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International innovation champions funded to build new communities of entrepreneurs

The Academy has awarded grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to 14 alumni of its Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF) programme to help them build high impact and collaborative local, regional, national or international communities of LIF participants.

The 14 awardees, known as LIF Champions, are leading the way in strengthening innovation ecosystems and engaging key stakeholders in support of entrepreneurship in Brazil, Colombia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

The projects demonstrate a range of approaches to providing peer support and collaborations within their networks and to creating opportunities for networking and partnerships with business or innovation support networks and organisations that can help participants commercialise their innovations or multiply their impact.

The work of these new LIF Champions will build on the experience of 16 pilot projects in 2020, which collectively engaged over 530 alumni in knowledge sharing and networking activities, helped to set up new partnerships with 85 organisations and enabled 100 alumni to mentor other entrepreneurs within the local innovations ecosystems.

Innovation is the gateway for economic development and productivity of nations but creating an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship can be challenging. Access to growth capital, knowledge networks, local experts and mentors, inspiring local role models, spaces for prototyping and manufacturing, and support between peers can make the difference between an entrepreneur succeeding or failing.

Through the art of community-building, LIF Champions are creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to further their impact and develop the social and economic welfare of their communities.

Note to editors:

  1. The Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF) programme brings together emerging leaders in the global innovation community who have an engineering-based innovation that has the potential to contribute to the social and economic development of their country through commercialisation. The programme is delivered as part of the UK Newton Fund in partnership with in-country organisations.

    Through LIF, the Academy has worked with government agencies and established innovation-support institutions in 17 countries across the Global South to establish a network of over 1,100 innovators (LIF alumni). LIF alumni have become influencers and decision-makers and developed a range of deep-tech and innovative solutions contributing to all the Sustainable Development Goals, which have gone on to be manufactured, tested, commercialised, and created more than 2,500 jobs.

  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public. Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

Media enquiries to: Pippa Cox at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. +44 207 766 0745; email: [email protected]

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