The British Council #IdeasChangeLives Challenge 2019

Through #IdeasChangeLives, British Council believes 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?

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. They were founded in 1934 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1940.


British Council #IdeasChangeLives is the global innovation challenge to find digital solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. British Council is looking for people with a fresh, entrepreneurial spirit and a big idea that has the potential to make a positive impact on communities across the globe.

This year, the British Council is 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.


  • The #IdeasChangeLives challenge is open to anyone and everyone across the world. You can choose to apply as an individual or an organisation.
  • British Council accepts ‘early-stage’ applications, meaning you don’t necessarily need a working prototype when you make your application.
  • You don’t need to be working in the digital or technology sector to apply.

Idea Eligibility

To help, the British Council recommends thinking carefully about the following before you apply for #IdeasChangeLives :

  • 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.


  • £20,000 in prize money to develop your product, no matter what stage you’re at.
  • The British Council’s team of digital experts will help you to develop your idea at your own pace. They’ll give you the opportunity to connect with others and develop further partnerships through access to global networks, events and sector expertise.
  • They’ll tailor 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.

How to Apply

Click below to take a look at the application questions and enter the #IdeasChangeLives challenge.

Click here to Apply

Deadline: 10th January 2020


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