine tune their propositions.

Become a Challenge Champion

The culmination of the programme is the Ingenuity Impact Evening, where a significant investment will be awarded to the Regional and National Finalists.
Key dates

14 September 2020

Applications open! Sign up via the website, and work through Insights on the Develop Platform to create and submit your application.

28 February 2021

Application deadline for Future Founders and Regional Pioneers. If you want to take part in the Ingenuity Programme as a Founder or Pioneer, make sure you’ve signed up and completed the first stage of the Develop Platform by this date.

8 March 2021

Application deadline for Mentors. If you want to take part in the Ingenuity Programme as a Mentor, make sure you’ve signed up by this date.

March 2021

Challenge Summits. These online events are a chance for you to gain deeper insights into the key issues facing your area  to help you find a business solution.

Mentoring Sessions. These online events are a chance for you to work with expert mentors to test, validate and evolve your business solution.

23 April 2021

Business Plan submission deadline. All plans will be assessed by industry experts, and shortlisted teams will be taken through to the final 16 in your region.

24 – 27 May 2021

National Finals and the Ingenuity Impact Evening  – where significant investment will be available!

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© Ingenuity 2020. All rights reserved. Website developed by Seismik.
University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham NG7 2TU. Tel: +44 (0)115 846 6193 Email: ingenuity@nottingham.ac.uk