Young Innovators awards


  • The Young Innovators Next Steps Awards recognise trailblazing young entrepreneurs, accelerating their business growth to deliver even bigger impact
  • Almost £1m awarded – with each winner given £50,000 to grow and scale their business over the 12-month programme
  • Innovate UK is calling for the next generation of innovators to come forward and apply for their new Diverse Innovators Award

Today an Innovator from the North East has been awarded a further boost to their early-stage business by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, through the Young Innovators Next Steps Awards. In recognition of their success with their initial Young Innovators Award this aspiring entrepreneur has won fresh investment to support their future business plans.


Coinciding with the announcement, Innovate UK is launching its biggest and most ambitious programme to tackle underrepresentation in innovation to date, the Diverse Innovators Award. This brand-new programme builds upon the success of the Young Innovators awards. Backed by a £6m budget, it will allow Innovate UK to support even more young entrepreneurs, women founders and other communities who are underrepresented in innovation.


Since winning their first Innovate UK award, the winners have secured further funding from investors, launched products and expanded their teams. They’ve also been recognised with prestigious industry awards and have showcased their work to large audiences within their sectors. With a focus on helping young people take their innovations to the next level, the Young Innovators Next Steps Awards will see each winner receive an additional £50,000 to fuel their growth plans.


The winner from the North East is Ben White, from Sheffield, founded Sheffield Tribology Services to help tackle low friction on railways - a condition which costs the UK economy around £350 million. He is developed the first portable railhead friction-measuring device, known as a tribometer. The device allows railway lines to be inspected and cleaned efficiently, which will help to reduce delays, prevent damage and improve railway safety. Since winning the Young Innovators Award, Ben has gained additional grant funding and developed his prototype to be more reliable and cost effective.


Commenting on his Award and project, Ben says: “The Young Innovators support was fantastic. We went from an initial concept to a diverse and scalable business in just 12 months. The Next Steps Awards is a great opportunity to work with the same team again, with more funding behind us to carry out the trials and approvals required to launch the product. I’m excited to see where the next 12 months take us.”


The inspirational Next Steps award winners are motivated by a passion for making the world more sustainable and inclusive, while driving the UK’s economy with their innovative and ambitious business ideas.


Other winning ideas include a sustainable drinkware brand producing unique reusable bottles that can be dismantled for cleaning; an online platform that demystifies and streamlines the home buying process, and cutting-edge micro-turbines that allow the water industry to sustainably monitor pipelines.