About the Inventor Prize

The Inventor Prize is a pilot, run by Nesta and funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The prize aims to help smaller investors overcome the barriers they face. The prize helps to support individuals, teams or companies that would likely struggle to otherwise access resources and support.

Unlike other programmes, the Inventor Prize will be athematic, open to products that relate to any issue as long as that product helps to make people’s lives better, thereby helping to tackle a social issue affective the UK.


  • People in the UK – The judging board is looking for entries from individual investors, small teams and small companies based or residing in the UK
  • New ideas for products – A physical or digital product that is new and not currently on the market or available commercially. To be eligible, entrants will have to have a working model of their product that demonstrated what the product is able to do
  • Co-creation – It is important that the development of the idea is co-created with its intended users during the prize
  • Skills – Entrants must ensure that they have the capacity, or can have a realistic plan for how to develop or acquire the capacity, they need to develop their product during the prize.
  • Willingness to share the idea – Entrants must be the creator of the product they are entering or have permission to enter it as a representative of the small business or group who created the product
  • Prize funding – Prize funding will only be awarded for projects that have an   identifiable public benefit.
  • Politics –  The prize cannot fund activity which is party-political in intention, use or presentation nor to support or promote religious activity.

The Inventor Prize will support 10 finalists with great products to scale and grow, and help them in their journey to getting their product to market.

Judging Criteria:

  • Criterion One: Innovation – The product should be new, adapted or repurposed in a more effective way for its intended use.
  • Criterion Two: Insight and Impact – The entrant should demonstrate a real understanding of how their product could help make the lives of people in the UK better. Explaining what the need is and how the product addresses that need.
  • Criterion Three: Quality and Safety – Entrants should demonstrate an understanding of the relevant safety standards and regulations and how their product will seek to meet them, as well as being of high quality and attractive to users.
  • Criterion Four: Market Potential & Feasibility – Entrants should consider who would buy their product and how much it will cost them to buy it. Entrants should ensure that their product is accessible and affordable to the potential users. Demonstrating and understanding of their target audience and ways to ensure successful commercialisation and the growth of their product

The prize will seek to:

  • support the development of selected prizes
  • Build the capacity of prize participants
  • Champion and raise the profile of the lone or small scale investor

£50,000 will be awarded to the finalist that best demonstrated meeting the judging criteria. There will be two runner up prizes of £5,000 and £15,000 for the two most promising products.