top of page
  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

Brighton Entrepreneur Scoops National Award for Innovation

An entrepreneur from Brighton is among the winners of a £6.2M* award from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. Mark Blake, Co-Founder and Director of Joyfully Different, a non-profit business support community and learning hub for neurodivergent entrepreneurs.

Blake is one of 233 high potential entrepreneurs from every nation and region of the UK to receive funding and tailored business support. The prestigious award will support Mark to grow his innovative business idea, which aims to support neurodivergent entrepreneurs to start and grow their own businesses.

Studies suggest that people with ADHD are six times more likely to start their own businesses and 20-40% of business owners are dyslexic. Only 22% of autistic adults are in any kind of employment in the UK and yet the UK’s Autism Strategy does not include any mention of self-employment. As an autistic entrepreneur with ADHD and dyslexia, Mark Blake is determined to change things for neurodivergent founders.

Mark is among the 233 high-potential innovators awarded a £5,000 grant and £10,000 contribution to living allowances. Critically, they will also receive 12 months of tailored business support to help them grow, stimulating the UK’s economy.

Joyfully Different’s idea of a neurodivergent-friendly business accelerator aims to support a cohort of 12 aspiring neurodivergent entrepreneurs to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to launch their own businesses in 2024.

Blake, who runs Joyfully Different alongside co-founder Alice Reeves, said:

“It’s the honour of my life to work on a project that is the first of its kind with such incredible people. The project is going to reach so many people who have been ignored by mainstream business support and give them the chance to build a business that can help unlock their authenticity and have economic independence. It feels humbling and amazing to be chosen for such a prestigious award.”

Building on the success of Innovate UK’s targeted programmes, like Women in Innovation and Young Innovators, this latest funding is designed to find and support the fresh innovation talent the UK needs.

In line with the UK’s growing appetite for innovation, this new award programme was among the most highly engaged funding competitions Innovate UK has ever delivered - with over 2,100 entrepreneurs applying for funding and business mentorship. There is an urgent need to transform the UK’s skills and talent pipeline, through inspiring and connecting people to new opportunities and pathways into innovation. Innovate UK estimates that, to achieve the UK’s full economic potential, 400,000 more innovators need to be supported, from entrepreneurs to engineers.

Coinciding with the Awards announcement, Innovate UK has joined forces with over 150 partner organisations to launch its free and accessible No Limits digital platform, which makes it easy for aspiring innovators to discover new career paths, sharpen their skills and access opportunities to develop life-changing innovations and future-proof the UK economy.


bottom of page