Four young entrepreneurs from Wales win national award

Written by on 26th January 2022

Four of this year’s Young Innovator Award winners, announced today by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, are from Wales. Abbie Lawrence, Beren Kayali, Christian Berger & Matthew Richmond have started the New Year with a boost after winning a coveted award for their new business projects.

The Welsh winners join 59 other young people aged 18 to 30 with ideas to change the world and will benefit from a £5,000 grant, one-on-one business coaching and an allowance to cover living costs.

From mindfulness to sustainability, the Welsh innovators promise to make the world a better place, with:

  • Abbie Lawrence (28 years old), from Cardiff, who is working to help small and medium-sized firms increase sales by offering them access to a simulation where they can explore customer’s buying habits in a physical mock-up of their shopping experience, through her business Consumer Insights Lab.
  • Beren Kayali (28 years old), from Cardiff, co-founder of Deploy, who is creating the first-ever foldable and inflatable water tank that aims to tackle water storage problems particularly experienced in poor rural communities. Flat-packed for easy transport, it can be deployed in 24 hours.
  • Christian Berger, from Wales, who aims to invigorate the seaweed industry in the UK with his modular, semi-automated seaweed hatchery that can be deployed in remote areas and be run entirely off grid.
  • Matthew Richmond (25 years old), from Cardiff, who has created his own mindfulness app, Measurtation, after struggling to find anything that helped him focus. The subscription based app records the user’s breathing, and provides analysis of and trends in their breathing cycles to help them understand and build on their meditation

The Young Innovators Awards recognise young people from across the UK with great business ideas who have the potential to become successful entrepreneurs and future leaders in innovation. Innovate UK KTN supports the programme through the delivery of workshops and briefing events that provide practical business advice to a network of over 8,000 young people across the UK. Hundreds of these aspiring entrepreneurs then apply to the programme and, following a robust evaluation process, 63 innovators have started the New Year with a boost after winning the coveted award.

Now in its third year, Innovate UK’s Young Innovators programme continues to support high-potential young people from diverse backgrounds. This year, half of the winners are women, around a third are Black, Asian or from another ethnic minority group, 17% have identified as disabled. There are also multiple award winners in every region of the UK.

From turning fish skin into bags and wallets to enabling non-specialists to build safe, disaster-resistant housing, all of this year’s Young Innovators have ideas that promise to address current challenges. Ideas this year span everything from technology to physical and mental health and from sustainability to fashion.

And, as we continue to navigate through the pandemic, it too has played a part in inspiring the next generation – with ideas including WorkLocal, an online app that helps home-based workers discover local pubs, bars and cafes to work from and a micro garden subscription, Little Roots, delivering ready-planted containers for urban flat-dwellers, to bring nature to them.

Other ideas include Piece and Quiet, jigsaw puzzles for adults showcasing up and coming UK artists and Inspiritus Health, a device made for the emergency services that releases different scents during their virtual reality training to give them a more real-life, immersive experience.

Commenting on her project and award, Beren Kayali, said,

Our aim is to tackle the water storage problems particularly experienced in rural communities. Water tanks are the most problematic and expensive part of our water supply network due to the amount of concrete and time that is required to build them. Deploy is the first-ever foldable and inflatable concrete water tank that can be deployed in 24 hours. I’m so pleased to have won Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Award. It feels great to get the validation and recognition for my idea and business.”

Emily Nott, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at Innovate UK says:

2021 continued to be a challenging year of uncertainty. Which makes it even more extraordinary how many of the winners have made such progress on their ideas – undeterred and resolute in their passion to make a difference in their own unique way. Working alongside this year’s winners, Innovate UK will help them grow and develop their business idea to make the world a better, and more innovative place. We can’t wait to see what they achieve next.

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said:

“The innovation potential of this young age group is incredible. It’s a cohort that promises to bring energy, entrepreneurial flair and fresh perspectives to today’s big challenges. Our young innovators are also relatable role models, inspiring and showing the path to others, as they create economic and societal benefits through innovation – so that we can all see a fairer, more resilient and more productive society”.

Details on all 63 Young Innovators can found here. If you’re an inspiring young innovator, check out how Innovate UK could support you here:


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