Using innovation to change lives and improve communities

Entrepreneurs will be helping to find solutions to some of society’s biggest problems at this year’s Ingenuity19 - the UK’s largest innovation competition.

Ingenuity is the University of Nottingham’s annual innovation competition designed to discover and support a generation of social and commercial innovators in the UK and beyond.

This year participants are being asked to explore the key challenges facing our society today, and to come up with sustainable solutions to help tackle them. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 25 April.

Ingenuity is the brainchild of Ingenuity Event Director Steve Chapman and is now in its fourth year. The event, which is supported by Experian, is an annual talent search for future leaders and innovators and feeds into

This is the first year that the competition has been open to the public, and participants will include everyone from the student community, to Nottingham’s biggest businesses as well as those from the public and third sectors. There will also be students and staff attending from the universities Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham Trent, Warwick and Derby.

The competition is split into three stages and will see the University of Nottingham collaborate with Nottingham city, establish its civic agenda and invest in its ability to work with Nottingham businesses and communities to transform the future of the city. Successful entrants will be able to pitch their ideas in front of social and commercial investors from the UK, and be in with a chance of winning 150k worth of prizes.

This year’s competition is focused round two major events, the Future Communities Summit on the 16 February and the Future Technology Summit on the 23 February.

Micha Bradshaw, 27, is from Nottingham and is just one of many entrepreneurs who will be pitching her idea at the Future Communities Summit.

Micha said: “I’m developing an app for mental health support. My ideas are based around deprivation and inclusion to make information more accessible across our communities.

“I have suffered with mental health myself, as have members of my family, so I want to use this experience to help others. I found there was a lot of advice and guidance around medication and referral, and whilst that’s very important, it’s not just about that. Education, awareness, social prescribing and self-care have huge part to play in mental health journey and personally these things have helped me a lot.”

Micha considered how she could better communicate with people and the easiest way for people to access information in one place. She is in discussions with organisations and support groups so ideas come from those who have direct experience.

“That’s when I realised that people are never off of their mobile phones, even health care staff have access to them now," said Micha. “I don’t want it to be about what we are not doing, we all know where we are going wrong. I want it to be about how collectively we as a city can move forward. I spent a long time not having a voice, I hope the development of the app gives voice to change that the people of our city want to see, from all walks of life and will hopefully, in turn, save lives.”

The Future Communities Summit will feature high profile speakers including Marcellus Baz BEM, and will look at how participants can support greater economic activity and opportunity in low-income communities in Nottingham and how innovative enterprises can help to achieve this. There will be first-hand testimonies from members of the community on their experience of poverty in the city, as well as working with community leaders to look at examples of sustainable community enterprises.

The Future Technology Summit will look at how technology can support interaction in society. Participants will be helped to create scalable, global solutions to make Nottingham a thriving ‘tech city’. There will be a series of high profile key note speakers, including representatives from Google, Experian and Innovate UK.

Steve Chapman, Head of the University’s Ingenuity Lab, said: “Ingenuity19 is going to be one of our biggest competitions yet - with a really important message. We are bringing some amazing speakers to Nottingham for the summits in order to inspire participants and create value, change and impact.

“Ingenuity19 is so much more than a competition though, and our aim is to help inspire a generation and enable them to discover problems worth solving, and offer them the tools to create scalable sustainable solutions, aiming to build a stronger UK society. By highlighting issues on a city scale, participants can determine achievable social innovations that can impact across the country and beyond. Offering information, data, and insight; world-class enterprise will be created on our doorstep, bringing more dynamic industries to Nottingham and the UK. “

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