New social enterprises to receive jump start from government investment

Written by Andrew Holt

The first awards from the Government’s £10 million Social Incubator Fund have been announced.

Speaking at Nesta, Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said that Wayra UnLtd and Bethnal Green Ventures would be the first to receive backing.

The fund is designed to provide investment into ‘social incubators’; organisations that will offer a period of intensive support to social enterprise start-ups.

This will help turn early stage ideas into successful businesses that change lives, by giving social entrepreneurs access to the resources they need to get their ventures off the ground.

Both of the ‘incubators’ chosen, focus on how technology can unlock the potential of social enterprise in the UK.

Bethnal Green Ventures will launch their “Social Innovation Camp” that will provide investment, mentoring and office space for start-ups who use technology to solve problems in three key areas; health and wellbeing of an ageing population, education and employability of young people and environmental sustainability.

Wayra UnLtd is a new partnership between UnLtd and Wayra, Telefonica's technology incubator.

They will identify up and coming social entrepreneurs who use digital technologies, and accelerate their entry to market by providing investment and technical expertise in a purpose built “Wayra UnLtd Academy”.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd 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.”

Paul Miller, partner at Bethnal Green Ventures, said: “Our aim is to provide investment and support to people who really understand social challenges so that they can build social ventures to improve the lives of millions of people.

"With this backing from the Cabinet Office, Nesta, Nominet Trust and Google Campus we’ll be able to do that for twenty new ventures a year, giving more people the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.”

Cliff Prior, CEO of UnLtd and Simon Devonshire, director of Wayra Europe said: “We are massively proud to celebrate this new partnership to find, support and grow digital social enterprises in the UK.

"We are also thrilled the Government is giving this special partnership its full support and backing. Together we aim to address significant social issues through the use of digital technology combined with entrepreneurial talent.”

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