Charity Management

Government announces social incubator awards winners

20 February 2013

Technology start-ups to benefit from first set of funding, while deadline for second round approaches

Wayra UnLtd and Bethnal Green Ventures are the first two ‘social incubator’ organisations to receive funding from the government’s £10 million Social Incubator Fund.


The awards will give the incubators the financial backing they need to provide intensive support social enterprise start-ups. Eligible entrepreneurs will benefit from mentoring, access to resources and office space to help get their ideas off the ground.


The successful incubators from the first round of funding both focus on enterprises that use technology to solve social problems.


Bethnal Green Ventures, based in East London, is launching a Social Innovation Camp, which will support start-ups using technology to help improve the health and wellbeing of an ageing population; the education and employability of young people, and environmental sustainability. Working in partnership with Nominet Trust and Nesta, it aims to support 72 early-stage technology start-ups over the next four years. These new ventures will be based in the offices of Nesta, an independent charity that works to increase innovation across the UK, and will also have use of the Google Campus in Shoreditch.
 

Wayra UnLtd is a partnership between Telefonica’s technology incubator Wayra and social enterprise network UnLtd. Its Wayra Unlimited Academy will provide investment and technical expertise to social start-ups that use digital technologies and will see 30 digitally focused start-ups being mentored over two years in a purpose-built environment.


The government launched the Social Incubator Fund in July last year. It is administered by Big Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society. A second round of funding will launch in the spring and is open to newer social incubators. The deadline to apply is 15 March.
 

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Becky Slack

Becky Slack is managing director of Slack Communications, a publishing and communications agency with a social conscience. She has a 20 year career in the media industry, including more than 10 working within and around the charity sector.  

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