November 10, 2021, by aczjb1

Young Entrepreneurs Scheme: Sharing know-how and developing new ventures worldwide

All throughout Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re highlighting the entrepreneurial impact and activity throughout the Haydn Green Institute at Nottingham University Business School. Today, we’re focusing on the Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES), an innovative global competition developed to raise awareness among early career researchers (ECRs) about how ideas can be commercialised.  

For the past 26 years, YES has truly impacted global entrepreneurship not only by conducting and innovating learning activities across borders but also through over 6,000 alumni going on to share know-how and develop new ventures worldwide.  

Teams, made up of four or five ECRs, deploy novel science and engineering ideas to address societal challenges such as the ageing population, sustainable food production, global warming and driverless cars. They then develop a business plan for a start-up company based on a hypothetical but plausible idea during an intense three-day workshop. 

To date, YES has delivered workshops in four of the seven continents. The first opportunity to cross borders came in 2004 with the British Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) sponsoring North America YES – this was followed by India YES in 2007 sponsored by the FCO and UK Trade and Investment. Africa YES came next in 2011 delivered by the John Innes Centre. With Procter & Gamble on lead five years later when Singapore YES went live. This year, Malaysia YES was launched! 

Malaysia YES is a joint endeavour between ASTI (Association of Science Technology and Innovation) and the University of Nottingham Malaysia, led by two former YES alumni – Dr Mohamed Yunus Bin Mohamed Yasin and Dr Georgina Marsh. 

Yunus took part in YES in 2000 while completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Initially Yunus thought he would either become an academic or apply for graduate jobs upon attaining a PhD. However, Yunus set up ASTI, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with the objective of empowering children through various science-based and skills-development projects. ASTI has inspired and improved the prospects of tens of thousands of children in Malaysia within the field of science, technology and engineering.  

“I am really excited that ASTI is a stakeholder in Malaysia YES,” said Yunus. “I feel I will have come full circle with my pedagogy of techno-entrepreneurship.” 

Georgina – an Assistant Professor in Pharmaceutics at the University of Nottingham Malaysia – took part in YES in 2015 while completing her PhD in Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham. Georgina’s research interests include additive manufacturing (3D printing), paediatrics and biomimetics.  

“It was great to take part in YES because it was so different from the day-to-day mechanics of my PhD. We learnt commercial acumen, financial awareness, creative problem solving, team building – just a whole world we didn’t know about before! Science is entrepreneurial in its nature and YES plays an important role in inspiring the next generation, so I am very excited to be involved in this inaugural year drawing on the best of the relationship between the UK and Malaysia. ECRs will be able to network with competitors and mentors from both countries developing understanding and opportunities. This expansion shows YES is a truly global influence on the development of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow!” says Georgina. 

Find out more about YES at

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