British Council

‘Thanks to British Council and Creative Spark, I have grew from being a mother of 3 to an emerging entrepreneur!’

Aizada Tynybekova, Kyrgyzstan


Life cycle



Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, UK


British Council


Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge is our largest online enterprise pitch competition aiming to help young creative entrepreneurs (18-35) to learn enterprise skills and how to pitch business ideas in order to start their own businesses or create their own career paths. 


Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge helps young entrepreneurs to raise their profile and improve their career prospects, at a time when youth unemployment is a growing concern and the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted economies around the world. The competition reaches thousands of young people through trainings and networking events to improve their confidence and skills to develop business ideas and pitch them to become emerging entrepreneurs. Awards include up to £3,000 seed grant, mentorship and business support from UK experts. 


The competition takes place in collaboration with organisations in Creative Spark network. Students, graduates and young entrepreneurs enrolled in partner organisation take trainings to develop business ideas and  prepare 60 second enterprise video pitch competition to compete for being selected in top 500 business ideas. All applications are assessed by a panel of national and international judges experienced in enterprise education and creative entrepreneurship. The country winners, category winners and People`s Choice Winners get awards with live online ceremony broadcasted across seven programme countries and the UK. In 2021, to support COP26, Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge will include a new category on Climate Change to address protecting our environment and its resources with a focus at community, local or national level.


The competition produces over 500 new business ideas per year and in 2020, over 82,000 people (doubled compared to 2019) voted online to choose their favourite best business ideas from three categories: social impact, technology and creativity. Awards ceremonies were held in each of the participating countries on Facebook Live with more than 16,000 views

Innovation is a key element of the competition and evolve based on the needs of the time. In order to address the challenges and respond to the new business and society environment resulting from the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have identified an award category called Pandemic Response Innovation and awarded best ideas on this category. In 2021 a new category on Climate Change will aim to respond to the shared challenges of climate change worldwide.

The Big Idea Challenge has become an instrumental part of enterprise skills development across programme countries, raised the awareness on creative entrepreneurship, and was supported by the Ministries of Culture and Education of engaged countries.

Mutual benefit

Creative Spark Programme enables young people to become internally connected via developing entrepreneurship and English skills which is a key vehicle for cultural relations. To do this we enabled 50 partnerships between 124 Higher Education institutions and creative industries across the UK and seven programme countries for building mutual trust and shared learning through knowledge transfer and capacity building activities, not only institutional but also city and national level. This enhances UK expertise in enterprise education and provides commercial opportunities to the UK institutions including consultancy work and joint degree programmes in the Wider Europe market.