We believe anyone could have an idea that has the power to change lives. No matter who they are or where they are.

So what's your big idea?

Applications for #IdeasChangeLives are now closed.

Read more about the competition below and sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch.

What is #IdeasChangeLives?

#IdeasChangeLives is our global innovation challenge to find digital solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems.

We’re looking for people with a fresh, entrepreneurial spirit and a big idea that has the potential to make a positive impact for communities across the globe.

The winning pitch will get £20,000 to invest in their idea, as well as mentorship and support from the British Council for a full year.

Our focus for 2019

This year, we’re looking for ideas that help us to meet any or all of the targets within one of the three Global Goals for Sustainable Development below:

Goal 4: Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Goal 5: Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Things to think about...

We’re looking for thoughtful, creative and unusual digital solutions. So, even if you only have the very seed of an idea, as long as you have given it real thought, applications are encouraged.

To help, we recommend thinking carefully about the following before you apply:

  • The need your idea addresses - be clear about which one of The Global Goals you are focusing on and the problem your idea could help to solve.
  • How people will benefit - tell us why your idea matters to the people it is designed for and how it has the potential to positively impact thousands of lives.
  • Why it’s compelling - we need to feel that you really care about making a difference so tell us the story behind your idea.
  • The competition - show us you have a clear understanding and awareness of any competitors who may be working on similar products and tell us why your idea is different.
  • The tools and resources needed to turn it into a product - it doesn’t matter if you haven’t worked with technology before. What does matter is a clear understanding of how your idea will work in the real world.

What you'll get...

Funding to get your idea off the ground

£20,000 in prize money to develop your product, no matter what stage you’re at.

Support to help you succeed

Our team of digital experts will help you to develop your idea at your own pace. We’ll give you the opportunity to connect with others and develop further partnerships through access to global networks, events and sector expertise.

Mentorship for a full year

We tailor our support to suit you. You’ll get access to on-going mentorship from the British Council plus advice from subject matter experts on how to potentially grow and scale-up your idea.

Applications are now closed

In February 2020, we will announce our shortlisted applicants. They will be asked to make a short video and develop a business model to showcase their idea.

In March 2020, we will announce our finalists who will then be interviewed by our judging panel. The panel will be made up of industry experts and representatives from the British Council’s Digital, Partnerships and Innovation team.  

Competition winners will be announced in April 2020.

Read our competition Terms and Conditions.

Last year's winners


StanLab is a virtual science laboratory. It uses augmented reality to give students at schools without laboratories an opportunity to learn important practical science skills online. Founded by Job from Nigeria, he was inspired to create StanLab after his own experience of going through school without reliable access to equipment. Laboratory equipment is expensive for schools to buy, so Job remembers often having to imagine what a science experiment might look like. Not wanting future generations to miss out, he was determined to come up with a cost-effective solution. That's when he applied for #IdeasChangeLives and, since winning, Job and his team have been able to develop a working prototype which they're currently testing out in schools. They hope StanLab will improve STEM education and career prospects for more than six million students across the country.


mHub is Malawi's first technology and innovation hub. The online platform acts as a resource centre to encourage the development of sustainable technology solutions to solve various challenges in society. The idea for mHub initially developed out of a drive to inspire young people in Malawi to do something productive with their time and to be more creative and innovative. However, mHub is also Malawi's first community-based human rights platform. The platform helps vulnerable groups understand more about their rights and what to do if they are violated. Specifically, mHub is improving reporting for more than 10,000 women and girls on issues such as sexual assault, reproductive health rights, early marriage and human trafficking. The organisation behind mHub applied for #IdeasChangeLives because they felt passionately about achieving better gender equality in Malawi. Winning the competition has given them the resources to reach more women and girls across the country.

Job, founder of StanLab

Job, founder of StanLab

Students who are taking part in an entrepreneurship challenge run by mHub and partners work together on their tech idea.

Students who are taking part in an entrepreneurship challenge run by mHub and partners work together on their tech idea.

Contact us

For any questions about Ideas Change Lives, email us at: IdeasChangeLives@britishcouncil.org

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