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Innovative digital ideas are characterising our generation. We're in a time when friends can get together with a simple idea, and create something as universal & impressive as Facebook.

Young people today have grown up in the digital age, and are in a better position than ever before to take control of their future and drive Britain's economy forward. But despite the fact that 55% of young people want to set up their own business, in reality just 14% are doing something about it. Figures based on a 2013 Populus survey for UnLtd.

Introducing iDEA

HRH The Duke of York

Digital technology is various and exciting, and provides us with near limitless possibility. Really, this means that it's never been easier to take our big ideas, and turn them into reality. The digital space is filled with inspiration, but turning this into something real for the future is where it gets a little trickier.

That’s why HRH The Duke of York and Nominet Trust have created the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, IDEA, an award scheme for 14 - 25 year olds with a flair for all things digital and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Over the next five years, the scheme wants to support more than one million young people to pursue their own ideas, develop their digital skills and get to grips with the reality of business.

What's involved

iDEA has two key ambitions. Firstly, to increase digital skills among 14 - 25 year olds, and secondly to identify, support and inspire the next generation of digital entrepreneurs. These two objectives will be met through two distinct elements - the inspiring Digital Enterprise Award and industry endorsed skill badges.

The Award

Stage 1: Discovery

You will need to identify a problem, consider a product or service to solve the problem, and demonstrate your passion and ambition for a great digital business idea.

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Stage 2: Beta

The top ideas from the Discovery stage will be invited to further develop their business ideas – taking you from concept to experimental prototype.

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Stage 3: Live

The top 20 business ideas will be supported over a six week period with 1:1 mentoring support, access to a tech developer, regular webinars, face to face gatherings and a small financial grant to prepare their business for launch.

Finally, the best 10 business ideas will pitch to an expert panel with 3 winners receiving £15,000 grants and, more importantly, industry support to fully realise their business.

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Registration to take part in the 2014/2015 competition opens in October 2014.
If you would like to register your interest, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

Industry endorsed skill badges

From October 2014, you can take skill badges at any time via the iDEA website, regardless of whether you are taking part in the Award competition. These are open badges which are a new global standard to recognise skills and achievements across the web. 

Each badge will be based on gaining a specific digital or enterprise skill, and be endorsed by an industry-leader known for its expertise in the area. For example, the Mozilla badge is entitled Remix the web and will introduce you to the x-ray goggles tool to change the code of a webpage - a perfect first step for understanding how a webpage is put together. On successful completion you will be sent a digital badge, which you can then store and transfer to a digital CV or across your social network sites.

“It is an honour to join the Duke of York, Nominet Trust and fellow Steering Committee members to provide support and encouragement to young people across the UK. Today, digital skills incorporating computing, coding and marketing are a baseline requirement to succeed in almost every career path. Whether a young person aspires to be a fashion designer, a doctor, a solar engineer, or a musician, digital and entrepreneurial skills are essential to success.”  -

“iDEA is exactly the type of scheme that could have helped me as a teenager. I hope it can inspire and embolden a new generation of British tech entrepreneurs, and I am delighted to be supporting The Duke of York in it."
Michael Acton-Smith, founder of Mind Candy

"Through working on for the last few years, I have really come to recognise the value of digital entrepreneurship, and the possibilities that digital literacy could open up for both young people with big ideas, but also for the wider community through the effects of those ideas when realised. I've also seen how challenging the process of entrepreneurship can be, and so I recognise how valuable support systems are for fostering creativity in this space. I'm thereby very happy to support iDEA, which is seeking to encourage and develop young people who are interested in digital entrepreneurship." Lily Cole, model and entrepreneur

“You don’t have to look far to see how popular programming is becoming with young people around the world. Anyone with an Internet connection and a microprocessor can teach themselves the necessary skills and technique. But it’s not just learning how to code that matters. What young people need above all is the support and advice that can get them into the mindset of becoming an entrepreneur. That’s what doesn’t get widely taught. And it’s why The Duke of York’s iDEA scheme is so important: it is about not just how to do things but what you can do with them. It can inspire young people to fulfill their potential and create the businesses of the future.”

– Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summly

iDEA partners

We are working with great partners across the country who will help focus your business idea and give you the support you need to make it a reality. We're working in partnership with Digital Me to create the digital Open Badges that will recognise the achievements you gain through the iDEA Award.

During the pilot, the award will be delivered through one of the following organisations.

Young Reward StateStudio Schools TrustPrinces TrustFree FormerThe KeyHackney Community CollegeGazelle CollegesCoder Dojo
Get in touch with us to register your interest for the next iDEA programme starting October 2014.
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