Tracy Brabin to unleash youth talent in fight against climate change with the first Mayor’s Innovation Prize

Competition aimed at young people aged 16 to 26 with ambitions to start or grow a businesses opens on 31 October with £10,000 prize pot as Mayor vows to put young people at heart of climate ambitions

7 October 2022

Young people across West Yorkshire are being invited to take part in a competition aimed at finding new ways to help the environment and achieve net zero, Mayor Tracy Brabin announced today.

The region's first-ever Innovation Prize was launched today (7 October) by the Mayor of West Yorkshire on a visit to Wakefield College where she discussed how innovation can help solve the climate crisis with students.

The prize is aimed at young entrepreneurs aged 16 to 26 who have ambitions to start or grow a businesses that will support the region's ambitions towards a low carbon future.

The Mayor’s Innovation Prize is looking for new and fresh ideas on how to improve the environment and the lives of communities across West Yorkshire and help meet our goal of becoming a Net Zero region by 2038.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“I am so proud of West Yorkshire’s young people who are concerned about the future and brimming with ideas about how we can take bold action.

“I want to harness this energy and bring forward a new generation of entrepreneurs and businesses that can tackle the big issues facing our society and world today.

“Our Innovation Prize will give our brilliant young people the opportunity to take action and help make some positive change to solve the climate crisis.”

The competition will also work with local schools, colleges, youth groups, environmental organisations, and community and voluntary groups across West Yorkshire.

In particular, the Mayor’s Innovation Prize is keen to find young people with untapped potential but who may be put off from starting their own businesses. 

Shortlisted entries will be invited to attend a series of bootcamp sessions across the region to help build business skills and further refine their ideas. The competition’s final round will take place in early Summer 2023.

In addition to a cash prize for the overall winner, those who make it to the final round will also receive a bespoke plan to help them continue the development of their idea. 

Finalists will also be supported by Innovate UK – the UK's national innovation agency with coaching and networking opportunities.

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK said:

“Our future depends on bright, young innovators that have access to all the resources they need to meet the challenges of Net Zero, Healthy Living and Agriculture, and Digital and Technologies.

“That’s why I am pleased to support Mayor Tracy Brabin’s Innovation Prize by giving the winners access to our growth and support services and national networks.

“Together with the Mayor, Innovate UK will help unlock the power of untapped innovation talent and grow the next generation of innovators in West Yorkshire.”

The first Mayoral Innovation Prize will act as a pilot for larger competitions in future years, aimed at stimulating innovation across West Yorkshire as part of the Mayor’s broader skills, business and climate ambitions.

Entries for the Mayor’s Innovation Prize open on 31 October. More details about how to enter and the open events will be announced later in the month.

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