IEA launches Breakthrough Prize


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£50,000 for your idea to give everyone in society a real opportunity to succeed on their own merit

The Institute of Economic Affairs is delighted to announce the launch of the third Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize, with the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP on the judging panel.

A first prize of £50,000 will be awarded to the best and boldest entry outlining a ‘Free Market Breakthrough’ policy to give everyone in society, from whatever background, a real opportunity to succeed on their own merit.

Competitors will be asked to propose a single policy initiative which would:

  • reduce the dependency of low-income Britons on the state, and encourage an entrepreneurial and ambitious mindset across the whole of society.

  • improve the economic opportunities for low-income Britons.

  • increase the economic freedom of the population at large.

  • be politically possible.


Submissions are welcomed from individuals, groups of individuals, academia, the not-for-profit sector and all corporate bodies.

The competition this year will have a two-stage entry process, with entrants initially expected to submit a short (500-1,000 word) abstract of their breakthrough idea.

The best 10-15 ideas will be shortlisted for the second and final round, where entrants will be asked to submit a more detailed essay (3,000 – 4,000 words) expanding their idea. The final judging panel will then choose the winners, who will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on Thursday, 10th October 2019.

The Prize pool consists of £58,500, including a £50,000 grand prize for the winning entry, 2x £2,500 highly commended prizes, 1x £2,000 dedicated student prize and 1x £1,500 dedicated school student prize.

Richard Koch – the benefactor and supporter of the Prize – is a British author, speaker, investor, and a former management consultant and entrepreneur. He has written over twenty books on business and ideas, including The 80/20 Principle, about how to apply the Pareto principle in management and life.

Judging panel

Richard Koch, Former management consultant and entrepreneur
Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton
Mark Littlewood, Director General, Institute of Economic Affairs
Kate Andrews, Associate Director, Institute of Economic Affairs

Commenting on the prize, Dominic Raab said:

“The fairest system we can create in the UK is that of a true meritocracy, whether that be of ideas, in education or the workplace. 

“Meritocracies thrive on new and innovative policy ideas and the IEA Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize can play a vital part in developing those ideas. It is through initiatives like this, supported by forward thinking groups such as the IEA, that we can offer new ideas to help each child in this country reach their full potential.”

Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs said:

“Free market capitalism is the most successful economic system in history, but governments of all stripes have allowed cronyism to creep in, which does not properly encourage or reward success. Far too many barriers stand in the way of those at the bottom who are trying to improve themselves, and often those at the top are protected from feeling the consequences of poor economic decision-making.

“From an education system that often fails to provide the real skills that students need for working life, to an occupational licensing system that blocks many disadvantaged people from accessing higher paid work, we need a serious revamp our institutions and regulations. I look forward to seeing what ideas this year’s competition will deliver to tackle outdated public policy.”

Richard Koch said:

“Not everyone is given an easy start in life. The goal of a free and fair society is to make sure that all people, regardless of background or hardship, are given equal opportunities to make the most of their potential and to put their skills to good use. I want new, exciting, and radical free-market ways to jump-start personal opportunity, freedom, and fulfilment.

“Now in its third year, my Breakthrough Prize, in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs, is encouraging individuals and groups from all walks of life to devise a popular idea to give everyone a great chance to succeed on their own merit.” 
Notes to editors:

For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Head of Communications: [email protected]  07791 390 268 or Emma Revell, Communications Manager: [email protected] 07931 698 246.

Submissions for the first round must be no more than 1,000 words long. Entrants successful in reaching the second round will be asked to expand their ideas in a 3,000-4,000 word essay.

Participants must register via the website – http://breakthroughprize.org.uk/

Deadline for first round entries is 12:00 UTC on Thursday 27th June 2019 and must be submitted via the website – www.breakthroughprize.org.uk 

Deadline for the second (final) round, is 12:00 UTC on Monday 2nd September 2019 and must be submitted via the website – www.breakthroughprize.org.uk 

For more information about the remit and entry criteria, please visit www.breakthroughprize.org.uk 

Judging panel:

Richard Koch –  Richard is a former management consultant, entrepreneur, and writer of several books on how to apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) in all walks of life. Richard has also used his concepts to make a fortune from several private equity investments made personally. Richard’s investments have included Filofax, Plymouth Gin, the Great Little Trading Company and Betfair. Previously he had been a consultant at Boston Consulting Group and later a partner at Bain and Company, before leaving to start management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting with Jim Lawrence and Iain Evans.

Dominic Raab – Prior to entering politics, Dominic worked as a lawyer, first at City law firm LinkLaters, and later at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he held various roles including heading the FCO’s war crimes team in The Hague. Dominic was first elected as MP for Esher and Walton in May 2010, winning 59% of the vote. Dominic served as Minister for Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice from 2015 to 2016. In June 2017, he was appointed Courts Minister, and then Minister of State for Housing in January 2018. In July 2018, Dominic was appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He resigned on 15 November 2018.

Mark Littlewood –  Mark Littlewood is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the IEA’s Ralph Harris Fellow. Mark has overseen significant growth in the IEA’s size, influence and media profile during his tenure, since 2009. Mark also sits on the Board of Big Brother Watch, a non-profit organisation fighting for the protection of privacy and civil liberties in the UK. Mark is recognised as a powerful, engaging and articulate spokesman for free markets. He is a much sought-after speaker at a range of events including university debates, industry conferences and public policy events. He also features as a regular guest on flagship political programmes such as BBC Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News and the Today Programme. He writes a regular column for The Times and features in many other print and broadcast media.

Kate Andrews – Kate Andrews is Associate Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, where she oversees the IEA’s Media Centre. She joined in February 2016 as the IEA’s News Editor, overseeing the IEA’s digital platforms. Kate previously worked as Head of Communications at the Adam Smith Institute, where she handled media and donor relations. Kate regularly features across the national media, including appearances on BBC’s Any Questions and BBC’s Question Time. She has written for the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Spectator Coffee House, and writes a weekly column on Fridays for City AM.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.



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