University of Nottingham
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The application process for YES21

Apply for YES21

  • Form a team of four or five
  • Team members can be cross-disciplinary and
  • Multiple teams from the same university, faculty, school or department may apply to compete -
    there is no limit on the number
  • Second call application deadline is 24 September
Application form


You can enter YES21 if, at the time of participation, you are:

  • registered as a postgraduate
    • Masters, PhD, postdoc, research fellow
  • an early career academic, knowledge exchange or technician
    • completed a PhD, postdoc or fellowship typically within the past 18 months
    • maximum of two in a team

Except for Fintech YES, the competition is not open to those who have an undergraduate or postgraduate business degree.

There is no age limit for those wishing to participate.

Participants welcome from countries outside of the UK, however, they will have to cover their own travel costs to the showcase event hosted at the Royal Society.


The cost to participate in YES21 is £750 per person.

This cost includes:

  • Careers fair
  • 'Stepping out' programme
  • Three day workshop
  • Travel allowance to attend the showcase event hosted at the Royal Society, London:

Please note: payments are non-refundable unless a medical certificate or similar evidence can be produced.

Learn more at online awareness session Bursary scheme Frequently asked questions


Please seek financial support from your own institute/university in the first instance. If financial support is not available, apply for the "unleash your ingenuity" award when submitting your individual registration form post team entry. For researchers funded by BBSRC, MRC or NERC, please read the applicable statement below:  


Seek financial support through the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) in the first instance. If financial support is not available, email the YES team.

For postdoctoral researchers, all places are FREE when providing research or training grant code.


Seek financial support through the local Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) supplement or other funds.

Use of such funds will require prior approval from the DTP lead.


Contact your academic/industrial supervisor regarding sources of funding. Universities need not seek prior approval from NERC to use Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) or Industrial Case (iCASE) funds for participation in YES21.


What next?

Step two – following submission

On receipt of the application, the team will be notified of the workshop they have been allocated within 5 working days.

If the team wishes to accept the workshop they have been allocated, each member will need to complete an individual registration form and return within 15 working days.

Hold the dates for the career fair - 13-17 September. 


Step three – get briefed

Take part in the interactive ‘creativity, business models & protection’ session on Tuesday 28 September.

This session will outline what you have to do before and during the workshop; clarify what a hypothetical but plausible idea is; walk you through a creative problem solving process; introduce the business model canvas; and give guidance on protecting ideas. Plus they'll be plenty of time for questions!


Step four – establish an idea

Decide upon an innovative research-based idea that could work as a business and think about which areas each team member will be responsible for and undertake some market research.

If you have any questions, get involved in our 'stepping out' programme. The online interactive sessions are designed to support you in the development of your business idea and are hosted bi-weekly from early October.


Step five – attend a workshop

All team members attend one of the three day workshops encompassing presentations and mentoring sessions from leading figures in industry. Workshops are held throughout  November and December 2021.

From each stream at the workshop, one team with the best business plan presentation will be selected to go forward to the Final on Friday 21 January to compete for a prize fund of £15k!


Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  • Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Jubilee Campus
  • Nottingham, NG8 1BB