The Digital Enterprise Award, named iDEA, has been designed to encourage young people to set up and run their own business by helping them to build digital prototypes and test out their business idea.
The scheme will start with a pilot for 1,000 young entrepreneurs with a new digital business idea who will receive a share of £150,000 in seed funding. The 20 best ideas will also receive a £5,000 grant, mentor support and a business placement, before three are selected to receive the 2014 iDEA Award.
A study published to coincide with the scheme, commissioned by Nominet Trust, revealed that 64 per cent of 16 to 25 year olds believe that formal education doesn’t sufficiently support young people interested in entrepreneurship.
Another report by Unltd found that increasingly more young people are becoming interested in entrepreneurship as a career, with over half of those aged 16-25 questioned were keen to set up their own business with 14 per cent in the process of doing so, compared with 8 per cent a year ago.
“Digital technology has fundamentally changed the nature of entrepreneurship, opening up new opportunities for young people to create businesses,” remarked Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust.
“However, much of the support currently available to young entrepreneurs is desperately out of sync with their needs.
“From working with young people, it is clear that they are looking for small scale support that allows agile and iterative development, building and testing prototypes before going to market.”
The scheme is also supported by entrepreneurs such as the founder of Mind Candy Michael Acton Smith, Nick D’Aloisio, founder of Summly, as well as celebrities including singer Will.i.am and model Lily Cole.
Speaking about the scheme Acton-Smith said: “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.”