For Immediate Release: 15 February 2024

Mark Blake, Co-Founder and Director of Joyfully Different from Brighton has scooped a national award from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency. The prestigious award will support them to grow their innovative business idea which aims to support neurodivergent entrepreneurs to start and grow their 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 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.

Mark says: “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 amongst 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. 

If you’re an aspiring innovator, or a business looking to connect with new talent, check out to find support and inspiration.

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Notes to Editors 

*based on individual grants of £5,000 plus a £10,000 contribution to living allowances or £50,000.

To arrange to speak to the award winner, Mark Blake, Co-Founder and Director of Joyfully Different, please contact: [email protected]

About Joyfully Different

Joyfully Different is a non-profit business support community and learning hub for neurodivergent business owners. Its mission is to support neurodivergent business leaders to understand and embrace their differences and show up as their authentic selves, so they can fulfil the vision they have for their life and business.

Find out more about Joyfully Different at 

About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is the UK’s innovation agency. It works to create a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. Its mission is to help companies to grow through their development and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive and easy to navigate.

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