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Reflections on Round 3 of the Incubator Fund and what's next

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three young people posing for a photo in a studio
Photo from Platform B (Radio Station). Credit Lauren Mabbett Photography.

Written by Louise Henry, Senior Grants and Learning Officer

When we first launched the Incubator Fund back in 2020, it was difficult to imagine the impact it might have. Would it reach the music industry? Would it help to create meaningful, paid opportunities for 18-25s in the way we’d hoped?

The short answer is yes. In the first two rounds, we supported the creation of 444 paid opportunities for young people and have just funded a further 27 applicants to do the same.


Some of our Round One projects have come to an end, and we’ve seen brilliant results. Young people are starting their own businesses, entering further education or training whilst others have moved onto roles at Universal, PRSF, Clash Magazine and Supercat PR. Ongoing projects are recording radio shows, launching record labels and releasing debut EPs. We’re proud of what our projects and their young people have achieved, and want to ensure that the Incubator Fund is continuing to suit the needs of everyone involved.

As we’ve said in previous blog posts, one of the hardest jobs is saying no. In our most recent round of funding, we were able to support just over a third of applicants to bring their programmes to life. Broadly speaking, our decision-making process remains the same; you can read reflections from round two here, and tips on creating a strong proposal here, but three rounds in, it feels like a good time to take stock.

What's next?

Over the next few months, we will revisit our guidance to ensure we’re fully communicating the intentions of the fund to applicants, and we’ll consider where we can fine tune the application process to be as accessible as possible, too. We’ll be taking on feedback about resources and looking at what additional support we can offer you through the process. We offered greater 1:1 guidance to applicants in our most recent round and will look to build capacity to continue this going forwards.

We want to broaden our reach regionally too. We tend to receive fewer applications from Scotland, the North East, and the East of England, so will be working to build our networks in these areas. If you’re a music industry business in these areas, or know anyone that is – let us know!

We’re excited to come back in Spring 2022 for Round Four and welcome any questions, advice or reflections in the meantime at

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Incubator Fund

Grants of £5,000 to £30,000 are available to businesses, collectives, and not-for-profits working in the music industries.

Incubator Fund FAQs

Youth Music's new Incubator Fund offers grants to music businesses who want to support the career development of 18-25s. Find answers to the frequently asked questions here.