Social Incubator Fund gives £2.1m to new technology schemes

Money will help entrepreneurs and the burgeoning technology community to 'create real change for people', says Nick Hurd

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd

- This story has been corrected; please see final paragraph

The government has made the first grants from its £10m Social Incubator Fund, worth a total of £2.1m to two organisations that will provide support to new social technology ventures.

Bethnal Green Ventures received £900,000 from the fund, matched by another £900,000 from the social investment organisations the Nominet Trust and Nesta. It will back technology companies that work in health for the elderly, education for young people and the environment.

The fund also gave £1.2m to Wayra UnLtd, a new partnership between UnLtd, a charity that makes grants to new social enterprises, and Wayra, the technology incubator arm of Telefónica, the telecommunications company. Telefónica provided £1.5m of match funding to support the scheme, which supports organisations working in digital technology.

Both schemes will provide a combination of small-scale investment and intensive support to several social purpose start-ups.

The Social Incubator Fund is managed by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society and will make grant awards to up to 10 intermediaries in three rounds. The next rounds will be later in 2013 and in 2014.

It is likely that most organisations that receive investment will be from the private sector because of rules requiring investees to be able to take equity investment, which charities and most social enterprises cannot do.

Speaking at the launch, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said: "There is no shortage of social entrepreneurs in the UK with the ideas, passion and talent to create successful businesses that improve lives. We also have a talented and growing technology community in the UK. Increasingly, we’re seeing these two come together, with innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups harnessing the power of technology to create real change for people and communities."

- The penultimate paragraph of the story is referring to the two schemes that have received funding, not the Social Incubator Fund.

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