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Vodafone Techstarter - A New Social Innovation Award


We believe that cross-sector collaboration, is vital in achieving transformational change at scale.  That’s why we’ve joined forces with Vodafone and the Vodafone Foundation to develop Vodafone Techstarter –  a new Social Innovation Award.

The programme recognises that valuing the social purpose of tech from the outset, opens up potential for tech to play a more meaningful role in addressing social challenges.


Applications for Vodafone Techstarter are now closed.

About Vodafone Techstarter


The Vodafone Techstarter Social Innovation Award is a new partnership between Vodafone and Social Tech Trust.  The total prize fund of £300,000 aims to support the UK’s efforts to create the best environment for developing and scaling new tech innovations that help people, drive prosperity and well-being for communities and protect our environment.


The prize fund will recognise both social businesses and charities.  There will be ten prizes awarded across three categories:

Category 1 – Not-for-profit awards, only open to charities, NGOs and community interest companies (CICs).

  • Four winners will receive a £35,000 prize in cash each and a full 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind.

Category 2 – For-profit awards, only open to commercial businesses, enterprises and for-profit start-ups.

  • Four winners will receive a £35,000 prize in cash each and a full 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind.

Category 3 – Vodafone Champions Award will be chosen by popular vote amongst Vodafone employees across the UK.

  • Two winners, one from each of the two categories above, will receive a prize of £10,000 cash each.


In addition to financial awards, winning Vodafone Techstarters will receive a programme of support, bespoke to their needs.  This will include in-depth mentorship and access to expert consultation across a range of technical, legal and supply-chain areas; marketing and communications support; investment advice & support; access to commercial partnerships; and full access to our support and networks.


Applications open on Thursday 20 September 2018 at midday.

The deadline for Stage 1 applications is Tuesday 23 October 2018 at midday. Applications are now closed.

The deadline for Stage 2 applications (invitation only) is 26 November at 12.00 midday.


For full FAQs, visit the Vodafone Techstarter website.


Eligibility Criteria

We’ll consider your application if your venture has:

  • A social mission written into your organisation’s governance or be willing to do so during the funding period
  • Potential to deliver social impact at scale
  • An innovative approach to tackling a social challenge
  • A working product or service that you will continue to test and iterate
  • Evidence of your potential to create social as well as user and financial value
  • The right team with relevant experience and expertise
  • Registration as a UK-based organisation


Please note that Vodafone Foundation prizes may only be won by not-for-profit organisations.  Further information is available here.

Application Process

Vodafone Techstarter is a two-stage application process.  The deadline for applying at Stage 1 is Tuesday 23 October 2018 at midday and you will be invited to apply at Stage 2 if successful.

You can check the status of your application at any time by logging into your My Account area on our website.

All application forms received are acknowledged by an automated email.  We aim to respond by email to Stage 1 applications around two weeks after the deadline date. If your Stage 1 application is accepted, we will invite you to submit a detailed and costed Stage 2 application.

You will be notified of the outcome of your Stage 2 application via email.

We’re unable to provide detailed feedback on each application at Stage 1, however, at Stage 2 you will receive an email indicating the key factors in determining the outcome of your application.

If you have any queries about the progress of your application, contact us on 01865 334000 or email:

Applications for Vodafone Techstarter are now closed.

What will I need to provide?

Stage 1:

 You’ll need to complete an online application form and upload a 90-second pitch video.


Stage 2:

 If you’re successful at Stage 1, you’ll become one of our 50 Vodafone Techstarters, and you’ll be invited to submit a Stage 2 application including:


  • Your project plan
  • Your budget
  • A completed Social Business Canvas


Templates for these documents are provided in the Stage 2 application.

Key dates and milestones

Stage 1 Applications: Open at 12.00 midday on Thursday 20th September 2018 and close at 12.00 midday on Tuesday 23 October 2018. Applications are now closed.

Stage 2 Applications: If you are successful at Stage 1, you’ll become one of our 50 Vodafone Techstarters, and you’ll be invited to submit a Stage 2 application.  Invitations will be made in November and will close on 26 November at 12.00 midday.

Shortlisting finalists: Twelve teams will be selected as finalists and will be notified by email in December.

Investment decisions: Twelve finalists will be put forward to the judging panel in January 2019. The eight winning teams will be announced at an awards ceremony in February 2019.   Two of the finalists will receive the ‘Vodafone Champions’ award voted for by Vodafone employees all over the UK.

Other recent Social Tech Trust grant programmes

Tech to Unite Us is the inaugural £0.5m grant fund of our Innovate Social Tech programme. It aims to demonstrate how tech can reach its transformative potential when it’s driven by one of the greatest opportunities of our time – equality. Eligible ventures can apply for a grant of up to £45K over a 9-12-month funding period. Technical assistance is provided to accelerate venture growth.

It will support talented teams developing innovative ventures that are at an early -stage, with the potential for transformative social impact at scale and the ambition for growth and sustainability.

Tech to Unite Us has now closed for applications and investment decisions will be announced in October 2018.

For more information on Tech To Unite Us, read our blog or FAQs for more information on our application process.


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