Government launches £30m tech fund for social good

It has established a partnership with the Social Tech Trust to position the UK as a leader in socially transformative tech

The Social Tech Trust has struck a partnership with the government to establish a fund of up to £30m to generate and increase technology for social good.

The fund will provide access to finance and aims to position the UK as a leader in socially transformative tech. A further £1m is being made available to incentivise organisations to use technology to help combat loneliness and bring communities together.

Other measures included in the fund that were announced this week by the digital secretary Jeremy Wright include government backing for the Digital Agenda Impact Awards to showcase and celebrate tech for good innovations from across business, government and charity organisations, and a collaboration with the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology to explore how charities can best be supported to embed digital in their strategy, services and culture.

In a speech at DotEveryone’s Responsible Tech 2019 event, Wright said: "While investment in UK tech continued to be the highest in Europe in 2018, social tech ventures can often find it challenging to raise appropriate capital at the right time. We need to encourage greater access to capital as these ventures scale and grow their social and environmental impact so we are supporting the foundation of a fund of up to £30m of equity investment in social tech ventures."

Ed Evans, chief executive of the Social Tech Trust, said: "We’re delighted that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is demonstrating its support of this pioneering fund, which will address the gap in the availability of equity investment, required to scale transformative, purpose-driven tech ventures. This presents a fantastic opportunity for us to challenge tech to work harder for the good of society."

In addition to supporting the set-up of the Social Tech Venture Fund, the DCMS will also support the development of Social Tech Trust’s programme of technical assistance. The aim of this non-financial support is to offer ventures access to the skills and expertise needed for their long-term growth and sustainability.

The secretary of state also named the organisations that will receive a share of the government’s £1m Digital Leadership Fund, which aims to boost charity leaders’ digital knowhow and how they can use technology to benefit their respective causes. These include Age UK, Guide Dogs and the Cornwall Museums Partnership.

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