£1m in grants + mentorship + a good idea = a chance for startups to address UK’s social issues?

£1m in grants + mentorship + a good idea = a chance for startups to address UK’s social issues? ...

The Nominet Trust, a UK charity that invests in digital technology to improve lives, has teamed up with the Founders Forum for Good (FFFG) community of entrepreneurs to offer tech and digital startups a shot at getting a slice of £1 million (just over $1.5 million) of pooled funding.

The cash falls under the umbrella of what the organisations are calling the ‘Social Tech, Social Change’ fund and is being made available to startups in the hope that they can be turned into profitable – and critically, scalable – businesses that use technology to tackle social challenges.

“What we want to do in the partnership with Founders Forum is engage more tech entrepreneurs in this space, bring their ambition, their drive, their creativity to bear and effect social change – and we hope by doing that we will achieve change at a rate of speed, but also at scale,” Annika Small, CEO of the Nominet Trust, told The Next Web.

The fund may well be aimed at startups, but they’ll need big ideas if they want their slice of the fund and the spot on the mentorship programme of the Founders Forum that goes along with it.

“Whether it’s social care, or child welfare or poverty or education or climate change it’s big, big social challenges and looking at the way technology has the way to disrupt, not looking particularly at just adding digital to the existing approaches that we have already, but the way that technology can really turn things on its head,” Small added.

The exact amount each of the “around 20” chosen startups could receive isn’t set in stone but is envisioned at being around £50,000 per project, Small said. However, she added that the Trust recognizes that different projects will have wildly differing requirements and that the process has been designed not to be rigid.

“Tech entrepreneurs have said to us ‘when we think about grants and grant applications it all just feels like hundreds of pages of application forms and months and months to wait for your money’ but we’ve designed something very agile. It’s a short process,” she added.

Small isn’t kidding. Applications to be included can be made from today and the money will be distributed in September.

The final decision on who gets what will be made by a panel of Nominet Trust and Founders Forum For Good Board, which includes among others, Martha Lane Fox, one of the original co-founders of Lastminute.com and member of the House of Lords, and Mike Lynch, one of the co-founders of Autonomy.

If you want to get involved with the programme and take a shot at becoming one of the chosen startups you can find all the requirements and application details on the Nominet Trust’s ‘Social Tech, Social Change’ project page.

Image Credit – Getty Images

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