Ten companies focused on finding solutions to reduce carbon emissions and waste, preserve water and protect ecosystems have been selected to take part in Microsoft’s AI for Environmental Sustainability Accelerator programme.

The programme, launched in collaboration with the Met Office and Social Tech Trust, will support the cohort through a four-month programme to advance their environmental solution using AI.

The 10 companies will develop their technological capabilities and commercial strategy, build the relationships they need to scale their solution and, crucially, learn how to measure the impact it will have for environmental progress.

Among the accelerator participants are Exeter-based Quanterra Systems, which is creating a measurement solution for the indicators of ecosystem health; Scotland’s Vistalworks, is developing intelligence software to combat online illicit trade; Materials Nexus from Teddington is using AI to speed up the discovery of sustainable material alternatives, and Yes Make is helping design London’s public spaces with reclaimed materials from other developments.

Other companies include:

Modulous (London): Modulous creates a globally scalable model for the design and delivery of homes that are sustainable, cost effective and promote wellbeing for residents

Reewild (London): Reewild helps food and drink businesses to score and display the environmental impact of their products to consumers

Scrapp (Edinburgh): Scrapp makes recycling simple, fun and rewarding

Seab Energy (London): Seab Energy creates easy-to-install micro-power plants that turn food and bio-wastes into heat, electricity, water and fertiliser

CO2Analysis (Hampshire): CO2Analysis makes Scope 3 emissions easy and quick to analyse

Treeconomy (London): Treeconomy generates financial value from ecosystem services and natural capital, using an offset-as-a-service business model

The companies joined programme partners, investors and Microsoft’s UK Chief Sustainability Officer, Musidora Jorgensen, for a kick-off event at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading on March 31.

Jorgensen said: “Climate change is one of our most pressing threats and we need solutions quickly to deal with the problems we face. We know artificial intelligence is a powerful tool we can deploy today to make progress. These ten creative companies have been selected for their focus on significant industry challenges and our ambition is that with Microsoft’s support we can crack them.”

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “Failure to address climate change will have catastrophic consequences for our planet, and we must act now. The ten selected social tech ventures represent the possibilities available to us for safeguarding the future of our planet, and we are committed to supporting them to make this a reality.”

Start-ups selected for the four-month equity-free accelerator programme will receive Microsoft Azure cloud credits, advice from experts on AI, technology, commercial development and social impact, workshops, coaching from Microsoft, The Met Office and Social Tech Trust, networking opportunities and funding support to scale their solution and put it in the hands of those who need it most.

29 March 2022 

We are thrilled to announce that we have become signatories to Diversity Forum’s Manifesto. The Diversity Forum is a collective on a mission to drive inclusive social investment in the UK, through the convening of sector-wide groups, commissioning research, and knowledge sharing. The Manifesto acts as a public commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and builds on the Trust’s belief that EDI is critical to achieving a world where social transformation drives tech.   

The renewed commitments follow an expansion of the Trust’s approach to EDI, ensuring that the core principles are integral to the Trust’s strategy and embedded across all aspects of our work. As signatories of Diversity Forum’s Manifesto, the Trust has made 7 commitments and 10 initial actions that will be actioned in the coming months to support its EDI practice.   

Social Tech Trust, CEO Edward Evans says “The pandemic has shone a light on existing inequalities within society. We believe technology can help to address these challenges, provided it is guided by principles of equality. We are convinced that stronger EDI practices can help enable more people to shape a better future where everyone in society can live well.”   


Read the full Manifesto.

The UK has a vibrant impact and social investment market. Yet beneath the headlines of record levels of investment in UK tech and social businesses, social tech ventures continue to tell us that access to appropriate finance is the biggest obstacle to their plans for sustainability and growth. 

To understand more about the barriers they face, and what new approaches they would like to see, we convened a series of roundtable discussions with social tech ventures from across the UK. 

Our research identified several challenges that ventures experience when engaging different investor groups, including misalignment with the dominant VC model, investor aversion to impact-focused business models, and investor hesitancy about tech propositions. 

The participants expressed a clear desire to see more innovative investment models and instruments being used that have a closer alignment with their financial and impact objectives. 

Several key areas were highlighted where the ventures saw opportunities to take a different approach, including exploring models that focus on sustainability as well as growth; developing more revenue-based approaches; and addressing the need for patient and flexible finance. 

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust says, “social tech ventures have consistently evidenced their commercial acumen and the positive impact of their work on society. This report validates what we have known for years – social tech ventures are being negatively impacted by mis-aligned funding models. Going forward, we’ll continue to focus on addressing the investment gap so that ventures can access the capital they need to build a better society.” 


Read the full report. For more information about our investment approach, read our blog Fair play: why sustainable impact needs a more flexible approach to investment’.  

For further enquiries, please contact us via hello@socialtechtrust.org 

13 January 2022 


Today we open the call for applications to our 2022 AI for Environmental Sustainability in partnership with the Met Office and Microsoft.  This is the fourth programme developed and delivered together, through a shared vision of AI that transforms the lives of people and communities. 

Recent research has shown that only 41 percent of UK organisations are on track to reach the government’s 2050 environmental sustainability targets. The programme responds to an urgent need to address is, and challenges in the following areas: 

> Reducing carbon emissions and waste 

> Preserving water  

> Protecting ecosystems 


Social Tech Trust will use their sector-specific expertise to support ventures:

Turn their learning into practice and, ultimately, social impact.

Expand their network through expert partners and deliver support.

> With 1:1 support via a portfolio manager who will help the Cohort connect to the people and organisations in our network who can support their development and help them develop their social transformation vision. 


Applications are open now, until 20th February 2022. Successful ventures will participate in a four-month programme, starting in March 2022 and will benefit from talks, workshops, seminars and 121 sessions in business development, marketing, technical support, social impact, climate science and innovation delivered by thematic experts. 


Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “From floods to forest fires, 2021 was a global wake-up call for how we engage with the planet. In the aftermath of climate disasters and COP26, we’re focusing on the role of AI and social tech in addressing environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. We’re searching for innovative ventures to help create a better world for us all. 

The previous AI for Social Impact cohort consisted of 13 ambitious, purpose-led tech ventures committed to shaping a better future by supporting the UK healthcare and manufacturing industries – two of the areas hardest hit by the pandemic – to recover faster and better from COVID-19. 85% of our leaders were from underrepresented backgrounds or had lived experience of their challenge. Find out more about them in our 2021 ‘Impact Report’.  

Our programmes are open to people from all backgrounds, and we are particularly interested in hearing from founders and teams from under-represented groups. For application criteria, FAQs and to apply, click here. 

Our vision is now more critical than ever before. The pandemic has exposed huge inequality across society, and technology is fundamental in shaping a more equal, inclusive and empowering future for everyone.

Following a strategic review and building on over 12 successful years nurturing social tech innovation, we’re strengthening our organisation to pursue our vision of a world where social transformation drives tech.

We’re recruiting for three new leadership roles to deliver our ambitious growth strategy, specifically in designing and delivering an innovative new investment fund and building multi-year social tech partnerships, to sustain our long-term impact.

This is a unique and exciting opportunity to join a newly formed leadership team within an organisation which spans multiple sectors.

We’re looking for exceptional people to join us on this exciting journey – do you have what it takes?

Read more about the roles:

  • Partnership Development Director
  • Programmes Director
  • Operations Director

Social Tech Trust pioneers a new approach to investment and backs health tech startup Xploro to empower young patients.

21 July 2021, London

Impact investor Social Tech Trust has made a revenue-based investment in Xploro as part of a broader drive to increase the availability and access to flexible and inclusive finance, and meet the needs of diverse, purpose-driven tech ventures as they grow.

Despite the UK being third in the world for investment in impact tech, 62% of social ventures do not have suitable finance in place.  With revenue-based investing gaining traction in the US, Social Tech Trust’s approach is designed to enable early-stage social tech ventures to have more control over their path to growth.

Xploro, which is proven to reduce anxiety, uses augmented reality, gameplay and 3D interactive models of the hospital environment to familiarise children with treatments and procedures. An AI avatar chatbot which uses age-appropriate language to inform children of what to expect, reduces stress for young patients.  Product development is overseen by an Expert Advisory Board of twelve children with different experiences of healthcare.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “Time and time again, social tech ventures like Xploro, that have the potential to transform entire sectors of society, tell us that they are unable to access suitable capital to fuel their growth and make the change they want to see.  Our investment approach is designed to be enabling, not prescriptive.  At an early stage, most ventures don’t know what their growth path will look like, so they need flexibility and optionality to achieve their ambitions. We are thrilled to be able to support Xploro in the next stage of their journey, reaching more children and families going through one of the hardest times in their lives.”

Sutin Yang, Portfolio Manager at Social Tech Trust added “Our investment in Xploro is incredibly exciting not only because of the huge impact Xploro will have on young patients fear of medical treatments but also because we have created a new hybrid investment instrument for the UK, based on popular convertible loans which will provide truly flexible and patient financing for purpose driven tech startups to quickly access the capital they need to scale their impact ”

Dom Raban, co-founder and CEO of Xploro commented, “We need a healthcare system where people are included in decisions about their health and Xploro provides a platform to improve communication, understanding and health outcomes.  This kind of capital is ideally suited to our current fundraising. It will enable us to deliver the next stage of our plans and build our revenues, so we are in a stronger position to determine the right growth path for Xploro”.


For more information about our investment approach, read our blog ‘Fair play: why sustainable impact needs a more flexible approach to investment’

Media Enquiries:

Jessica Dillon – hello@socialtechtrust.org 

24th June 2021 

We are thrilled to welcome Dr Maria A. Nelson to our Board today.  Maria complements our nine existing Board members, five of whom joined us in December 2021, further diversifying the group’s skills, life experiences and backgrounds, which will undoubtedly enrich our work.   

The recent appointments follow a refresh of the Trust’s strategy, which seeks to demonstrate the potential of social transformation to drive tech; increase access to flexible and inclusive funding to enable ventures to grow and to increase the collaboration between social tech focused organisations. 

Maria is Director of Innovation Practice at Digital Catapult, where she has built a team of 30 innovation managers and runs a portfolio of technology innovation and acceleration programmes, helping small companies grow, large companies innovate and innovation ecosystems flourish.  

Maria is passionate about driving purpose led innovation by fostering collaboration between bright minds from industry, startups and academia, and believes that innovation thrives where three intentions combine: a vision to solve real-world problems, an ambition to turn ideas into reality, and the belief that together we can get there, one step at a time.  

Commenting on her appointment, Maria said, “Technology innovation done right – that is, purpose-led and designed with users front and centre – is one of the biggest opportunities we have to address the current and future challenges we face as a society. I am thrilled to be able to contribute by supporting the Social Tech Trust in its work with social tech innovators and communities.” 

On behalf of the team and Board, Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “We are all really excited to welcome Maria to our Board.  She brings exceptional talent and experience of tech innovation, combined with a genuine commitment to our vision for social transformation to drive tech.  This puts us in a great position to deliver against our strategy, which is driven by a deep understanding of social challenges and when coupled with tech expertise to deliver solutions, we can make a big difference to people’s lives.” 

Before joining Digital Catapult, Maria was Innovation Programme Manager at Cisco. Maria has an extensive background in innovation management, strategic communications and programme management, and has published a book about creativity and innovation as core assets of contemporary economies. In her spare time, Maria translates poetry and lyrics, and has recently finished work for a world premiere recording of Polish Jewish poetry and music for a German record label. She lives in Broadstairs, Kent with her husband David and daughter Hannah. 

Maria joins our existing Board members – Bill Liao, Anisah Osman Britton, Hannah Keartland, Nick Wise, Rob Tashima, Russell Johnstone, Sebastien Lahtinen, Sunil Suri and Nick Temple.  We are enormously grateful for the support of Beth Murray, who retired from our Board in May this year, following four years as Vice Chair.    


Meet our Board and Team

We’re thrilled to have been selected for Big Society Capital’s Ideas for Impact programme, working in partnership with two fantastic organisations – Catch 22 and Hatch Enterprise.

Over the coming months, we’ll be working together to develop a programme and fund to support organisations in creating solutions to tackle youth unemployment. Together we will help them to grow their impact and revenues by accessing public sector contracting opportunities.

Social Tech Trust CEO, Ed Evans said, “We’re delighted to be working together with Big Society Capital to test new ways of supporting and investing in organisations with solutions that can help tackle the youth unemployment crisis. As we’ve seen over the past year, partnerships rooted in solidarity and a vision for a positive future are critical if we are to drive much-needed change.”

The Ideas for Impact programme aims to identify ideas to tackle social issues which have the potential to take on social investment as a way to scale and support multiple organisations through an investment fund. Social Tech Trust, Catch 22 and Hatch Enterprise are amongst seven winning teams to receive funding and support to develop their idea for impact.


Social Tech Trust backs 13 start-ups using AI to help transform UK’s health, manufacturing and resource sectors
19th March 2021, Oxford

Thirteen companies who are helping the UK’s healthcare, manufacturing and resource sectors recover from the impact of COVID-19 have been chosen to join the AI for Social Impact 2021 programme – a partnership between Social Tech Trust and Microsoft.

This is the third time the two organisations have partnered on the programme where Social Tech Trust will support the startups to embed impact management at the core of their organisation, and Microsoft will work with them to develop artificial intelligence solutions that can be used to improve people’s lives and the world around us.

Among those selected to take part in the programme, 85% of the cohort’s senior leaders consider themselves to be from underrepresented groups or as having lived experience of the challenge they are addressing.

The cohort includes Fabriq, a software platform designed to make buildings more sustainable. SafetyNet Technologies has created a device that converts fishing boats into scientific vessels, allowing scientists to have a deeper understanding of the oceans, helping reduce wastage in the seafood industry and assist climate modelling. And, C the Signs is a digital platform that uses AI to identify patients at risk of cancer at a much earlier stage.

Bhavagaya Bakshi, CEO of C the Signs, said: “C the Signs is a purpose driven organisation, founded by doctors, that uses AI to identify patients at risk of cancer at the earliest and most curable stage of the disease.  We are delighted to be selected to join the AI for Social Impact Cohort, where social impact is at the heart of technological endeavour, as we set out to create a future where every patient survives cancer.”

The other startups joining the cohort are:

  • CanSense – accurate, rapid, non-invasive, blood diagnostic for the early detection of cancer
  • CarelQ – chronic disease management platform to help clinicians and patients collaborate
  • e-Surgery – API that enables third parties to offer private prescription medication on their website
  • FollowApp Care – bringing dentists and patients together through personalised digital care journeys
  • iLoF – using AI and photonics to build a cloud-based library of diseases biomarkers and biological profiles
  • Medicspot – Improving remote consultations and making healthcare accessible in every community
  • MediShout – helping hospitals become digitally smarter
  • Neuer Energy – simplifies net zero planning, procurement and transparency
  • Podium Analytics – digital platform that aims to transform the relationship young sports players – and their parents, teachers, coaches and schools – have with injury
  • The Data Analysis Bureau – using machine learning solutions to help organisations have impact


The four-month programme offers support on business development, including commercial strategy and raising funds; the fundamentals of AI, including ethical principles, and social impact, including user engagement and managing impact. The start-ups will also receive Azure credits and access to workshops, 1:1 coaching and events to help them grow. They will also receive ongoing support after they leave the programme in June.

Ed Evans, Social Tech Trust CEO, said “As we recover from COVID-19, now more than ever, there is a huge opportunity to transform the way we look after our health, shape the world of work and manage sustainable resources.  This cohort all share a desire to change the world for the better and recognise the valuable role AI can play in shaping our future.  The team and I are excited to welcome these ventures to the Social Tech Trust portfolio and look forward to working with them to deepen their impact on the world.”

Clare Barclay, Microsoft UK CEO, said she was looking forward to seeing the success of the latest cohort. “The passion of these entrepreneurs for solving some of the world’s most critical and challenging societal issues is inspiring,” she said. “I look forward to seeing their success and the impact these great businesses will have on healthcare and manufacturing in the UK”



This spring, we bring you three fantastic events, one insightful podcast and a thought provoking Green Paper guaranteed to get you thinking.

Celebrating accessibility

On Thursday 18th March – join us, together with East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to celebrate the achievements of 12 entrepreneurs whose businesses are focused on accessibility.

Register now

Making an impact with vocational technology

We’ve been working with UFI VocTech Trust and others to explore how VocTech can improve vocational outcomes for people most impacted by the digital divide and at greatest risk from the long-term impact of the pandemic on access to training and jobs.

It’s time for you to get involved too – UFI want to engage with the wider community to help shape what they do next.

Have your say

The new different

On 16th March, NorthInvest is hosting a showcase and investment forum event to inspire and educate the entrepreneurs and investors of the future, explore investment outlooks and insights, share knowledge and showcase the best of Northern tech start-ups.

Hear from our Portfolio Manager, Sutin Yang, alongside Check Warner from Ada Ventures and Chris Parsons from ClearlySo.

Register now

Championing UK tech for good

Just over a week ago, we teamed up with the Department for International Trade to showcase UK tech for good through a webinar and panel discussion featuring some of our amazing social tech alumni.

The session was recorded, so if you’d like to hear more about the UK tech for Good landscape from us, Beam, City MaaS and The Future Fox, you can watch the session now.

Watch now

Bringing equality to impact investing

In this new podcast, the network for European funders, Ariadne, explores gender-lens investing and features from Ceri Goddard from Equality Impact Investing (EII).

We’re pleased to be working with Ceri as part of the EII Taskforce, to support their mission and bring further equality to our own work.

Listen now


For regular updates, you can sign up to our newsletter from the foot of our homepage or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We are thrilled to announce that Social Tech Trust is part of the Access Foundation’s ‘Flexible Finance Recovery’ programme.


COVID-19 has had a devastating impact many aspects of our lives.  Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen just how important tech is to help keep us safe and well and we continue to support organisations to deliver solutions that make the biggest positive difference to people’s lives.

As we begin our recovery, we recognize the importance of organisations being able to access patient and flexible capital as they work towards sustainability and are working to explore revenue-based investment as an alternative to debt and equity.

Within the cohort, Social Tech Trust leads on one of nine proposals covering a range of different “patient” and “flexible” investment products to meet different financing needs in the future.  The proposals will also address issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion, which the programme is particularly prioritising.


Read more about the programme via the Access Foundation’s website.

15th December 2020

It’s our absolute pleasure to welcome five new Trustees to our Board this month. The new appointments double the size of our Board, bringing greater diversity in terms of skills, background and life experience.

The new appointments support a refresh of the Trust’s strategy, which brings a sharper focus on demonstrating the potential for social transformation to drive tech;  increasing access to the flexible and inclusive funding that ventures need to grow; and increasing collaboration between social and tech focused organisations to deliver impact at scale.

Each new Trustee brings an impressive track record in the areas of investment, tech and entrepreneurship – all expertise which will help drive our strategy forward and provide vital guidance and support as we continue to find and back people-led solutions to social challenges.

Our new Trustees will be in great company, alongside our continuing Board – Bill Liao, Hannah Keartland, Sebastien Lahtinen, Beth Murray and Nick Temple.

Joining us in December 2020 are:


Anisah Osman Britton

Anisah is the founder of 23 Code Street, a coding school for women in the UK that uses part of its profits to provide digital skills training to women in the slums of Mumbai.

She is also the CTO of Vinokilo- a fashion company making second hand as desirable and as accessible as first-hand fashion.

She has previously held the role of Director at Backstage Capital, an investment fund for underrepresented founders and Operations Director at The Bakery, a corporate innovation house.


Russell Johnstone

Russell leads the legal team for BT’s three Consumer brands (BT, EE and Plusnet) supporting their voice, broadband, mobile, TV and sport businesses.

He started his career at a leading London law firm advising clients across the media, communications and technology sectors in the UK and internationally, and has held various in-house legal roles within TV and broadcasting.

Russell is also a trustee of the Social Mobility Business Partnership, an organisation dedicated to improving social mobility in the legal and finance professions.


Sunil Suri

Sunil is Head of Ventures and Innovation at Catch22, a national charity building resilience and aspiration in communities across the UK. Sunil brings a strong understanding of the early-stage social venture landscape in the UK  – since 2018, he has led Catch22’s work with social ventures, supporting entrepreneurs to develop solutions that have the potential to transform the delivery of public services.

Sunil previously set up his own social enterprise focused on supporting frontline workers in the homelessness sector after completing a Social Innovation Fellowship at Year Here.  He has also worked for digital bank, Monzo.


Rob Tashima

Rob is Chief Growth Officer at Village Capital, an early-stage impact investor and accelerator. Rob leads initiatives across Village Capital’s innovations and partnerships teams, experimenting with new ways of supporting entrepreneurs and investors.

Previously, he spent a decade at an emerging markets consultancy, where he led field studies on investment issues across Africa. Rob also lived in the Middle East, analysing investment competitiveness across regional markets, and worked on business and regulatory policy for the State of California and at a think tank in San Francisco.

Rob serves on the board of directors of US non-profit, Capitol Area Asset Builders; is an advisor to IssueVoter, a civic engagement venture; and Asoko Insight, an Africa-based corporate data venture.


Nick Wise

Nick is founder and CEO of OceanMind, a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the world’s fisheries. Using satellites and artificial intelligence, OceanMind empowers effective fisheries enforcement and enables more responsible seafood sourcing, increasing compliance and sustainability.

Nick has been designing large scale, highly secure software solutions for over 20 years, using innovative techniques focused on market needs.  Before joining the ranks of social entrepreneurship, Nick’s journey saw him starting an Internet security business, as CTO of a mature SME, and managing product development in a billion-dollar multinational.

Nick now empowers people to solve global issues with technology.


On behalf of our new Trustees, Sunil Suri said “We need greater collaboration if we are to tackle some of the urgent social challenges of our time. That’s why I’m excited to join the board of Social Tech Trust, which has from its earliest days played a starring role in building the UK’s world-leading social tech ecosystem.”

Bill Liao, Chair of Trustees at Social Tech Trust said, “It is a delightful honour to welcome Anisah, Russell, Sunil, Rob and Nick to our Board.  We believe that organisations, driven by a deep understanding of social challenges, that also have deep technical expertise can deliver solutions that make the biggest positive differences to people’s lives.

With the extraordinary talent and experience each of our new trustees bring, we are supercharging our entire team to inspire more organisations to transform lives with tech and we can further tackle some of unintended negative consequences that ill-considered tech has demonstrated.”

Meet our team…


15th December 2020

London, UK: Recycleye, the intelligent waste management start-up, has secured £1.2 million in seed funding, led by venture capital investors MMC Ventures and Playfair Capital, with participation from leading funds Atypical Ventures, Creator Fund, and eolos GmbH. The company has also received grants from InnovateUK and the European Union to develop a computer vision system and affordable robotics, that will combine to create the world’s first fully automated, and deployable material recovery facility.

CEO and co-founder of Recycleye, Victor Dewulf, resigned as a banker at Goldman Sachs in 2019 on a mission to remove the dull, dirty, and dangerous manual jobs plaguing the recycling industry. Manual waste pickers, who are exposed to a multitude of occupational hazards, have resulted in the industry facing an average of 50 percent labour turnover every 6 months. Compounded with China’s waste import ban in 2018, which stopped the UK from exporting 50 percent of its waste, the recycling industry is now at overcapacity.

Recycleye’s vision system, which is capable of detecting and classifying all items in waste streams – broken down by material, object and even brand, removes the need for manual waste pickers. Underpinning the high-level accuracy of their system is the company’s own library of waste images – the largest waste image data set in the world, holding over 2 million trained images and counting.

Investor Henrik Wetter Sanchez of Playfair Capital commented: “As deep technology investors, we were impressed by Recycleye’s AI-led computer vision solution to this growing global problem. Yet it is what Victor and Peter have achieved, working fast and lean, in just a year since inception that gives us confidence that they can truly transform the recycling industry with their technology”.

Until now, Recycleye’s advanced team of world-class research engineers have been working in stealth mode with the company’s partners to build and deploy the vision system in under a year. Their early academic partnerships, comprised of nine computer scientists, with Imperial College London and the Delft University of Technology, were pivotal in building Recycleye’s technology. Recycleye has also benefitted from an early partnership with Microsoft, which provided technological capabilities that has scaled the company from research and development to commercialisation. Notably, the company has been accepted into leading accelerator programmes such as Social Tech Trust, which are bolstering Recycleye’s mission to turn rubbish back into resources.

Recycleye’s advisor, former CEO of Veolia France, Bernard Harambillet, introduced to Recycleye through its partnership with eolos GmbH, commented: “I was impressed by Recycleye’s expertise, and their incredible ability to federate around them, the best academic, technological and industrial skills, as well as to transpose all this knowledge in very concrete cases. I am delighted to support the growth of Recycleye, convinced that they will be able to provide breakthrough technologies to further the creation of an ever more circular economy.”

Recycleye has already secured paid pilots with two out of the three largest waste management players in the UK. The company has already deployed multiple systems on the French market, ahead of plans to expand to wider Europe in the next year. The installed systems have successfully exceeded human performance, enabling their clients to optimise their throughput, and for the first time examine their strategic operations using live data of their waste flows.

Victor Dewulf stated: “Recycleye’s cutting-edge technology is a result of Recycleye’s cutting edge team – this new funding will allow us to fuel our relentless drive to spearhead the green revolution! If we are successful, your children will ask you what waste was.”

Sutin Yang, Portfolio Manager, Social Tech Trust said, “Through technology, Recycleye are bringing a game changing solution to the one of society’s largest problems – waste and recycling. We see them as a transformative startup because rather than just disrupting the sector, they are working closely with industry and business partners to modernise the waste management industry as a whole. It’s fantastic to see our alumni venture grow and scale their social impact”.

Amali de Alwis, UK Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups, commented: “At Microsoft, we are committed to driving positive social transformation using 21st century technology and are excited to be working with Recycleye. Having originally joined Microsoft’s AI for Good Programme, we saw the potential in Recycleye’s vision system which leverages deep learning and AI advances, and their ambition to build the operating system for the waste management industry – the key to accelerating the world’s transition towards a circular economy. We support their goal to enable true commoditisation of waste for the waste management industry and look forward to continuing our strategic and technological partnership with Recycleye as they scale.”

Recycleye are using artificial intelligence and robotics to bring transparency, traceability and accountability to removal chains. In 2021, the company will focus on scaling their affordable robotics from development to commercialisation – moving closer to deploying a fully-automated material recovery facility.

30 November 2020

Today we open the call for applications to our 2021 AI for Social Impact Programme, in partnership with Microsoft and Microsoft for Startups.  This is the third programme developed and delivered together, through a shared vision of AI that transforms the lives of people and communities.

The programme responds to an urgent need to address challenges in two key areas:

Future-proofing healthcare in the areas of:   

> Prevention and early detection of cancer and other conditions

> Revolutionising healthcare settings

> Ensuring equitable access to healthcare

Revolutionising manufacturing & resources in the areas of:

> Creating more sustainable supply chains

> Building the factory & workforce of the future

> Transforming water & energy through renewables


Applications are open now, until 24th January 2021. Successful ventures will participate in a four-month programme, starting in March 2021 and will benefit from resources, advice, and one-to-one support to help them grow and scale the impact of their purpose driven AI initiative.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our health and our work, impacting people across the UK in different ways.  As we begin our recovery, our attention turns to where tech can have the greatest impact on improving lives and communities in the areas hardest hit by the pandemic.  We’re looking for exceptional ventures with lived experience and a vision of a better future.”

The previous AI for Good cohort graduated in October 2020 and included 11 purpose-driven startups focussing on four key areas – AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian action and AI for Cultural Heritage.  You can read more about our previous programmes in ‘Our Impact Journey’ .

Our programmes are open to people from all backgrounds and we are particularly interested in hearing from founders and teams from under-represented groups.

For application criteria, FAQs and to apply, click here.

6 November 2020 – Latest cohort graduates from our 2020 AI for Good Accelerator, in partnership with Microsoft.

Together with our partners Microsoft and Microsoft for Startups, today we celebrated the graduation of our second AI for Good cohort.

Joined online by an audience spanning the social tech ecosystem, the virtual event showcased the eleven purpose-led ventures all using AI to make a positive impact on either the earth, accessibility, humanitarian action, and cultural heritage.

Following over 200 hours of support, which gave them access to the technology, resources and expertise to help them develop their solutions, the founders shared their progress since joining the accelerator programme in February.

Tiernan Mines, CEO of Hello Lamp Post said “The quality of start-ups in the cohort was impressive. It really helped that the companies were all at similar stages and not competing. This allowed everyone to open up and share experiences candidly, which is incredibly liberating for an entrepreneur. We’re extremely thankful to have been part of the AI for Good programme and are excited to have Microsoft and Social Tech Trust as close advisors for our journey going forward.”

The 2020 programme delivered 63 workshops and events aimed at developing their social, business and technical capabilities, whilst also providing 70 hours of specialist one-to-one support to help ventures meet their specific goals. This year has been challenging for all and in response to COVID-19, we shifted to online delivery, flexing our support to meet changing circumstances, for example, meeting urgent funding needs and providing much needed guidance and moral support.

The ventures learnt about topics including impact management, genuine user engagement and social transformation, alongside business, data and AI. They are leaving the programme with more closely aligned social impact and commercial goals and have already raised £1.5 million since joining us in February.

Andy Smith, Chief Partnership Officer at MiiCare said, “The conversations we are now having with potential partners, customers and investors include knowledge and skills we gained on the programme. Even mentioning that we are part of the 2020 AI for Good cohort has a positive impact, as the programme has a very positive reputation.”

The ventures graduating from the cohort are:

Akari – developed a conversational app to help with accessibility needs.

Baobab – Using technology to enable access to justice at scale for law clinics, community advice centres, and pro bono legal operations.

BeneTalk – World’s first wearable speech tracker and digital coach for speech fluency therapy.

EcoSync – Cloud-based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms.

Good Boost –   Provides affordable and accessible therapeutic exercise programmes through cutting-edge technology.

Hello Lamp Post – Helps cities better understand, communicate with and educate its citizens through playful conversations with street objects like statues via text messages.

miiCARE –  Developed MiiCube with built-in sensors and Monica, a personal AI-based digital health companion to help the elderly live more independently and be safe, healthy and happy.

MyCognition – Tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform.

OrxaGrid – A socially driven team that envisions energy optimisation for a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future for all.

Signly – Has developed an internet browser extension that offers sign language for web pages

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust, said “Congratulations to all of the ventures graduating from the AI for Good Accelerator programme.  Due to COVID-19, it has been a really challenging time, which has shown just why we need purpose driven ventures like this to succeed in addressing big social challenges.  We’re really proud to have worked with these teams and look forward to seeing how they continue on their impact journey”.  

And there’s exciting news – our third generation of the accelerator programme delivered in partnership with Microsoft, will aim to support the UK’s Covid recovery and will be launched in the coming weeks.  Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media via the foot of our homepage to find out more.





As technology continues to play a vital role in addressing the challenges we face, we’re incredibly proud to share an update on how we’ve been supporting purpose-led ventures to transform lives with tech.

While the global pandemic highlights how important tech is to help keep us safe and well, we think it’s timely to reflect on our progress. We’re calling this report ‘Our Impact Journey’ to recognise the changing shape of our approach.

Read our report to find out more about our impact journey during the last 2 years as Social Tech Trust.

Join our online workshop and learn more about how to manage your social impact.

> Register here! 


What we’ll cover:

In this interactive session, Social Tech Trust Impact Manager, Natalie Tucker, will share our insights from working directly with over 300 socially motivated ventures and offer you practical tips for managing your own impact.

By the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of:

> What impact management is
> How it can be useful
> How you can get started

You will leave with the beginnings of your own simple framework to start measuring your impact.

Who should attend?

The session is designed for anyone with an idea or an initiative which aims to have a social impact, whether you already have a start-up, you’re developing an idea, work for a charity or simply want to understand more about impact management.

Date and Time

Thursday, 24 September 2020

14:00 – 15:30 BST

> Register here! 

20th March 2020


The outbreak of COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on almost every aspect of our lives and an immediate impact on many of the social tech ventures that we support.  The uncertain future is challenging, but we want to reassure the organisations we work with that we’re here to support you through these difficult times.


The health and well-being of our team and the community of ventures is our top priority.  We’ve taken a number of steps to make sure that we continue to provide the best possible support we can, while keeping everyone safe and healthy:

> We’ve stopped all face to face meetings and events and moved our AI for Good Programme, in partnership with Microsoft, to online delivery only.

> We’ve set up a new online community for peer to peer support for our venture portfolio and alumni to share resources, news and advice to help our ventures through this exceptional time.

> Along with a wider group of funders, we recognise that the COVID-19 outbreak is an exceptional event that will have an impact on civil society groups, and want to offer reassurance that we stand with the sector during this time. We have signed the COVID-19 funder statement.

> There are many useful resources for social enterprises, charities and startups in circulation and we’ll continue to share what we learn on our Twitter feed, @SocialTechTrust.

>As a small organisation ourselves, we understand that everyone is juggling multiple priorities right now and appreciate our ventures may need to pivot on their approach and turn their immediate attention to other things.

>Like much of the population, we’re embracing the benefits of tech and are all working from home, while managing the demands of team capacity. We still aim to be on hand to be a critical friend, so if you’re part of our portfolio or alumni and need a little help and advice, please do get in touch with us at hello@socialtechtrust.org.  We may not have all the answers you need but we will aim to point you in the right direction

>We encourage you to let us know about your challenges and concerns about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on your organisation. Behind the scenes we’re working hard with our partners to make sure you have the support you need, so be sure to let us know how we can help.


Best wishes,


CEO, Social Tech Trust


12 March 2020

Mayor of London’s flagship tech scheme, the Civic Innovation Challenge reveals award winners 


  • Raven Science to help tackle violent extremism online through anonymous reporting
  • 3D Repo making planning system more accessible to help tackling housing crisis
  • Six companies selected to work with TfL to tackle freight congestion


Two of the capital’s most innovative tech companies have won vital funding from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, after responding to his call to tackle key challenges facing the capital.

The winners were selected from more than 125 entrants to the second round of the Civic Innovation Challenge, delivered in partnership with Social Tech Trust and Microsoft.

Raven Science will work with the Metropolitan Police Service to develop their proposals to counter violent extremism online, while 3D Repo will move ahead with their plans to make the planning system more accessible to Londoners.

Raven Science’s winning proposal to tackle extremism will enable members of the public to report online violent extremist content through a smartphone app while remaining anonymous.

This will complement the Mayor of London’s ongoing work in this area, which includes recently launching a new £800,000 fund – with support from Google’s philanthropic arm – to empower communities to tackle violent extremism and fight intolerance across the capital.

Meanwhile, 3D Repo are making the planning system more accessible to Londoners without technical planning knowledge through a clear, well-designed online system which can be accessed via the cloud.

This is designed to make Londoners become more aware of future developments across the city – giving them the information and confidence to engage with public consultations on current planning applications, which will in turn help them play their part in tackling London’s housing crisis.

Each winner will be awarded a contract worth £40,000 as well as the opportunity to test their ideas with experts in each field and Londoners directly, through City Hall’s Talk London platform.

The Civic Innovation Challenge brings together London’s public and private sector with tech companies, which were asked to pitch new solutions to key issues facing the capital.

For tech startups and SMEs, the scheme offers the chance to develop products with the needs of Londoners firmly in mind. Companies taking part have access to unique insight, expertise, cutting-edge data and pilot sites, as well as mentoring and business support from City Hall’s partners. This gives participants the chance to develop the commercial potential of their ideas as well as providing solutions to the city’s challenges.

The Challenge forms part of the Mayor’s wider efforts to make London a ‘test-bed city’ for technological innovation which brings real benefits to Londoners’ lives, as well as supporting the best and brightest from the capital’s world-leading tech sector.

A further six companies have been selected to work with Transport for London to tackle road congestion caused by freight deliveries, with each winning £20,000 to develop their ideas. They are:

> AppyWay – a digital tool which helps organisations manage traffic flows, parking solutions and other kerbside activity.

> EMSOL – an easy-to-use dashboard to help organisations use data to take action on air quality.

> ENSO – developing a new generation of more energy efficient, durable and sustainable tyres for electric vehicles.

> Fernhay – creating zero-emission products for freight deliveries in cities.

> Ford Mobility – designing, growing and investing in emerging mobility services and connectivity solutions.

> Humanising Autonomy – developing real-time behaviour analysis software for accident and near-miss prevention to increase safety for vulnerable road users.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in the world – but we face some significant challenges. My flagship tech scheme – the Civic Innovation Challenge – is a unique opportunity for London’s best and brightest tech companies to tackle some of the capital’s most pressing problems.

“I’m so impressed with the high calibre of entrants this year and the standard of competition means I’m sure we’ll see some really exciting projects taken to the next level – including by gaining feedback directly from Londoners themselves.

“It’s only through the public and private sector working together that we’ll come up with the best ideas we need to help improve Londoners’ lives the future.”


Programme Development Manager at Social Tech Trust, Anne Radl, said: “What I love about the Civic Innovation Challenge is that it has helped some of London’s most ambitious tech startups take a people-centred approach to make a lasting change in their communities, while expanding their business opportunities at the same time.

“The results have been inspiring – living proof we can shape tech to deliver the future we all want to see.  Congratulations to the winners and to all organisations that took part in the programme.”



11th February 2020

Eight of the capital’s innovative tech start-ups have been shortlisted for funding from the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge, to counter violent extremism online and to help make the planning system more accessible.

More than 125 entrants have been whittled down to the eight finalists in the second round of the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, ​which will work with City Hall and the Metropolitan Police Service to develop their proposals to help tackle some of the key challenges facing the city.

Two winners – one per category – will each be awarded a contract worth £40,000.

The Civic Innovation Challenge, ​developed and delivered in partnership with Social Tech Trust, with Microsoft, brings together London’s public and private sector with tech companies, which were asked to pitch new solutions to key issues facing the capital.

In addition, another 20 companies will work with Transport for London and pitch to Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles – one of London’s ‘Innovator Cities’ partners – to try to secure funding and support in developing their ideas.

Finally, in the coming months, a further six companies will be selected from a separate shortlist of 20 to work with Transport for London to receive £20,000 each to tackle road congestion caused by freight deliveries.

The eight start-ups which have been shortlisted in two categories are:


Making a more accessible planning system:

  • 3D Repo – bringing down the barriers to collaboration for construction professionals
  • Agile Datum – specialising in delivering cost-effective AI solutions for the public and private sectors
  • LandHawk – helping developers identify land which positively impacts the environment and enhance communities
  • The Future Fox – a platform helping planners collaborate with communities on ambitious urban schemes


Countering violent extremism online:

  • Data Language – experts in data-driven product innovation and mission-critical AI platforms
  • Faculty – developed and tested a new AI algorithm designed to detect and flag terrorist propaganda videos
  • Logically – a social enterprise using artificial intelligence to improve how we consume and interact with information online
  • Raven Science – an intelligent software using machine learning to find, classify, and analyse extremist videos


Programme Development Manager at Social Tech Trust, Anne Radl, said: “For the last three weeks, we’ve been working closely with some incredible ventures to co-develop their innovations and ensure that they’ll improve the lives of Londoners.

“Congratulations to the eight ventures moving into the final phase of the Civic Innovation Challenge. It’s our pleasure to continue working with them as they further refine their ideas.”


London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “The Civic Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity for tech companies to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing our capital.

“I’m really impressed with the calibre of entrants this year and the standard of competition means I’m sure we’ll see some really exciting projects taken to the next level.

“In important areas such as planning and countering extremism online, it’s only through the public and private sector working together that we’ll come up with the best ideas we need for the future.”


Find out more about the Civic Innovation Challenge: https://tech.london/challenges 

7th February 2020

Companies that aim to transform how we recycle, make websites more accessible for people who are Deaf, and give the public a greater say in how their towns change have joined our programme that shapes AI to tackle challenges in society.

The latest AI for Good cohort, based in London, contains 12 start-ups from across Britain who will be given access to the technology, resources and expertise that will help them develop and launch their products and solutions.

The programme is run by Microsoft and Social Tech Trust. It is open to entrepreneurs from the UK who are developing a solution that focuses on one of four areas – AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility, AI for Humanitarian Action and AI for Cultural Heritage. By helping grow innovative ideas into established companies, Microsoft and Social Tech Trust hope to create a more sustainable and accessible world.

Recycleye is among the new companies that joined the cohort. Its founder, Victor Dewulf, aims to revolutionise the recycling process – from companies creating materials, to people putting packaging in bins, through to sorting it at large waste facilities. It does this by using cameras to identify recyclable objects and what they are made of, enabling them to be automatically sorted at a waste plant.

“Our motto is that waste doesn’t exist, it’s just materials in the wrong place,” Dewulf, 23, said. “The reason a lot of materials aren’t recycled is because the cost of sorting it at plants is too expensive, and that’s because the waste industry hasn’t really changed in the past 50 years. To sort different types of recyclable material, the industry is using a lot of large and incredibly expensive sensors, which can miss some items. Using computer vision means we can use just one sensor for the whole plant that’s much more cost effective.”

Peter Hedley, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, added: “Reducing the cost of sorting suddenly makes waste valuable. When the economics reverse and companies start to make a profit from their waste stream, recycling rates will dramatically increase. That’s a true boost to the circular economy and a huge change for the environment.”

Signly is another new entrant into the cohort. The company has developed an internet browser extension that offers sign language for web pages.

For many Deaf people who communicate using British Sign Language (BSL), they consider it their first language, ahead of English. However, a lack of provisioning for deaf people online, combined with a shortage of interpreters, means BSL users are often excluded from essential content.

“If you’re Deaf and your account is overdrawn at your bank, you might have to wait weeks for an interpreter, ask friends or family who can use BSL or contact a deaf organisation to use the website and sort it out,” said Signly ambassador Tim Scannell, himself profoundly deaf since birth. “All that takes time and the overdraft is costing you money. Now, BSL users can self-serve.

“Because the tool can work on any website for any sign language, Signly helps make the online world more Deaf-friendly. As far as we know, this is a world first.”

On sites where the content owner has enabled Signly, Deaf people who want a particular web page signed can request it through the browser extension. Signly will use qualified translators to create a signed version and use Microsoft Azure cloud to upload it for use online.

“Signly provides Deaf people with more independence and gives them the ability to find out for themselves, at a time and place of their choosing, about all the stuff that everyone else knows about through the internet,” added Scannell, 41.

Meanwhile, Hello Lamp Post lets people have playful conversations with street objects such as statues, benches and post boxes via text messages or popular conversation apps. The service is launched in conjunction with local authorities, developers and construction companies, and Chief Executive and co-founder Tiernan Mines sees it as a great way to get vital feedback on issues in the community.

For example, texting a special number on a sculpture in a park may start a conversation that includes the question: “what would you change about this area?” The person may reply “more cycle parking in the city centre”, which would be directly fed back to the council.

“We want to help local authorities make better informed decisions, while giving people more of a voice in the decisions made about their community,” Mines, 30, said. “The appeal of Microsoft’s AI for Good cohort for us was that it focused on business development, improving AI capabilities and measuring social impact. If I could have chosen what the programme would look like, that was exactly a match.”

The other companies in the cohort are:

Akari – helps companies use technology to support employees as individuals

Baobab – provides legal tools that track cases, manage teams and ensure privacy and security

BeneTalk – a digital coach and tracker for fluency therapy

Chatterbox – online language learning for professionals and organisations

Good Boost – transforms public swimming pools into therapy spaces for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions

EcoSync – cloud-based platform helping commercial buildings to stop heating empty rooms

miiCARE – specialises in the application of AI in the area of geriatrics

MyCognition – tracks, treats and prevents poor mental health through a cognitive assessment and training platform

OrxaGrid – provides accurate and secure analytics that provide efficiency improvements for energy networks


As well as support and technology, they will also be given space to run their business in the Microsoft for Startups office in Shoreditch.

Ed Evans, Chief Executive of Social Tech Trust, said: “The inspiring start-ups in this cohort are all driven by their vision of a better future.  We’ve developed the AI for Good Programme in partnership with Microsoft to nurture the transformative innovation that will help them realise their goals. Our four-month impact-led curriculum brings together cross-sector experts to provide these promising purpose-led tech ventures with the support they need to shape our future society.  We can’t wait to start working with them.”

Amali de Alwis, Managing Director of Startups UK at Microsoft, said: “These 12 companies are some of the brightest and most cutting-edge businesses in Britain, and I am delighted to welcome to them to our cohort. They are all aiming to make the world a better place by using technology to tackle complex problems – from accessibility and heritage to sustainability. Microsoft is keen to help them make an even bigger positive impact on the world around them, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this exciting stage of their journey.”

The cohort starts on February 7 and runs for four months.

Twenty-three tech startups have been selected to join the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge for 2019/2020, to develop innovative solutions to key challenges facing London.

Over 125 applications have been whittled down to a shortlist of twenty-three companies, who will work directly with Challenge Partners from the Metropolitan Police Service, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London to develop the proposal they submitted in response to three challenges:


> Countering violent extremism online

> Democratising planning

> More efficient freight in London


Companies will benefit from a five-week curriculum delivered by experts from Social Tech Trust and partners including Greater London Authority and Microsoft, to access knowledge, expertise and insights of our networks. They also get the opportunity to validate their solutions and a route to market.


The companies invited onto the programme to tackle the challenge of  ‘Democratising Planning’ are:


3D Repo LTD – Bringing down the barriers to collaboration for construction professionals.

Agile Datum – Specialising in delivering cost effective AI solutions for the public and private sector that transform your organisations and give you the competitive edge.

Bulbshare – Helping the world’s leading organisations stay ahead of the game through customer collaboration.

CycleStreets Ltd – A social enterprise, working to get more people cycling through the provision of journey planning and tools for advocacy.

Emu Analytics Limited – Creating better services, places & communities by understanding location data.

Hello Lamp Post – A communication platform that brings citizens into urban decision making. It encourages people to strike up playful, text-based conversations with street objects using their mobile phones.

LandHawk Software Services Limited – Helping land finders and property developers identify land that positively impacts our environment and enhance the communities that we live, work and play in.

Open Systems Lab – A non-profit R&D lab working on open digital innovation for industry and society, currently working to transform architecture, construction and cities.

Skyscape Technologies -Unlocking urban rooftop space to contribute to a sustainable future.

Titan Reality – Indream (the Proptech brand of Titan Reality) develops immersive spaces, technologies and infrastructures enabling businesses, property developers and organizations to design and deliver immersive customer experiences.

The Future Fox – A digital platform helping planners collaborate with communities on ambitious urban planning schemes.

Tranquil City – Exploring our relationship with tranquillity in the urban environment to promote health, wellbeing and balance.

ZEG.ai – Helping clients create 3D in the fastest way possible.


The companies invited onto the programme to tackle the challenge of  ‘Countering Violent Extremism Online’ are:


Cubica Technology – Building state of the art algorithms, real-time software, and highly specialised turn-key systems for analysing and exploiting digital media content to detect criminal behaviour, protect assets and help save lives.

Data Language -Data Language experts in data driven product innovation and mission-critical AI platforms.

Faculty Science – Developed and tested a new AI algorithm designed to detect and flag terrorist propaganda video content to stop it ever being uploaded and spread on the internet.

Groundswell Project – Initiates and assists local communities to promote harmony and challenge hate.

Krzana – An AI engine that provides access to on-the-ground reports, images and videos, local and international news and blogs, public discussion, and content shared across social media.

Logically – A  social enterprise specialising in the use of artificial intelligence to improve how we consume and interact with information online.

LocalHalo – A smart messenger for chatting with neighbours powered by alerts.

Prodikta Technologies – Using the latest technologies to interpret global crime data, combined with advanced analytics and user collaboration.

Raven Science – An intelligent software using machine learning to find, classify, and analyse extremist videos.

Renato Software – Senso. cloud is an AI driven cloud based platform for online user threat detection.


The finalists for the TfL challenge will be announced soon.

In February, up to 10 companies will be further shortlisted to compete for a £40,000 contract to deliver a pilot project together with their Challenge Partner.

Later in the year, three companies – one per challenge – will be awarded the £40,000 contract to test their idea further.

The second round of the Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge was launched by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in November 2019 at a reception, hosted by partners, Microsoft, at their Flagship Store on Oxford Circus.


Find out more about the programme at tech.london/challenges

Mayor of London launches 2019 Civic Innovation Challenge, in partnership with Social Tech Trust

  • Innovation programme leverages London’s world-leading tech for good scene, bringing together tech startups, leading organisations and London communities to co-create innovative solutions to transform London communities.
  • The Civic Innovation Challenge is a collaboration between cross sector partners – Mayor of London, Social Tech Trust, Microsoft, the Metropolitan Police Service, the Greater London Authority, and Transport for London.
  • Tech startups will benefit from a five-week curriculum delivered by industry experts, the opportunity to validate their solutions and a route to market.

The 2019 Civic Innovation Challenge has been launched today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan at a reception, hosted by partners, Microsoft, at their flagship UK store on Oxford Circus.

The programme, developed and delivered in partnership with Social Tech Trust, offers start-ups the opportunity to work alongside leading organisations and co-create innovative tech solutions with London communities.  Now in its second year, the Civic Innovation challenge is seeking solutions to countering violent extremism online, helping London meet its housing needs and making the movement of goods and services in London safer, cleaner and more efficient.

Up to 40 startups selected to take part in the programme will benefit from business support and a comprehensive curriculum of workshops and training sessions from Social Tech Trust and Microsoft.  They will work alongside Challenge Partners from the Metropolitan Police Service, the Greater London Authority, and Transport for London to access data, networks and expertise. Participants will co-create their solutions directly with market users.

Winners will be announced in March 2020, with each Challenge Partner awarding one team the opportunity to work with them for a further two months to test, validate and roll-out their solution. They will receive £40,000 to support them in this process.  Applications are open until 12th December 2019.

The programme presents an exciting opportunity to drive social transformation in London communities.  With 36 percent of tech investment in the UK focused on London[i], there is a wealth of tech talent and innovation that can be harnessed to tackle some of the significant and persistent social challenges facing Londoners.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “Like many cities around the world, London is facing a number of complex social challenges.  In a city which is already a thriving hub of tech innovation, we have a brilliant opportunity to leverage that talent in pursuit of social transformation.  I am confident that the Civic Innovation Challenge will demonstrate how the drive to address social challenges can inspire tech innovation and improve the lives of Londoners.”

London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, said: “The Civic Innovation Challenge is a unique opportunity for tech companies to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing our capital. I would encourage London’s tech talent to put their creativity to the test and help solve these challenges.”

The Civic Innovation Challenge is open for applications from 11 November to 12 December 2019.  Apply now.  


[i] https://technation.io/report2019/




1st October 2019

Social Tech Trust, in partnership with Microsoft and Microsoft for Start-ups, today launched their second AI for Good Accelerator Programme.  The programme supports the organisation’s vision to transform lives with tech and sees the welcome return of the collaboration between the organisations, bringing together their social tech, AI and business expertise.

Applications are open until 15th November 2019, via the Microsoft for Start-ups website.  Successful ventures will participate in a four-month accelerator programme, starting in February 2020 and will benefit from resources, advice, and one-to-one support to help them scale their purpose driven AI initiative.

The programme will promote transformative change through AI in four key areas:

  • AI for Earth, designed for organisations deploying AI to build a sustainable future and address global environmental concerns spanning agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, and water.
  • AI for Accessibility, focused on organisations with AI solutions that help everyone in their daily life, employment, and communication and connection.
  • AI for Humanitarian Action, for non-profit and humanitarian organisations providing disaster responses, human rights protection, and support for refugees, displaced people or children.
  • AI for Cultural Heritage, aiming to support people and organisations focused on the preservation and enrichment of cultural heritage.


Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “We have an exciting opportunity to help more social tech ventures to shape the future we want to see, using AI. I’m inspired by the growth we’ve seen from the 11 ventures in our first cohort and can’t wait to see the very best UK social tech innovations that emerge as we open applications for our second AI for Good programme, in partnership with Microsoft.”

Microsoft, Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa, said:

“AI is one of the most important tools we have to accelerate innovation at the speed and scale we need to address climate change and other important societal challenges. It’s exciting to see Microsoft’s AI for Good initiative evolving to engage new partners and help catalyse social impact organisations across the UK.”

The previous AI for Good Accelerator cohort which graduated in 2019, focused on AI for accessibility and AI for environmental sustainability, includes a revolutionary smart-cane for visually impaired, from WeWalk; interactive physiotherapy programmes in Virtual Reality from Immersive Rehab; and green energy charging for electric vehicles from ev.energy.


Visit Microsoft for Start-ups for application criteria, FAQs and to apply.

Our Tech to Unite Us cohort of ventures brushed away the back to school blues this month as they wowed us with a veritable assortment of awards and nominations.  Awards and recognition for our portfolio included:

> Carefree who picked up the award for Third Sector 2019 Breakthrough of the Year in recognition of their work to create a sharing economy to give carers a break.

> Beam, the world’s first crowdfunding network for homeless people, celebrated their 2nd birthday and won the Community Impact Award 2019 at the Tech 4 Good Awards in August and were selected as one of the UK’s TOP 100 Companies to work at by Escape the City.

> The Tribe Project was recognised by UK law firm Mills and Reeve in their Innovation 50 list, as one of the most innovative companies in the Midlands.

> Chatterbox, the online language learning programme for professionals, powered by refugee talent, has been shortlisted for the UK tech awards 2019, tech for good award. Good luck Chatterbox!


Not to be outdone, our AI for Good cohort, in partnership with Microsoft and Vodafone Techstarters are also lining the mantelpiece in recognition of their achievements.

> ev.energy picked up ‘World’s Best Energy Startup 2019’ award from Free Electrons 2019 for their software that optimises electric vehicle charging, making it greener, cheaper and simpler for customers.

> Founder and CEO of Shock Innovations, Amanda Pickford scooped the award for Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards for ThermaFY –software that makes it easy to see, measure and report on thermal imaging.

> Isabel Van De Keere, founder and CEO of Immersive Rehab has been nominated as a finalist in the “Inventor of the year” category of the Tech Alliance Awards, that celebrate diversity and inclusion within UK’s tech sector.

> Vodafone Techstarter, Walk With Path  was awarded the top prize of €1 million for improved mobility of older people by the EU research and innovation programme under Horizon2020.  The innovative solution of Path Finder improves the lives of older people with reduced mobility, specifically those living with Parkinson’s disease.

>Vertical farmers, Lett Us Grow, from our Vodafone Techstarter cohort, was also named as one of the TOP 100 most progressive places to work in the UK by

Congratulations to all!

Follow our ventures’ progress on Twitter: @SocialTechTrust and on LinkedIn: Social Tech Trust.

The Tech to Connect Challenge, delivered by Nesta for DCMS, aims to help civil society develop their early stage ideas for tech that combats social isolation.

Social Tech Trust CEO, Ed Evans has been invited to be one of 6 Judges to sit on the expert Judging Panel. Ed’s involvement in the programme supports the Trust’s belief that tech can reach its transformative potential when driven by social purpose and can shift society towards more connected, inclusive and empowered communities, where everyone has the power to make change.

The Judges offer a wealth of experience and insights, covering social isolation, technology and civil society. They will determine which entries are taken forward first as Finalists and then ultimately as the Winner and Runners Up.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “I’m excited about judging the Tech to Connect Challenge because it supports communities – one of the three core areas where we believe tech has the greatest opportunity to transform lives.  By collaborating with civil society to unearth game changing tech innovation, I’m confident that Tech to Connect Challenge will create meaningful social impact.”

The Challenge prize will help finalists from England’s charities, social enterprises and social ventures, develop their ideas into working prototypes and plan for their implementation. The £1 million prize will be split into £500,000 of business support from Nesta Challenges with the other £500,000 being awarded as financial support.

10 finalists will each receive a £25,000 grant to use in the development of their prototypes; from these 10 finalists, 2 runners up will each receive a £75,000 cash prize and 1 winner will receive a £100,000 cash prize.

Winners will be announced in March 2020.

Read more about the Tech to Connect Challenge: https://techtoconnect.challenges.org/


Eleven ventures will join the four-month immersive accelerator programme to develop their AI for good solutions.  All ventures taking part have a social mission and are focused in the areas of either AI for accessibility or AI for environmental sustainability.

The programme, developed in partnership with Microsoft, will help demonstrate that the biggest opportunity for AI is not for AI to shape our future, but for people to shape AI to make the future we want to see.  The social business cohort will benefit from a curriculum delivered by industry experts and thought leaders, engage in workshops and have access to a global network of successful scale-up entrepreneurs.

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “If we’re merely passive consumers of tech, we’ll have no control over its direction and little influence on its impact on our lives. By collaborating with Microsoft on the AI for Good Social Business Programme, we have the opportunity to shape AI to increase accessibility and benefit environmental sustainability.  This means we’ll have a better chance of achieving the future that we want to see.”

Eve Joseph, Microsoft UK Responsibility Manager said, “The cohort have been selected on the basis that they are using innovative technologies to solve complex challenges which affect society at large. From boosting crop yields, to improving the lives of those living with accessibility needs. I’m thrilled that we have been able to create this programme and these 11 inspiring organisations are at the heart of it.  I’m really excited to see what they can achieve.”

The successful teams are:


Access Earth

Access Earth is a free platform that allows you to find and rate places by your accessibility needs.




Agricompas specialises in agricultural data analytics to create knowledge and decision support for all users in major crop value chains.




Agrimetrics provides, connects and analyses complex data to drive greater productivity for agrifood businesses and deliver food sustainably.




The BetterSpace mission is to turn the tide on mental illness, by creating a world-leading mental wellbeing recommendation algorithm.




City MAAS has a vision to reduce congestion and emission in smart cities using Blockchain and AI. City MAAS Assist is a pilot programme that helps people with disability to travel in smart cities.




ev.energy enables electric vehicle owners to enjoy savings on the cost of EV charging and a green motoring experience, delivered from renewable electricity sources.




iDyslexic is a new social app for those living & working with dyslexia & ADHD, with built-in secure classrooms connecting parents, students, teachers and caseworkers.



Immersive Rehab

Immersive Rehab creates interactive physiotherapy programmes in Virtual Reality that improve the effectiveness of physical & neuro-rehabilitation.



Shock Innovations

ThermaFY from Shock Innovations, simplifies thermography by making it easier to compare and interpret thermal images.



Upstream Health

Upstream Health provides innovative technologies and new service approaches for health and social care teams, making a positive difference to clinicians, patients and families.




WeWALK is the world’s most revolutionary smart cane developed for the visually impaired people.


Vodafone UK today announced the winners of the first Vodafone Techstarter awards, shining a light on the start-ups developing technology solutions with a social purpose. The Techstarter programme has been created in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation and Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures.

The winners were revealed as Code 4000, Full Fact, The Children’s Society and Wayfindr in the not-for-profit category; and Alice SI, Blakbear, Lettus Grow and Walk With Path and in the for-profit category. The Techstarter Champion’s award – voted for by Vodafone employees – went to The Children’s Society and LettUs Grow. The ventures use a range of technologies, from mobile apps and the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence and blockchain.

In addition to sharing a prize fund of £300,000, winners will benefit from access to industry and technology expertise from Vodafone and Social Tech Trust, enabling them to take their innovations from prototype to market readiness. This will include coaching, mentoring and commercial advice.

The awards ceremony, hosted by television presenter and tech expert Jason Bradbury, included a compelling presentation from GiveVision, an organisation that created a wearable headset for people who are visually impaired. It has grown from start-up to a well-established organisation thanks in part to partner involvement and funding from Social Tech Trust.

Nick Jeffery, Chief Executive, Vodafone UK, commented: “The range and calibre of the Vodafone Techstarter winners show that the UK is home to a thriving social tech sector. We believe some of the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation. These awards are just one way we can recognise, celebrate and support start-ups developing and using technology as a force for good.”

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust, said: “Vodafone Techstarter is a hugely powerful platform that showcases the potential of partnership and demonstrates how cross-sector organisations can work together to create something truly inspiring. I’m looking forward to seeing how these start-ups grow and thrive with the resources and support provided.”

Television presenter Jason Bradbury added: “I’m really optimistic about technology and the benefits it can bring to our society and economy. The Techstarter programme – and the support from Vodafone and Social Tech Trust – will make a real difference to social tech in the UK.”

Vodafone Techstarter Not-for-Profit Award Winners (supported by the Vodafone Foundation)

Code4000 UK CIC (Hampshire) – Code4000’s Global Prison Curriculum provides vocational training in computer programming, with a view to enhancing the employability of ex-offenders and helping to reduce reoffending.

Full Fact (London) – Automated fact-checking tools enable Full Fact to help prevent the spread of fake news, and even identify and fact check some claims automatically in real time.

The Children’s Society (London) – The Children’s Society Reality Check programme pioneers the use of immersive virtual reality environments to help children manage and overcome anxiety.

Wayfindr (London) – Wayfindr uses smartphone technology to give vision-impaired people the power to navigate complex indoor environments independently.


Vodafone Techstarter For-Profit Award Winners (supported by Vodafone Business)

Alice SI Ltd (London) – Alice is a funding platform for social and environmental projects that promotes data transparency using blockchain technology. Alice allows donors and investors to track exactly what impact their money makes, while reducing reporting costs for charities.

BlakBear Ltd (London) – BlakBear Agri uses new sensors and software to increase the yield farmers can get from their land to feed a growing world sustainably. It combines electrochemical sensing innovations with statistical algorithms to understand soil nitrogen levels and provide optimal nitrogen fertilisation instructions.

LettUs Grow (Bristol) – LettUs Grow designs aeroponic farming technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms to help deliver higher crop yields and reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

Walk With Path Ltd (Essex) – Path Feel is an insole that acts in real time by vibrating in response to pressure. This results in the user being able to feel the floor and stay balanced. It also tracks walking to aid diagnosis.




Notes to Editors

About Vodafone Techstarter
Vodafone Techstarter was developed in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s charitable arm, and Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures. It aims to uncover and develop ideas that harness the power of technology, connectivity and innovation to improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility.

The Vodafone Techstarter award fund of £300,000 is being distributed as follows:

  • Not for profit Vodafone Techstarter awards – four winners receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind. Supported by the Vodafone Foundation (UK registered charity number 1089625).
  • For profit Vodafone Techstarter awards – four winners each receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind. Supported by Vodafone Business.
  • Vodafone Techstarter Champion’s awards – two winners, voted by Vodafone employees, each receive £10,000

The Techstarter judging panel were: Amparo Moraleda, Non-Executive Director, Vodafone Group Plc; Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK; Bill Liao, SOSV, CoderDojo and Social Tech Trust Chair; Clare McDonald, Business Editor, Computer Weekly; James Heath, Director, Digital Infrastructure, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Jen Hyatt, Founder of Troo.ai, Eartime and Big White Wall; Nick Jeffery, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone UK; and Patrick Knight, Chief Information Officer, Travis Perkins.

Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures has received the backing of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to set up the Social Tech Venture Fund.
The announcement demonstrates the Government’s commitment to encouraging greater access to capital to enable socially motivated tech ventures to grow and scale their social impact.  It will address many of the challenges outlined in the Civil Society Strategy, with a focus on social transformation in three key areas; communities, health and financial inclusion.

In his keynote speech at DotEveryone’s Responsible Tech 2019 event, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport said, “While investment in UK tech continued to be the highest in Europe in 2018, social tech ventures can often find it challenging to raise appropriate capital at the right time. We need to encourage greater access to capital as these ventures scale and grow their social and environmental impact so we are supporting the foundation of a fund of up to £30 million of equity investment in social tech ventures. This fund will be run by the Social Tech Trust who have almost ten years of experience in supporting socially-transformative technology.”

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said, “We’re delighted that DCMS are demonstrating their support of this pioneering fund that will address the gap in the availability of equity investment, required to scale transformative purpose-driven tech ventures.  This presents a fantastic opportunity for us to challenge tech to work harder for the good of society.”

In addition to supporting the set-up of the Social Tech Venture Fund, DCMS will also support the development of Social Tech Trust’s programme of technical assistance.  This vital non-financial support will offer ventures access to the skills and expertise needed for their long-term growth and sustainability.

Social Tech Trust has over a decade of experience in supporting social tech ventures and are guided by a clear vision for social transformation to be the driving force behind tech.  Their portfolio includes start-ups transforming the way society operates – from Feebris, a mobile health platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to enable non-medical users to diagnose and monitor complex health conditions in the community, to Tribe, a social action initiative that uses data to identify and up-skill members of the community in areas in need of care, to become paid community carers.


Read Jeremy Wright’s speech at DotEveryone’s Responsible Tech conference.

Vodafone has today announced the finalists for its inaugural Vodafone Techstarter awards. The programme aims to uncover and develop ideas that harness the power of technology, connectivity and innovation to improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility. Vodafone Techstarter has been developed in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s charitable arm; and Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures.

The twelve shortlisted organisations, both profit and not-for-profit, all have prototype ideas with a clearly defined social purpose. The ventures exploit a range of technologies from mobile apps to the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

The finalists are: Alexandra Rose Charity, Code 4000 UK CIC, Full Fact, The Church of England’s Children’s Society, The Integrate Agency CIC, Wayfindr, BfB Labs, Good.Loop Ltd, Lettus Grow, BlakBear Ltd, Walk With Path Ltd and Alice SI Ltd. For more information, please see below.

In addition to sharing a prize fund of £300K, winners will benefit from access to industry and technology expertise from Vodafone and the Social Tech Trust, enabling them to take their innovations from prototype to market readiness. This will include coaching, commercial development support, mentorship, investment and partnership advice.

Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK commented: “We believe some of the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation. Vodafone Techstarter is about recognising and celebrating how UK start-ups are helping shape society for the better; we want to empower small businesses to truly make a difference in society. I’m really excited to meet the finalists and see first-hand the impact their ideas and innovations could have.”

Ed Evans, CEO of Social Tech Trust said: “It’s fantastic to see such an inspiring group of social tech innovations make the Vodafone Techstarter shortlist. All of them are driven by social purpose and are making a positive contribution to people’s lives. We look forward to working with the winning teams to help them grow and scale their social impact.”

The Vodafone Techstarter winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 7th February.

Vodafone Techstarter shortlist:

Alexandra Rose Charity (Surrey) – Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project (RVP) – supports families on low income to avoid food poverty and access a healthy diet through providing vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables

Code 4000 UK CIC (Hampshire) – Global Prison Curriculum Build – provides vocational training in computer programming with a view to enhancing the employability of ex-offenders, and to help to reduce reoffending

Full Fact (London) – Automated Fact checking – its tools enable them to stop the spread of fake news, and identify and fact check some claims automatically in real time

The Church of England’s Children’s Society (London) – Reality Check – pioneers the use of immersive virtual reality environments to help children manage and overcome anxiety, thereby addressing a root cause of more serious issues

The Integrate Agency CIC (London) – Padlock – an online platform connecting businesses with freelance cybersecurity powered by up-skilling lone parents in marketable cyber skills

Wayfindr (London) – Wayfindr – gives vision impaired people the power to navigate complex indoor environments independently, underpinned by smartphone technology and high-quality user experience standards • BFB Labs – a mobile game to tackle anxiety – in young people by combining the most effective elements of cognitive behavioural therapy with an immersive gaming experience

Good.Loop Ltd (Edinburgh) – Good.Loop – an ethical video ad platform enabling brands to connect social purpose with better viewer experience and better ad performance

LettUs Grow (Bristol) – LettUs Grow – designs aeroponic farming technology and farm management software for indoor and vertical farms to help deliver higher crop yields, reduce the environmental impact of agriculture

BlakBear Ltd (London) – BlakBear Agri – uses new sensors and software to increase the yield farmers can get from their land to feed a growing world sustainably. It combines electrochemical sensing innovations with statistical algorithms to understand soil nitrogen levels, and provide optimal nitrogen fertilisation instructions

Walk With Path Ltd (Essex) – Path Feel – an insole that acts in real time to its users’ needs by vibrating in response to pressure resulting in the user being able to feel the floor and achieving balance, as well as tracking walking to aid diagnosis

Alice SI Ltd (London) – bringing transparency to social funding – a decentralised social impact platform built on the Ethereum blockchain. It helps social organisations run projects transparently using smart contract-based incentives to ensure their impact is independently verified

Since joining the Trust in 2011, Vicki has been instrumental in the growth of the social tech movement in the UK, particularly through ground-breaking funding programmes providing vital finance and business support to socially motivated tech ventures.  An exponent of team working and diversity, Vicki’s leadership has fostered strong cross-sector collaborative partnerships and an expanding network of organisations and individuals supportive of the Trust’s vision for social tech.  An advocate of the enabling capabilities of social tech to effect meaningful change, Vicki’s expertise is sought after as a podcaster, panel member and awards judge.  Earlier this year, Vicki led the Trust’s separation from Nominet, establishing Social Tech Trust as an independent charity, providing the organisation with a strong bedrock upon which the Trust can continue to evolve and scale its social impact.

Vicki Hearn said, “I am extremely proud to have led this inspirational organisation and team for the last four years.  At a time of change in the tech sector, with the unwavering support of our Trustees, the team’s creativity, rigour, delivery excellence and shared passion have enabled us to make significant strides in pursuit of our purpose of transforming lives with tech.  With the Trust in a strong position, this seems the ideal moment to pass the baton to Ed so that he can lead the Trust on the next leg of its journey.  For me, a new quest awaits.”

Ed joined the Trust in 2016 to lead on the development and delivery of the Trust’s strategy and partnerships.  During this time, Ed has led on social investments including the £1m iAMDigital fund in partnership with Creative England and the Fair by Design fund, which in partnership with others, aims to raise up to £20m to end the poverty premium in the next 10 years.  His background in social investment and venturing, his career at the Cabinet Office and his compelling vision for the Trust’s future, makes Ed the ideal candidate to take the Trust forward.

Bill Liao, Chair of Trustees said, “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Vicki for the dedication she has shown to the Trust over the last eight years.  Her passion for social tech, expertise and determination have been critical to establishing the Trust’s excellent delivery track record.  Her leadership of Social Tech Trust leaves an enduring legacy as we continue our purposeful work under Ed’s strong leadership.  We wish Vicki every success in her future endeavours and look forward to continuing our work with Ed and the Social Tech Trust team.”


Read Vicki’s reflections in her farewell blog.



The most innovative tech ventures transforming today’s major social challenges

Social Tech Trust – a leading charity dedicated to socially motivated tech, has today announced £400,000 in funding to nine inspiring ventures.  All demonstrate how tech can reach its transformative potential when it’s driven to realise one of the greatest opportunities of our time – equality.  These pioneering, early stage innovations complement the purpose of Social Tech Trust – to transform lives with tech.  With the Trust’s support, they have huge potential to grow from start-up to scale-up and play a pivotal role in re-shaping the UK’s relationship between tech and society.

Vicki Hearn, Social Tech Trust CEO, explains, “The ventures we’ve backed have social transformation at their heart and are delivering tech innovations that promote equality in the areas of Communities, Health and Wealth.  With our funding and support, they’ll have the best opportunity of securing later-stage investment so that they can continue to grow, maximising their social impact.”

Each venture will receive a grant of up to £45,000, plus additional support to scale their social impact.  Over the last 10 years, the Trust (previously known as Nominet Trust) has supported over 750 initiatives and invested over £30m in the flourishing social tech movement.

Tech to Unite Us ventures include:

Beam: Beam is the world’s first crowdfunding platform for employment training for homeless people, tackling homelessness by empowering homeless people to sustainably support themselves.


 Carefree is a tech-driven social intervention designed to support and sustain unpaid carers, the invisible workforce that underpins our social care sector.  With the help of the hospitality industry they offer short breaks for full-time carers in hotels and holiday cottages throughout the UK.


Tribe Project:
The Tribe Project is a social action initiative to upskill members of the community in areas of inequality to become paid community carers.  Tribe brings people together locally to show where there is a need for some help, allows people to offer their support, records when the job has been completed, and measures the social value of the volunteering action.


As Alex Stephany, founder and CEO of Beam, one of the successful ventures enthused, “We’re thrilled to receive this funding at a pivotal time in our growth.  With the shocking homelessness problem in the UK, we see each day at Beam how technology can truly help people experiencing homelessness for the long-term – by supporting them to realise their potential as everything from bricklayers to accountants.  It’s not only the huge benefits we’ll see from the financial support, we’re also excited to work on an on-going basis with Social Tech Trust, who are experts in this field and will help us to maximise our own potential to scale and deliver significant positive social impact.”

Operating as an independent charity, and with Social Investment Business on Board as a new strategic partner, Social Tech Trust is confronting fractures in today’s society.  By focusing on radical approaches that tackle significant social challenges, such as delivering community care, improving the life chances of homeless people, or harnessing the untapped talent in the refugee community, Social Tech Trust – together with their new cohort of ventures – are making transformative changes that tackle issues at their root cause, inspiring us all to champion societal inclusion.

The full list of the nine ventures are:

Beam – www.beam.org
Beam is the world’s first crowdfunding platform for employment training for homeless people, tackling homelessness by empowering homeless people to sustainably support themselves.

Carefree – www.carefreebreaks.com

Carefree is a tech-driven social intervention designed to support and sustain unpaid carers, the invisible workforce that underpins our social care sector.  With the help of the hospitality industry they offer short breaks for full-time carers in hotels and holiday cottages throughout the UK, managed via their automated booking platform.

Chatterbox –

Chatterbox is a platform that enables high-skilled refugees to do work that leverages their skill set and ultimately facilitates rapid socio-economic reintegration of these refugees into society. The platform currently offers language-learning courses that connect professionals to refugee tutors from a similar professional background to guide them through an engaging online language curriculum.

Feebris – www.feebris.com

Feebris is a mobile health platform, powered by AI, that enables non-medical users to diagnose and monitor complex health conditions in the community.

On our Radar –

Radius, from On our Radar, closes the gap between those with needs and those with influence. It uses simple mobile technology to unlock the insight held by vulnerable communities, turning their experiences into expertise.

RightsDD –

RightsDD is building software to help companies identify, address and report on modern slavery in their supply chains.

StreetBuilder – www.thefuturefox.com/streetbuilder

StreetBuilder is a web platform that helps ordinary people to transform their neighbourhood. It crowdsources scheme proposals from communities and validates them in real time in a novel, digital, application of co-creation.

The Tribe Project – www.tribeproject.org
The Tribe Project is a social action initiative to upskill members of the community in areas of inequality to become paid community carers.  Tribe brings people together locally to show where there is a need for some help, allows people to offer their support, records when the job has been completed and measures the ‘social value’ of the volunteering action.

Workerbird –

Workerbird helps low-wage workers collect what they deserve. Workers use the Workerbird platform to track their work life and pay, get valuable data insights about their working patterns, understand their rights as an employee and receive support to improve their working conditions.

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact Nicola Renshaw on nicola@renshawcommunications.co.uk or 07834 352432.

Vodafone, today launched a new UK technology award programme in partnership with Social Tech Trust – Vodafone Techstarter – to support start -ups and early-stage ventures developing innovative technology solutions with social purpose. Vodafone Techstarter aims to uncover and develop ideas that can harness the power of technology, connectivity and innovation to improve health, education, environmental protection or social mobility. Vodafone Techstarter has been developed in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, Vodafone’s charitable arm, and Social Tech Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated supporter of socially motivated tech ventures.

In addition to financial awards, winners will benefit from access to industry and technology expertise from Vodafone and the Social Tech Trust, enabling them to take their innovations from prototype to market readiness.  This will include coaching, commercial development support, mentorship, investment and partnership advice, with additional bespoke elements depending on their requirements.

The Vodafone Techstarter social innovation award fund for 2018 is £300,000 to be distributed as follows:

  • For profit Vodafone Techstarter Award – four winners will each receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind. Supported by Vodafone UK.
  • Not for profit Vodafone Techstarter Award – four winners will each receive £35,000 and a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind. Supported by the Vodafone Foundation (UK registered charity number 1089625).
  • Vodafone Techstarter Champion’s Award – two winners, voted by Vodafone employees, will each receive £10,000

Vodafone Techstarter is open to UK-based inventors, innovators, charities, social enterprises, businesses and entrepreneurs, with prototype ideas. All applications must have a clearly defined social purpose.  Applications can be submitted here between 20th September and 23rd October 2018.

The judging panel brings together industry, investment, technology and social purpose expertise and includes:

Nick Jeffery, Chief Executive Officer,  Vodafone UK; Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director, Vodafone UK; Amparo Moraleda, Non-Executive Director, Vodafone Group Plc; Matthew Gould,- Director General for Digital and Media Policy, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Jen Hyatt, Founder of Troo.ai, eartime and Big White Wall; Bill Liao, SOSV, CoderDojo and Social Tech Trust Chair; Warrick Cramer, CEO Tomorrow Street and Patrick Knight, Chief Information Officer, Travis Perkins.

Helen Lamprell, Vodafone UK’s General Counsel & External Affairs Director and Vodafone Foundation Trustee, commented: “Vodafone Techstarter is a hugely exciting opportunity for industry to contribute vital support, expertise and funding to help take early stage ventures driven by social purpose from start-up to scale-up. We believe that some of the biggest challenges in society can be addressed using technology and innovation.  The UK has a fantastic opportunity to lead the way in providing solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges.”

Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director, Vodafone UK added: “We are committed to supporting start-ups across the UK. I’m particularly excited to be encouraging new innovations that will contribute positively to the world we live in. The scaling of technology solutions can be a challenge for any start-up, and particularly for socially-motivated tech ventures. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the entries and helping to bring the ideas of our Vodafone Techstarters to market.”

Bill Liao, Social Tech Trust commented, “We’re delighted to partner with Vodafone and the Vodafone Foundation, bringing our unique experience of growing social tech ventures to Vodafone Techstarter.  We believe that valuing the social purpose of tech from the outset, combined with cross sector collaboration, is vital in achieving transformational social change at scale. We’re really excited to see the ventures that come forward.”

Notes to editors:

For more information, please visit www.vodafone.co.uk/techstarter. Applications can be submitted between 20th September and 23rd October 2018.

About Vodafone UK  

Vodafone UK is part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 46 more, and fixed broadband operations in 18 markets. As of 30 June 2018, Vodafone Group had 534.5 million mobile customers and 19.9 million fixed broadband customers, including India and all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates. For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone UK partners with businesses of all sizes – from start-ups and small businesses to the largest corporates and the public sector. The company has worked with UK businesses for over 30 years, starting out as a mobile provider and becoming one of the UK’s leading total communications partners. It provides a range of voice and data services, secure communications infrastructure, fixed and contact centre capability, and unified communications; and was the first mobile phone operator to offer a truly converged service for fixed and mobile.


About the Vodafone Foundation

The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. The Vodafone Foundation’s ‘Connecting for Good’ programme combines Vodafone’s charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world.  Vodafone Foundation is supporting the Vodafone Techstarter Not for Profit Award that will identify and develop innovative technology solutions with social purpose. The Vodafone Foundation is a UK registered charity number 1089625.


About Social Tech Trust

Social Tech Trust is a leading charity and in the last decade has invested over £30 million and supported over 750 socially motivated tech ventures in the UK. Their purpose is to transform lives with tech and they’re dedicated to pursuing their vision of a world where social transformation is the driving force behind tech.  For more information, please visit: www.socialtechtrust.org or follow @SocialTechTrust on Twitter.


For more information please contact:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Tel: 01635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Tech to Unite Us aims to demonstrate how tech can reach its transformative potential when it’s driven by one of the greatest opportunities of our time – equality.

The UK’s leading dedicated grant maker in socially motivated tech, formerly known as Nominet Trust, is calling for eligible ventures to apply for a grant of up to £45K over a 9-12-month funding period. Technical assistance will be provided to accelerate venture growth.

The inaugural grant fund of the Trust’s Innovate Social Tech programme will support up to 10 ambitious ventures using tech in inspirational and transformative ways.

This is a call for radical new approaches that shift the balance of ‘power to people and communities‘ who want to challenge an unequal status quo. The charity is calling on ambitious early-stage ventures who are using tech to unite us – whether that’s using tech to increase access, opportunity or quality of outcomes in terms of wealth, health, education, political participation, community engagement or social justice.

Applications are open until Wednesday 25th July and funding decisions will be announced in October.  Read more…

In July 2017, Social Tech Trust (formerly Nominet Trust) awarded over £600,000 in funding to support six Digital Reach pilots, involving 12 partner organisations.  Each pilot trialled a unique approach to providing digital skills training developed around the aspirations of the young people they worked with.

Digital Reach was developed to support the UK’s efforts to increase digital skills among some of the nations most disadvantaged young people.  By taking a collaborative and user-centred approach that harnessed the expertise of organisations that have trusted relationships with vulnerable young people, the pilot projects pursued a mission to engage the hardest-to-reach young people with digital skills.

Social Tech Trust have released Digital Reach Insights to share what was learnt, helping to ensure that those experiencing some of the most critical social challenges in the UK are empowered to use transformative tools to tackle them.

Download the report.

Building on ten years of grant making in socially motivated tech, Nominet Trust evolves as Social Tech Trust.

  • Nominet Trust evolves into Social Tech Trust
  • Social Investment Business becomes a new member and strategic partner
  • New grant fund opens in July 2018

The UK’s leading dedicated grant maker in socially motivated tech, formerly known as Nominet Trust, has evolved into Social Tech Trust, with Social Investment Business becoming a new member and strategic partner. Social Tech Trust continues its commitment to supporting socially motivated tech with a new £0.5 million grant funding programme for early stage ventures.

The Social Tech Trust grant fund Tech to unite us, will support ventures demonstrating how tech can reach its transformative potential when it is driven to address one of the greatest social challenges of our time – inequality.  Tech to unite us will open for applications in July 2018.

Social Investment Business CEO, Nick Temple will join the Board of Social Tech Trust as the two organisations form a new purposeful strategic partnership focused on scaling social impact with tech. Nick is a leading figure in the social investment and enterprise sectors and was previously Deputy CEO at Social Enterprise UK.  Nick joins existing Board members, Bill Liao, Beth Murray, Sebastien Lahtinen and Hannah Keartland.

Bill Liao, Chair of Social Tech Trust said, “Powerfully leveraging tech with purpose will be strengthened by the Trust’s new standing as a key independent contributor to the UK tech ecosystem, in partnership with Social Investment Business. We are all looking forward to delivering our next round of grants to empower a new generation of tech that transforms lives.”

Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Chair of Social Investment Business said, “I am delighted that we are entering into a strategic partnership with Social Tech Trust. New technology is reshaping the world we live in and the world that charities and social enterprises operate in, attracting new talent and creating new models of change. There’s never been a more exciting and important time to enter into this partnership with the potential to transform people’s lives for the better.

“This area is a key priority for Social Investment Business to ensure we can best support the social sector in future. We have complementary skills and expertise as partners, and I am looking forward to working closely with Bill and his team in the coming years to help more organisations harness the power of technology”.

Social Tech Trust will uphold Nominet Trust’s heritage of supporting socially motivated UK start-ups and businesses that are transforming lives with tech.  The Trust’s growing portfolio of over 750 initiatives includes Open Bionics, creators of the bionic Hero Arm; GiveVision that specialises in life-changing vision technology and Open Utility, the pioneering start-up, democratising the energy sector.

Social Tech Trust will continue to back innovative partnerships, including their £1m backing of Fair By Design, which aims to end the poverty premium within the next 10 years, and their contribution to the £1 million iAMDigital programme, in partnership with Creative England.

After ten years as Nominet’s corporate foundation, the Trust is now independent and able to attract funding from other sources to help expand their programmes.

Nominet has supported the Trust with funding of £44m over the last ten years.  Moving forward, Nominet is committed to investing in its own programme to help one million young people overcome the challenges of the digital age.

Mark Wood, Chair of Nominet, said: “As we focus on Nominet’s ambitious pubic benefit programme, it’s the right time for the Trust to have the freedom they need to pursue their social tech agenda.  We thank the team for their enormous contribution over the last 10 years, and wish them well as they embark on an exciting new partnership.”

March 9, 2018. DigitalAgenda today announces the 14 winners of the 2018  Impact Awards – celebrating tech-for-good innovations that improve people’s lives and the world around us — following an exclusive unveiling in front of an audience of 300 tech-for-good innovators, investors, policymakers and academics at a ceremony at the Oval Space, in the heart of the east London tech business cluster.

The Impact Awards are sponsored by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder, in association with Berenberg, one of Europe’s longest-established private banks. Now in their second year, the awards are open to any business, government or non-profit using digital products or services for positive social or environmental benefit.


Julian Blake, DigitalAgenda director commented: “We set up the Impact Awards as a celebration of technology being used for impact not just profit, and we’ve been blown away by the quality of the 253 entries we received this year, from right across the UK. Digital technology can help us address the serious challenges that the world faces today – and it can help deliver change fast and at scale – whether in education, health, or the need for more sustainable living. Today’s Impact Awards winners are pioneering examples of what is possible and we’re delighted to be able to reward their fantastic achievements.”

Vicki Hearn, director of awards headline sponsor Nominet Trust, said: “Today we celebrate the very best in social tech innovation in the UK. I’d like to congratulate the winners and all the organisations shortlisted for their many achievements. For 10 years, Nominet Trust has been at the forefront of funding the growth of socially motivated tech. The Impact awards demonstrates the potential of what we can all achieve together.”



Education – covering technologies that are transforming teaching and learning, in schools, universities or online. Sponsored by Barclays


  • Digital Theatre+ – the world’s leading educational platform for English and the performing arts, providing over three million students, within 1,150 schools, colleges and universities, across 65 countries, with access to 800+ performances and educational resources. @DigitalTheatre



  • Learn My Way – learning platform built by Good Things Foundation to make getting online easy.
  • YouTeachMe – enabling education professionals to create and use quality videos in their teaching.


Employment & skills – celebrating technology that is changing ways into work, and work itself, as well as initiatives to improve people’s digital skills and access to tech talent. Sponsored by BCS


  • Koru Kids – startup providing childcare solutions to working parents. It helps parents ‘nanny share’, introducing families through an online marketplace then taking care of all the paperwork like contracts, payroll, taxes, pension and payments via its platform. @korukids



  • Code Your Future – supporting and empowering asylum seekers and refugees to become software developers.
  • WhiteHat – matching non-graduate talent with apprenticeship opportunities

Health – recognising technologies that enhance healthcare knowledge and treatment, as well as helping people to lead healthier lives. Sponsored by Reason Digital


  • SH:24 – an online sexual and reproductive health service. By providing services online for free, SH:24 is able to release capacity and money in the NHS at the same time as providing people with a flexible, accessible service. @sh24_nhs


  • In Your Pocket, offering smartphone-enabled accessibility for people who are vision impaired.
  • GoodGym, supporting runners to get fit by doing good.


Sharing & communities – recognising digital products and services that help people share resources, or where collaboration enables greater community participation. Sponsored by Sharemrkt/The People Who Share


  • OLIO – free app tackling the problem of food waste by connecting neighbours with each other, and with local shops and cafes, so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. @OLIO_ex


  • Age UK – using digital to help scale its Call in Time telephone befriending service.
  • TalkLife: a social network providing support to young people struggling with mental health and the ups and downs of life.


Cities – digital initiatives that improve urban places and spaces, making them better places to live, work and play. Sponsored by HereEast


  • Go Jauntly – free community-based platform helping people discover and share walks near and far. Its philanthropic founders started it in 2017 through their digital product and service design consultancy, Furthermore. @gojauntly



  • The Future Fox – working to accelerate the development of smart, sustainable and people-focused cities.
  • TRIK – a mobile and web application built for insurance, engineering and construction enterprise.

Climate – helping businesses and government organisations to create more sustainable places. Sponsored by The Planet Mark


  • Switchee is the first smart thermostat for social housing. It fights fuel poverty and provides landlords with remote data insights that save energy, cut maintenance costs and improve resident well-being. @SwitcheeUK


  • Green Lab – London workspace for entrepreneurs and organisations that are designing beautiful solutions to complex food, water and waste problems.
  • Voyage Control – an air traffic control system for trucks, streamlining operations and reducing air pollution and congestion.


Smart – initiatives that use connected physical devices both at home and across towns and cities, to make urban and rural living easier, offering greater mobility and enabling people to connect more easily.


  • Alcove – internet-of-things-powered care technology business pioneering independent living for older and disabled adults. Its assistive technology ecosystem combines sensors, wearables, activity monitoring, alerting, emergency response, a communication aid and carer check-in to replace fixed-line telecare. @youralcove


  • Little Riot – makes products that close distances and keep loved ones close. It facilitates human connection where it may not otherwise be possible.
  • SteamaCo – bringing electricity to tens of thousands of previously unconnected consumers in Africa

Sustainable living – celebrating technologies that help people to live more sustainably, whether in providing higher-quality, healthier food, sourcing products with better information to hand, or in reducing waste Sponsored by Gone for Good


  • SafetyNet Technologies develops light-emitting devices to help fishing boats catch the right fish and tackle some of the biggest issues facing the commercial fishing industry. It has developed products that can lower unwanted bycatch by 90% and improve fishing revenues by up to 20%. @SNTechUK


  • Alexandra Rose Charity, on a mission to develop the ‘Rosie’ app to create digital vouchers and automate the process of voucher reimbursement to traders.
  • Arc-net – supporting producers and brand owners to provide access to safe and authentic produce through the distributed power of the blockchain.


Business transformation – entries from businesses, government agencies and non-profits, working on transformational projects to create more effective and responsive products and services, as well as more productive places to work. Sponsored by Opencast Software


  • Citizens Advice, founded in 1939, provides free, confidential and independent advice, information and support to anyone who needs it. Every year it helps millions online, over the phone and face-to-face. It has designed a case management system that is easy to use and intuitive. It wanted its Casebook system to more reflect the sort of products its volunteers may use outside of work, and be easy to use without training or specialist skills. @CitizensAdvice


  • Apolitical – an online peer-to-peer platform for sharing ideas about public services.
  • Unmind – a B2B mental health platform, providing clinically backed tools and training to create healthier, happier, more human organisations.

Financial inclusion – when it comes to impact, money doesn’t just mean business what we do with it, and how much we have, affects all of our lives. This award celebrates technologies that enhance access to financial services. Sponsored by Impact Reporting


  • LOQBOX aims to fix financial exclusion by enabling everyone to build their credit history, their financial education and their savings. Anyone using the service can build their history with the big credit reference agencies and also learn responsible financial management while they save, for free. @LOQBOX


  • AID:Tech – for-profit company with a social mission to address some the world’s largest social issues.
  • SalaryFinance – socially responsible employee benefit that helps people become more financially healthy.

Investment – recognising the best in impact funding from both public and private sources, and across traditional venture and alternative investment routes like crowdfunding. Sponsored by ClearlySo


  • Bethnal Green Ventures -an early-stage investor that helps to launch and grow tech ventures with the potential to become hugely successful businesses that positively impact millions of lives. It invests in innovative ideas in health, education, sustainability, democracy and society. It is best known for its 12-week accelerator programme, which provides investment, co-working space and intensive mentoring and support. To date, BGV has supported 95 ventures, investing £1.9m. Ventures report a combined positive impact on 18m lives. @bg_ventures


  • Nesta Impact Investments – one of the first fund managers in the UK to launch a dedicated social impact fund.
  • UnLtd – the leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK and offers the largest such network in the world.

Social and economic transformation – recognising outward-facing initiatives from business, government and non-profits that look to make a positive impact on the wider world. Sponsored by Us Ai


  • what3words – an innovative global addressing system that has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, each with a unique address made from three dictionary words. It’s the simplest way to communicate location and provides everyone and everywhere with an accurate and reliable address. what3words uses an algorithm, and every three-word address is fixed and will never change, meaning that what3words works offline, without a data connection, making it ideal for use in remote locations. Three-word addresses can also be used in 14 languages, with many more launching in 2018. @what3words


  • The Federation – an open community of digital businesses and innovators in Manchester, built on ethical values, sponsored by the Co-op Group.
  • Yoti – a free and safe digital identity app, giving everyone a simpler, faster and safer way of proving their identity.

People’s choice – in a first for 2018, voting was opened to the public for our Impact Awards people’s choice award. With 2500 votes cast, the result was a close call with just a handful of votes between our top three. Presented by Richard Brass, Berenberg

Winner: TalkLife(11.9% of the vote) – a social network providing support to young people struggling with mental health and the ups and downs of life. It provides an engaging, intuitive peer support platform where users can talk about how they’re feeling and connect to others. Its global platform now supports hundreds of thousands of users. The company is proud of its safeguarding, research partnerships and determination to change the way the world thinks about mental health.

Runners up:

  • Go Jauntly (11.3%) – app helping people discover and share walks.
  • Code Your Future (9.5%) – coding school for refugees and other displaced people

Individual impact award – a jury award for outstanding contribution by an individual in helping to grow technology for good, through personal giving of time or money. This year celebrating an ‘unsung hero’ of tech for good. Presented by Mike Bracken, Public Digital


  • Tom Steinberg – founder of mySociety – a non-profit created to build and popularise digital tools giving citizens power over institutions and decision makers. He was its director for 12 years until 2015, running websites like TheyWorkForYou.com, FixMyStreet and WhatDoTheyKnow.com.

Join the DigitalAgenda Network

Barclays, BCS and Digital Catapult are among the newest members of DigitalAgenda’s 40-strong network. Join them to connect on tech for good and access DA events.


  • A new Nominet Trust report, Transforming Lives with Tech: A Global Conversation, demonstrates how emerging tech, including AI, Blockchain and VR, is transforming lives.
  • The report reveals key insights from five years of NT100 research, highlighting what it takes for tech ventures to deliver social impact at scale.
  • Nominet Trust starts a global conversation about tech and society, launching a new podcast series ‘Our Lives + Tech’

7th February 2018, London
– The impact of tech on our lives often comes under a harsh spotlight. However, a new report by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech investor, highlights the tech trends that are set to transform our lives for the better.

The report, Transforming Lives with Tech: A Global Conversation, was commissioned to celebrate the fifth year of NT100 – Nominet Trust’s annual campaign that champions the most inspiring examples of social tech from around the world.

Based on an analysis of 400 NT100 projects and 10 in-depth case studies, the report shares key insights into what it takes to enable social tech ventures to achieve impact at scale.

Looking to the future of social tech, the Trust reveals five emerging trends which are set to transform lives globally and showcases 10 pioneering ventures that demonstrate the transformative potential of these trends. The full report is available as a free download here.

Nominet Trust’s top five social tech trends for 2018 are:


1. Blockchain to bring inclusion to billions

The rise of this secure, decentralised and transparent system is set to continue in 2018, with socially motivated ventures harnessing its potential to improve financial systems and bring inclusion to billions of people.

Alice is using blockchain to help homeless people get off the streets of London by restoring trust in charitable giving, while BanQu is harnessing the tech to give refugees a secure and verified ID, tracking everything from transaction history to educational qualifications.

2. AI to scale up key services

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already a part of our everyday lives, from Google search rankings to iPhone’s face ID. This year AI will help us handle ever more complex data to transform how we deliver key services including healthcare and education.

Zebra is transforming disease diagnostics by using AI to scan medical images to detect cancerous cells, achieving a reported 91% accuracy. Meanwhile Wysa’s AI enabled chatbot app provides people experiencing mental health issues with advice based on established techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

3. Broadening the boundaries of bionics to deepen impact

This year, developments in neuro-tech and smart contact lenses will take bionics to a whole new level.

BrainGate has developed pill-sized electrode implants that respond to thoughts, aiming to restore a level of independence to millions of people affected by paralysis. While the Smart Lens Program is developing a contact lens that measures glucose in tear fluid creating a non-invasive solution to monitor diabetes.

4. Immersive tech to reimagine healthcare

Although most well known for their use in immersive gameplay, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have huge potential to transform our lives, from delivering healthcare to changing the way we learn, understand each other and navigate the world.

In hospitals, AccuVein is improving the accuracy of intravenous therapy with a handheld AR scanner that projects visual images of a patients’ veins onto the skin’s surface. Patient’s Virtual Guide, an AR app, has been developed to guide children through the hospital environment before they are admitted as patients, easing stress and anxiety, and improving outcomes.


5. Autonomous vehicles to accelerate access

With trials already taking place, it won’t be long before unmanned and autonomous vehicles become mainstream.

The Zanzibar Mapping Initiative uses drones to capture aerial images and topography of the island, helping to monitor and respond to floods and disease. In Canada, Cyberworks has developed a motion-sensor module that can be attached to a power wheelchair enabling it to navigate through a building autonomously, controlled by voice, eye-gaze or a touch screen.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, commented: “We firmly believe that, when social needs are baked into the very early stages of tech development, the transformational effect on people’s lives is multiplied. During the five years we’ve been curating the NT100, we’ve amassed a rich bank of knowledge which we’re sharing to help accelerate the growth of socially-motivated tech around the globe.

“The insights and trends brought together in our new report aim to inspire the next generation of innovators, and to encourage those who have the resources and expertise to create an environment in which socially transformative tech can grow and scale.”

To explore the themes highlighted in Transforming Lives with Tech: A Global Conversation in greater depth, Nominet Trust launches this month a brand new podcast series, Our Lives + Tech. The series features leading voices who’ll discuss developments in social tech including big data, blockchain and bionics, and their potential to transform lives for the better.

Download the report here. Follow #NT100is5 and @nominettrust on Twitter.


We have some very exciting news to share about the Trust’s evolution!
After ten years as their corporate foundation, Nominet and the Trust have agreed that the most effective way to scale our social impact is by establishing our independence from Nominet.

During 2017, many of you were involved in our stakeholder discussions, from which our ambitious 2021 social tech strategy evolved.  Our new website clearly sets out our purpose, which is to transform lives with tech.  To deliver our strategy, we need the freedom to expand our grant making and investment activity by attracting more varied sources of funding.

Nominet has supported us with funding of £44m over the last ten years.  They will continue their public benefit programme focusing on security, connectivity and inclusivity, as we build on our own reserves, strengthening our commitment to social tech.

We want to reassure everyone we’re currently working with that support already committed will be unaffected.  We’re communicating our news at the earliest possible opportunity as these developments aim to boost the availability of grants and growth investment for social tech to transform lives.

A huge thanks to our outgoing Chair Natalie Campbell, and Trustees Nora Nanayakkara and Jemima Rellie for their fantastic contribution to the Trust.  We’re looking forward to developing our renamed, independent charity under the strong leadership of our new Chair Bill Liao, who joined our Board back in 2014.  Bill has the full support of Trustees Sebastien Lahtinen, who joined in 2015, and Beth Murray and Hannah Keartland who joined our Board last year.

It’s still early days for our transition, but we’ll keep you updated.  We’re excited about the opportunities 2018 will bring!


Bill Liao                                                                                                                 Vicki Hearn

Nominet Trust Chair                                                                                           Nominet Trust Director

  • New ‘Trip Advisor’ style App connects students to work experience in less than 5 minutes;
  • Manchester the first city to benefit from up to 5,000 work experience scholarships for 16-18 year-old women to work in digital companies and charities;
  • Funded by £200k investment from social tech investor, Nominet Trust;
  • Preparing girls for jobs of the future the ‘challenge of a generation’.

MANCHESTER, UK – 20 November 2017: Gov-tech education charity Founders4Schools (F4S), whose mission is to connect inspiring business leaders with schools, has today announced the creation of a scholarship fund to benefit thousands of young women across Manchester with work experience opportunities. These roles are on offer to girls aged 16 to 18, as the charity puts powerful tools into the hands of girls looking for work experience in Manchester’s thriving digital sector.

The placements will be available through F4S’ ground-breaking mobile-phone service Workfinder, which was inspired by sixteen-year-old Maitri Panchal while she was on work experience with the charity herself. Workfinder enables young people to filter preferences, share recommendations and connect with great companies in as little as five minutes.

Work Experience helps young people grow their skills and businesses benefit from much needed talent, but the reliance on informal networks means that many pupils in deprived areas secured no work experience at all last year. Last week, UK digital businesses across the nation came together to pledge to offer, via Workfinder, week-long work-experience placements that are needed by the 1.8 million 16-18 year-old students in UK schools.

The opportunities are offered in fast-growing digital and tech Manchester businesses, including Regit, Tangerine, The Juice Academy, The eWord, Social Chain and Code Computerlove.com. They help young people unlock their potential and kick-start their careers using STEM skills. The Manchester scholarships for girls have been made possible through funding from social tech investors Nominet Trust, amongst others.

Speaking at the Girls School’s Association Annual Conference in Manchester, Sherry Coutu, CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools and The ScaleUp Institute, said: “The current work experience model is broken. According to the ScaleUp Institute, 90% of UK scaleup businesses are concerned about a lack of skills post-Brexit but existing structures do not allow UK plc. to foster home-grown skills.”

She continued: “93% of teachers say that work experience boosts student attainment and aspirations. Great companies are learning environments and need talent to grow; young people need help to find their passion in life. It’s the challenge of a generation, and I hope Workfinder will help them discover their route to a meaningful career.”
Founders4Schools’ mission is to put the power in the hands of young people.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust added: “Nominet Trust’s purpose is to transform lives with tech – but that’s only possible if we give the next generation, regardless of their background and circumstance, the opportunity to develop digital skills. We’re excited about continuing our partnership with Founders4Schools by funding 5,000 placements available through Workfinder in major UK cities, because of the opportunity it gives to young women to develop careers in STEM subjects, boosting their contribution to the UK’s growing digital economy.”

Chris Green, CRO at Regit, said “Cultivating young talent is massively important for UK business and something we work hard to do at Regit. I recently spoke at a Founders4Schools event and it was genuinely one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. It is exciting to be part of a programme which will help shape our country moving forward.” Simone Roche, Founder, Northern Power Women, said “I welcome this brilliant initiative to give young women in Manchester the opportunity to grow their skills. For the whole region it’s vital that we grow our talent base and foster gender equality. I urge others to also support the work Founders4Schools are doing.”

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI, said: “Only a small portion of school students get the kind of valuable work-based placements that we know help open young eyes to the possibilities of different careers. I welcome the launch of Workfinder, and would encourage businesses of all sizes to open up opportunities to share.”


Workfinder can be downloaded by students to connect to these and other work experience opportunities free of charge from the app store.

Teachers can find out about Workfinder here: http://bit.ly/2iXg6Ks.
Parents can find out about workfinder here: https://www.workfinder.com/
Businesses willing to host work experience at their companies can sign up here: https://www.workfinder.com/employer/pledge


<li><strong>Fair By Design Fund</strong> boosted by £1m investment from Nominet Trust</li>
<li><strong>Five start-ups benefit</strong> from £70k funding to provide alternative services to low incomes households</li>
A new fund – worth up to £20 million – has been launched to invest in ventures which can disrupt the energy, finance and insurance markets and provide alternative services to millions of people on low incomes hit by the poverty premium.

Fourteen million people live in poverty in the UK, more than one in five of the population. But people already struggling face a poverty premium – having to pay more for essential goods and services, such as their energy bills, for credit or their food.
On average, these extra costs add up to £490 a year and can total up to £1,190 for some households.

Now, the Fair By Design Fund <a href=”http://www.fairbydesignfund.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>aims</a> to eliminate the poverty premium within 10 years. Backed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust, Ascension Ventures, and Finance Birmingham, the Fair By Design Fund will invest in companies from Seed through to Series A and beyond.


Progress has already been made. At an event to launch the fund on November 8, the partnership will unveil five start-ups from an <a href=”https://wayra.co.uk/wayra-fair-by-design/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>accelerator programme</a>, run by Wayra UK, which will all benefit from funding and mentoring while they develop innovative solutions to the premium:

<strong>Global-365</strong> – Decreasing the cost of pre-payments for gas, electricity and heating and in doing so simplifying the process and methods of top-up making. SMARTprepay is the first system with the technology and sophistication to finally offer price parity between prepayment and credit customers.
<strong>JobSkilla</strong> – a tool that helps unemployed people find free skills training, and connect training organisations to candidates in deprived areas.
We Are Digital – A project to help people to manage their finances, find the best deals and provide training for financial management.
<strong>Bean</strong> – A platform for consumers to understand their spending on recurring payments. Helping people save money and cancel unwanted subscriptions or re-negotiate lower fees on everyday bills.
<strong>Credit Kudos</strong> – Credit Kudos gathers information using your online banking to determine your suitability when applying for financial products. Credit Kudos aims to make credit scoring fair and transparent.


The Fund has £9 million to deploy and is seeking to increase this to £20 million over the next 12 months.

It will invest in solutions to four key areas of the premium:
<li><strong>Energy</strong> – Low-income households often pay more for the energy they use, for example, through pay-as-you-go meters or by not switching suppliers. 5.8 million low income households pay an extra £317 a year for gas and electricity because they are stuck on pay-as-you-go tariffs or not switching to a cheaper provider.</li>
<li><strong>Finance</strong> – Unable to get credit elsewhere, low income households often rely on payday loans – which are much more expensive than mainstream alternatives, such as paying £540 over the odds for a doorstep loan because they cannot access mainstream credit, or an additional £120 for a payday loan.</li>
<li><strong>Insurance</strong> – This area is focused on the problem lower-income consumers have accessing insurance. For example, there are few ‘no-frills’ insurance products suitable for low-income consumers. These consumers often also live in deprived areas, which may also be higher crime areas, and therefore might incur higher insurance premiums.</li>
<li><strong>Geo-based premiums</strong> –  Almost three in four low income households pay extra because of where they live. For example, not having easy access to a supermarket costs an estimated £266 per year. Digital Exclusion can be included in this category: low-income consumers may not have access to the Internet, or be confident using it, making them unable to access online services to reduce household costs. This could range from shopping online to comparing insurance products.</li>


<strong>Campbell Robb</strong>, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“Households in poverty are four times more likely to be behind with at least one household bill and are more exposed to the rising cost of living. The poverty premium is costly and unjust penalty for living on a low income. It’s a sign of market failure, which we need to end urgently. Investors, businesses and social enterprise have a huge part to play in solving poverty in the UK. It’s time to make life affordable for everyone.”

<strong>Cliff Prior</strong>, chief executive of Big Society Capital, said:

“It’s simply wrong that people on low incomes pay more for basic goods and services. It shouldn’t cost more to pay your bills as you go, it shouldn’t cost more to heat your home. But it does for so many people. We know that there are many social businesses which are looking to find solutions to some of the UK’s toughest challenges, and this Fund can help them make a real difference to the lives of people living on low incomes and their families. Together, we can eliminate the poverty premium and help millions of people.”

<strong>Vicki Hearn</strong>, Director of Nominet Trust, which today announced £1m investment in the Fair By Design Fund over three years, commented:

“Nominet Trust is committed to transforming lives with tech and we know that by working with other mission-led partners to leverage skills, insight and capital we all have a greater chance of achieving social impact. Our investment in the Fair By Design Fund will challenge us all to think differently about the relationship between tech and society, encouraging the growth of innovative, disruptive digital solutions to the unjust consequences of living on a low income.”

<strong>Tina Hallett</strong>, Government and Public Services leader at PwC, commented:

“PwC has been working for over three years now with business, Whitehall and the third sector to encourage new ways to tackle the Poverty Premium and we have found a genuine desire from these organisations to do the right thing. But translating this into tangible measures has been more difficult.

“The work of the start-ups supported by Fair By Design Fund presents a ground-breaking opportunity to lead us all in thinking differently about how we solve this problem. No one organisation can do this alone. We all need to work together to build on their contribution – and make a material difference.”

<strong>Gary Stewart</strong>, Director of Wayra UK and Telefónica Open Future_ UK, which manages the acceleration programme in Oldham, said: “It’s no longer good enough to expect government or charities to solve all of our problems. The UK’s future will depend on finding partnerships like this one that empower start-ups to do good, while doing well.”
Jean de Fougerolles, chief executive of Ascension Ventures, said:

“The Fair By Design Fund gives Ascension Ventures a tool to combine financial and social return for our partners and to play our part in eradicating the Poverty Premium. It should not cost more to buy everyday products and services just because you have a low-income. The team at Ascension is passionate about helping to eradicate the Poverty Premium, by investing in businesses that will disrupt unfair markets.”

<strong>Angela Clements</strong>, Founder, Fair for You, a not-for-profit online lending company based in Birmingham, that provides affordable finance to those who need it the most, said:

“Fair for You provides small loans to facilitate the purchase of essential household items, and in our first 22 months we have already loaned £4m which at an average of £300 each time, means that thousands of families have been able to avoid the poverty premium attached to fridges, cookers, cots, bunk beds. Independent research from Centre for Responsible Credit has estimated an average saving of around £500 per item. Essentially, it also found that over a third of customers believed their children’s health and wellbeing had improved directly as a result of taking finance from Fair for You instead of their previous high cost credit provider.”



The search is now on for the best of UK technology for good, as independent publisher and commentator DigitalAgenda opens up its respected Impact Awards for a second year from today.

The Impact Awards celebrate digital innovations that make a positive impact on the way we live, learn and do business. With 12 categories covering three broad themes of people, places and business, the awards are open to entry from any UK-based business, government or non-profit using digital products or services for positive social or environmental impact.

The 2018 Impact Awards are sponsored by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder. We are delighted that in 2018, the awards are being run in association with Berenberg, one of Europe’s leading private banks.

The 2018 Impact Awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday March 7 at east London’s iconic Oval Space. An afternoon awards ceremony will hear from our winners, alongside guest speakers. The ceremony will be followed by an evening reception giving winners a chance to celebrate, and all of our guests the opportunity to connect. The awards will be co-hosted by Oli Barrett MBE and DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake.
The awards are open for entries across our 12 themed categories until December 18, 2017. We will also be giving out awards for people’s choice and individual impact.

Judging takes place in January 2018, with the finalists announced in the first week of February. Entering is free and simple – just fill out the form.


Our group of Impact Awards judges brings extensive experience in startups, impact technology, investment and academia and includes representation from: Bethnal Green Ventures, Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Essence, Freeformers, Nominet Trust, Northzone, RocketSpace, University College London, US Ai, ustwo and White Star Capital. More judges to be confirmed.

DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake said: “The Impact Awards celebrate technology that is being used for positive impact rather than just for profit. Our awards highlight the amazing potential for technology to be a force for good. Technology isn’t always seen by as a force for good, with understandable public fears about its effects on privacy, child safety and the future of work. But digital also offers the potential to address some of the biggest challenges we face.”


“We’re delighted that the Impact Awards are running for a second year, and proud to be sponsored for a second year by Nominet Trust. We’re also delighted that the 2018 awards are being run in association with Berenberg. We have assembled a group of judges that add expertise and credibility to the decision-making process. Our aim is to make the Impact Awards the most important accolade anywhere for technology making a positive impact, across business, government and non-profits alike.”

Nominet Trust director Vicki Hearn said: “We’re proud to be lead sponsor of DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards for a second year, giving some of the most impactful UK tech for good projects an opportunity to shine. Through our grant funding and partnerships, we create a supportive environment for organisations striving to realise the full promise of socially-motivated tech. It’s great that DigitalAgenda’s building on the evident success of last year’s awards and we’re looking forward to seeing the innovation and evidence of social impact demonstrated by this year’s applicants.”

Richard Brass, Berenberg head of wealth and asset management UK, said: We are delighted to support DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards. Harnessing digital skills is a core component for companies looking to reach the widest audience and to develop positive impact. These awards not only celebrate technology and innovation but also look to identify sustainable and long-term business models. This is consistent with our own investment philosophy and, of course, our heritage as a 427-year old bank managed by personally unlimited managing partners.”


Impact Awards 2018 – categories

The 2018 Impact Awards are grouped under three overall headings: people, places and business.

People theme

Education – technologies that are transforming both teaching and learning, in schools, universities or online.

Employment & skills – technology that is changing ways into work, and work itself, as well as initiatives that increase people’s skills and access to talent.

Health – technology that enhances healthcare knowledge and treatment, as well as people’s abilities to lead healthier and happier lives.

Sharing and communities – digital initiatives that help people to share resources more effectively, or where collaboration enables greater community participation and an increased sense of shared purpose.


Places theme

Cities – digital initiatives that enhance places and spaces, making them better places to live, work and play.

Climate – technologies that help organisations to manage and understand environmental change, helping them to create places that are more sustainable.

Sustainable living – technologies that enable individuals to live more sustainably, by providing higher-quality, healthier food or reducing waste.

Smart – products and services using smart technologies, including around travel, to make urban and rural living  easier, offering greater mobility and enabling people to connect more easily.



Business transformation – products and projects that help business, government and non-profits to become more effective and happier, healthier places to work.
Social and economic transformation – outward-facing initiatives from business, government and non-profits that look to make a positive impact on the wider world.
Financial inclusion – technologies that make it easier for people to save and spend, and that enhance access to and the quality of financial services.
Investment – the best in impact funding provided by investors and backers of all kinds, across all platforms and funding routes.


Additional categories

People’s choice award – chosen by a public vote of the 36 finalists across our 12 themed categories.

Individual impact – outstanding contribution by an individual in helping to grow technology for good, through personal giving of time or money.


Join us at the 2018 Impact Awards

Come along to London’s Oval Space on Wednesday March 7, 2018 for our afternoon awards event (3-7pm) and after party (7:30-10pm). You’ll join senior-level entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, academics and more on a mission to change the world and individual lives for the better through digital innovation. You can expect a brilliant set of speakers and innovators on stage on the day. All food and drink is included. Individual combined ticket (awards and party): £49+VAT. Various discounts are available for group orders and for members of the DigitalAgenda Network. Tickets for the Impact Awards are on sale now.


Impact Awards sponsorship opportunities are available for 2018. To discuss, please contact Hagit Amsterdam, business development manager on 07732 949089, email marketing@digital-agenda.co.uk. Awards sponsors receive awards and evening reception tickets as part of their sponsor packages. Shortlisted finalists receive one complimentary ticket for the event.

Notes to editors

  1. The DigitalAgenda Impact Awards are open to any UK-founded or operating organisation – whether in the business, non-profit or public sector – with a tech product or service that is looking to make the world a better place. Entries will be judged against five criteria: idea, product/service, team, scalability and impact. Read our entry guidelines.


  1. DigitalAgenda is a publishing, events and networking initiative focussing on the changes that digital technology is making to our lives. We share ideas that look to make the world a better place. We want to add impetus to the growing movement for technology for good. Our online and live content highlights innovation, reports trends and explains the difference that technology makes to our lives. And our events connect people face-to-face from our network of digital professionals – including at our annual Impact Awards and regular UK-wide ‘city impact’ dinners.


  1. Nominet Trust is the UK’s leading social tech funder. It provides 100% grant funding, mentoring and business support to organisations using the internet and digital technology to address significant social challenges including health and wellbeing, economic empowerment and sustainability.


  1. Berenberg is one of the leading privately owned banks in Europe today, with more than 1,500 professionals in its four key business areas of investment banking, wealth management, asset management and corporate banking. With offices in London, New York, Frankfurt and Zurich, Berenberg is able to offer a broad range of services to corporations, investment institutions and private individuals.  Since being founded in 1590, Berenberg has been run by managing partners who have personal and unlimited liability. This direct accountability underpins the Bank’s core values to ensure long-term success alongside its clients.


  1. Impact Awards 2017 – winners:


Education: Texthelp

Employment & skills: Founders4Schools

Health: Babylon

Money: Squirrel

Cities: Pavegen

Climate: Bulb

Food: FoodCloud

Smart: Wayfindr

Business transformation: Saberr

Investment: ClearlySo ATLAS

Sharing & partnership: Neighbourly

Social and economic transformation: AID:Tech

Editor’s award: Dr Sue Black, Saving Bletchley Park/techmums


  1. For more details, contact Julian Blake, DigitalAgenda director and editor, on 07767 266476.


  1. DigitalAgenda’s logo is attached, along with a photograph of the 2017 Impact Awards winners.


  1. Nominet Trust and Berenberg links attached also.


  1. Find DigitalAgenda at www.digital-agenda.co.uk, on Twitter @DigitalAgenda_ and on Facebook at facebook.com/digitalagenda2016



Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, has increased the number of Trustees on its Board with the appointment of Hannah Keartland as Honorary Treasurer. Hannah is Head of Innovation at Cancer Research UK and previously led their award-winning Citizen Science Programme. Hannah brings with her a wealth of knowledge from her eight years’ in leadership roles in the charity sector, as well as significant capability in financial management as a qualified Chartered Accountant (AQA).

Reflecting on her appointment, Keartland said: “Nominet Trust’s work is all about creating social impact using innovative approaches – for example the recently launched Digital Reach programme, which has the potential to significantly reduce inequalities in our increasingly digital-first society. As such, it is an amazing opportunity to be joining Nominet Trust at this time and I can’t wait to lend my support in building on the Trust’s fantastic work fostering positive social change through the use of digital technology.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome Hannah to the Trust during this exciting new phase of strategic development” commented Natalie Campbell, Chair of Nominet Trust. “With her direct experience of implementing and harnessing technology for social change in the health sector, Hannah will add immense value to the work of the Trust. We are confident that Hannah’s experience will help her to excel in her new role,”
During 2016, Nominet Trust extended its board significantly, including appointing new Chair, Natalie Campbell, along with Beth Murray and Jemima Rellie as trustees. The established team of trustees has great strength in its diversity, including strong representation from women.

Nominet Trust is the charitable foundation of Nominet, a public benefit company with 20 years’ experience in running the .uk internet infrastructure.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the winners of the 2017 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition in association with Nominet Trust, at a prestigious awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London.

The winners include four aspiring game creators aged between 10 and 18, three of whom are female, as well as an inspirational teacher.

BAFTA YGD, which began in 2010, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for a written idea for a new game; and the Game Making Award, for a game made using computer software. The winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts, are:

  • Elsie Mae Williams – Game Concept Award (10-14 year-old category)
  • Anna Carter – Game Concept Award (15-18 year-old category)
  • Spruce Campbell – Game Making Award (10-14 year-old category)
  • Emily Mitchell – Game Making Award (15-18 year-old category)

The four award-winning young people will receive a host of prizes, including a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further, tours of leading games studios, game development software, and a prototype of their game created by a team of developers. For the full list of prizes, go to: http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-winners-prizes

This year, the percentage of young female winners (75%) far exceeds the proportion of women currently working in the games industry in the UK, which is 19% (Ukie, 2016). In 2012, BAFTA’s Career Pathways Survey found that just 9% of the young women who responded had considered a career in games, compared to 38% of young men. The research findings informed a number of BAFTA initiatives, including YGD, which encourages all young people to consider careers in the games industry.

The YGD Mentor Award, presented to an individual nominated by the public for their involvement in the education of young game designers, was awarded to Dave Chilver, Teacher of IT and Games Design at Lowestoft Sixth Form College in Suffolk.

The previously announced YGD Hero Award was accepted by Aurore Dimopoulos (Producer) and Josh Naylor (Senior Technical Evangelist) at Unity Technologies, creators of Unity, the largest global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games. The game development company was selected by the BAFTA Games Committee for its continued support for young game designers.

The YGD Awards ceremony was hosted by presenters Dev Griffin (BBC Radio 1) and Georgie Barrat (The Gadget Show). Presenting the awards were: game designer Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone); CITV presenter London Hughes (Scrambled!); The Xtra Factor presenter Matt Richardson; games producer Adrienne Law (Monument Valley 2); Chair of BAFTA’s Games Committee Nick Button Brown; and David Gardner, BAFTA’s Vice President for Games.



In a message of support to all the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of BAFTA, said:

“As President of BAFTA, I am delighted to show my continued support for the BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative.

I am always so impressed with the unique ideas and game-making skills displayed by our Young Game Designers. This year’s finalists prove there is a huge amount of talent within the UK and it is tremendously exciting to see young people so passionate about a craft that could help to launch their career in the British games industry.

With a large number of entries coming through schools this year, it is encouraging to see teachers and educators regarding BAFTA’s initiative as a valuable means to equip their students with digital skills.”

Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said:

“The creativity and skill demonstrated by all of our YGD winners and finalists this year is hugely impressive, exciting and truly inspiring for anyone working in the industry. I’m particularly encouraged by the number of female winners this year and it’s great to see that initiatives such as YGD have inspired such a diverse and talented group of young people to try their hand at game design, with some astounding results.”

Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, said:

“At Nominet Trust, we’re passionate about creating opportunities for young people to engage in digital making, particularly girls who are under-represented in the games industry and people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We’re thrilled to see that 75% of this year’s winners are female. The imagination, creativity and thought that has gone in to all of the entries has been overwhelming. Congratulations to the winners and the finalists on their achievements which will provide inspiration to many more young people.”

The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum. Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity to engage under-represented groups, including women and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Criterion, Jagex, King, Ubisoft, SEGA, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unity and WB Games. Abertay University will support the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition.

For further details about the initiative, visit www.bafta.org/ygd.

BAFTA YGD winners in 2017

Game Concept Award (10-14) – TorchLighter

Elsie Mae Williams (13 years)

Penzanze, Cornwall

Your character has just been hired by TorchLighters Inc., a company that provides what is essentially janitorial services to dungeons. As an employee, you will travel to dungeons and make sure they are in working order. As the name implies, you will be lighting torches, but you will also reset traps, lock doors, make sure minions are ready to fight and occasionally perform special tasks for the bosses that hire you.

Game Concept Award (15-18) – Guzzlesarus’s Culinary Capers

Anna Carter (15 years)

Lincoln, East Midlands

Guzzlesarus’s Culinary Capers is an exciting adventure game for three to six year olds, which is all about teaching culinary skills. Each week, the parent chooses a recipe from the list which will be cooked at the end of the week with their child; at this point the ingredients list is emailed to them to save any hassle. In build up to the big culinary cook off at the end of the week, a new game arrives each day in HQ relating back to the ingredients in the recipe.

Game Making Award (10-14) – CyberPNK

Spruce Campbell (12 years)

Uckfield, East Sussex

Software: Unity 5.5 in C#

Your friends persuade you to try this amazing new VR software they just cracked. Upon entering the “Hivemind” you are accused of being a convicted criminal, sentenced to indefinite years in the game. A platforming adventure through a dangerous, corporate neon-glowing labyrinth with alternate realities.

Game Making Award (15-18) – Fractured Minds

Emily Mitchell (18 years)

Watford, Hertfordshire

Software: Unity, Autodesk Maya, Photoshop, Audacity

Fractured Minds is an immersive puzzle game that uncovers the daily struggles of people living with anxiety or any mental health issue. It is designed to give the player a genuine insight into the experiences of those quietly living with mental illness – the feelings of isolation, of being trapped, of everyday situations being distorted beyond recognition.

YGD Mentor Award

Dave Chilver, Teacher of IT and Games Design at Lowestoft Sixth Form College

Lowestoft, Suffolk

Dave Chilver is Teacher of IT and Games Design at Lowestoft Sixth Form College in Suffolk. Dave started teaching 10 years ago after completing his degree in Games Design and throughout his career has promoted the games as a viable career path rather than simply a media to be consumed. Outside of timetabled lessons, Dave runs several extracurricular coding and game design sessions, and for the past eight years has led the Lowestoft Game Designers Competition Club for students in the local community. The initiative has gone from strength to strength, and entries are now judged by the University of Suffolk and exhibited at the Norwich Gaming Festival. Across his career, Dave has worked tirelessly to promote computer science and game design to girls, and 46% of entrants to the Lowestoft competition last year were female, many of whom have gone on to study STEM subjects as a result.

YGD Hero Award – Unity Technologies

Unity Technologies is the creator of a flexible and high-performance end-to-end development platform used to create rich interactive 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. Unity’s powerful graphics engine and full-featured editor serve as the foundation to develop beautiful games or apps and easily bring them to multiple platforms: mobile devices, home entertainment systems, personal computers, and embedded systems. Unity also offers solutions and services for creating games, boosting productivity, and connecting with audiences including Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Asset Store, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Collaborate, Unity Connect and Unity Certification. Unity Technologies serves millions of registered developers including large publishers, indie studios, students and hobbyists around the globe. For more information, visit www.unity3d.com and to see the latest games and experiences created in Unity, go to madewith.unity.com.

For a full list of the winners and finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/winners-nominees

Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, is proud to announce the launch of its Digital Reach programme – a pioneering initiative developed to support the UK’s efforts to increase digital skills amongst some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

By harnessing the expertise of the UK’s leading youth organisations, which have longstanding and trusted relationships with the most marginalised young people, Digital Reach will demonstrate how they are perfectly placed to steer isolated young people towards positive futures.

The Basic Digital Skills UK 2017 report suggests that, despite an overall increase in the number of UK adults who have gained basic digital skills, at least 3% (300,000) of those aged 15-24 are still being left behind. Nominet Trust’s own research indicates that it is this group that is the most likely to be facing multiple forms of disadvantage. Digital Reach has been created to respond to this national challenge by reimagining digital skills delivery to the hardest-to-reach young people in our society.

With Nominet Trust’s funding and support, Digital Reach will be implemented through a consortium of delivery partners, all renowned for their work with disadvantaged young people. The programme will initially aim to engage with 4,000 of those on the wrong side of the digital divide; the effectiveness of models to scale will also be evaluated, allowing more young people to be reached.

Nominet Trust is investing over £600,000 into the following six initiatives chosen following a rigorous selection and pitching process. Twelve organisations will be involved in developing and implementing pilots over the next nine months:

  • Action for Children: Action for Children (ACF) will digitise their current paper-based content across three employability programmes in severely deprived urban areas in Scotland.
  • Carers Trust: Carers Trust will work with Good Things Foundation to develop an e-learning resource for young adult carers as an extension to Learn My Way (the most widely used tool for digital skills delivered through libraries and community organisations). Eight Carers Trust Network Partners will use the resource to help young adult carers gain the basic digital skills they need to achieve their aspirations.
  • Home-Start and #techmums: Home-Start and #techmums will collaborate to help 500 young mothers acquire basic digital skills to overcome the challenges they face in their daily lives, helping them become more confident and to achieve their personal and professional goals.
  • The Children’s Society and City & Guilds Group: The Children’s Society and City & Guilds will engage 550 young people across the Midlands and the North of England by helping them to improve their digital skills through accredited course development.
  • UK Youth: UK Youth will use the investment to create Digital Hubs in 10 member organisations, training a youth worker and three young people to become Digital Champions. They will then work with referral and outreach partners to support the most isolated young people that are engaged with the Digital Hubs.
  • Wales Co-operative Centre, YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA: Wales Co-Operative Centre will work with YMCA Swansea, Llamau and GISDA to engage 375 of the hardest-to-reach young people across Wales through a series of workshops and by incorporating digital literacy into existing life skills programmes.

Vicki Hearn, Director, Nominet Trust, commented: “Digitally disadvantaged young people are amongst the hardest-to-reach and we need new models to engage with them to disrupt the cycle of disadvantage and exclusion. Our evidenced approach gives us confidence that Digital Reach will have a tangible impact on the lives of those who have so far been left behind.

“Over the coming months, we will be supporting the six pilots and evaluating which are the most effective in helping disadvantaged young people acquire basic digital skills. Through Digital Reach we hope to create models that can be replicated to address the issue at scale and inspire other organisations to take a fresh look at their approaches.”

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet which founded and funds Nominet Trust, said: “Working closely with expert organisations that have existing relationships with the young people we need to reach to support their broader confidence is positive a move, not only for those young people but for the future of the digital economy. Engaging those who risk being left behind economically and digitally is vital if we are to take seriously the development of our future hiring pool and strengthen our digital skills in the UK.”

The Rt Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, said: “We are committed to closing the digital skills gap, giving everyone the knowledge and confidence to prosper in the modern economy. The work being done by Nominet Trust’s Digital Reach project, along with the Government’s Digital Skills Partnership, will play a pivotal role in encouraging and inspiring young people to find the training they need and identify digital job vacancies for them.”

To ensure Digital Reach demonstrates its social impact and generates shareable insights, evaluation will be an integral part of the programme. Nominet Trust will be working with Dr. Ellen Helsper, Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science and leading digital engagement expert, to develop an evaluation framework and validate the findings.

To find out more about Digital Reach and the theory behind it, you can download our prospectus. You can keep track of our partner organisations and the progress of their pilots by following @nominettrust and #DigitalReach on Twitter.

Today, Creative England and Nominet Trust announce that Northcoders and Turinglab are the first companies to receive support from the £1million iAMDigital Fund that invests in new and established SMEs working to close the digital skills gap for people currently excluded from our digital-by-default society.

Northcoders will receive £100,000 while Turinglab has secured £75,000. Both companies met iAMDigital’s criteria, which looks for scalable SMEs that aim to improve people’s employability, whilst also supporting the growth of the creative industries by increasing and diversifying the talent pool outside London.

Almost 90% of new jobs require some degree of digital ability and according to the ONS, 72% of employers wouldn’t interview a candidate without these skills[1]. This year 745,000 additional workers[2] are needed to meet rising demand from employers, a crisis currently costing the UK £63bn a year[3].

This crisis is even more acute in regions outside London, where in some instances, people are over 20% more likely to lack the understanding they need to utilise digital technology[4].

Mehjabeen Patrick, Chief Financial Officer for Creative England said, “We’re really excited by the impressive work that Turinglab and Northcoders are doing in this space, and we look forward to working with other companies addressing the vital issue of the digital skills gap in innovative ways”

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust commented,

“As the charitable foundation of Nominet – an internet company delivering public benefit and trusted guardian of the .UK namespace – one of our aims is to increase the digital capability of society. Northcoders and Turinglab are inspiring examples of how we can increase digital engagement and we believe that their funding will significantly improve the life chances of those directly involved. We encourage other organisations with a social mission to apply now for the second round of the iAMDigital open call.”

The iAMDigital fund, aims to directly address the digital skills gap by providing investment and support for organisations outside London, and within England[5], that are using the creative industries to help create accessible pathways to digital engagement and evidence positive social impact for people of all ages.


Manchester-based Northcoders is a diverse and inclusive school with a uniquely Northern culture, that runs a 12-week coding bootcamp ‘Accelerate’, which aims to prepare people for a career in tech. The company is committed to increasing diversity in tech and in 2016 granted nine full-funded scholarships to women.

The company will use the £100k iAMDigital award to move to a new teaching environment in The Federation. The Federation is an initiative led by the Co-op group to build an open community of digital businesses and innovators in the heart of Manchester. Northcoders’ move will increase the classroom size for the Accelerate programme, give their students access to the tech employers based at The Federation and offer a more versatile space which will help expand their coding class offer.

The new city centre location will mean that school leavers, apprentices and university graduates taking part in the bootcamp are in the same area as the North’s most significant tech employers, meaning Northcoders are directly contributing to the digital economy.

Amul Batra of Northcoders commented: “Tech is one of the fastest growing sectors in the North and there is a real problem with having the appropriately skilled workforce to maintain pace with this growth. Funding businesses like ours who can provide the vital skills to willing learners quickly will only help the sector grow more quickly. The more people we can teach to code and get into tech employment, the more difference we can make to people’s lives.’


Turinglab supports children from low income backgrounds in learning to code, helping to champion diversity in tech. The company has developed project-based learning software to teach programming to children in a practical and engaging manner. Turinglab will use the £75k investment from the iAMDigital fund to help expand its programming clubs and teaching software to communities and schools across the UK.

Sam Green of Turinglab said: “We teach children through creative, practical coding projects – embodying what it means to be both creative AND digital. Too often creative practices get overlooked in favour of traditional maths and science – however creativity is a fundamental skill needed in the 21st century and must be supported with equal importance.”

In 2017, the iAMDigital programme is looking to make further investments ranging from £50,000 to £200,000, and seeks companies looking to scale-up, plus secure further investment for growth. It will measure the social impact of the ventures and identify learning to inform future strategies for increasing digital engagement amongst marginalised groups.

Find out more @nominettrust / @creativeengland /

Visit iAMDigital website:  http://www.creativeengland.co.uk/tech-and-digital/iamdigital

For more information:

Fiona McGarva

Sundae Communications

0161 711 0517 / 07786 434313

fiona@todayissundae.co.uk / @todayissundae

[1] Digital skills crisis: second report of Session 2016–17

[2] House of Commons Science and Tech Select Committee in June 2016

[3] Digital skills crisis: second report of Session 2016–17

[4] Basic Digital Skills, UK Report 2015 prepared for Go ON UK in association with Lloyds Banking Group

[5] This is a requirement of Creative England’s funding, which considers anything inside the M25 as London and everything else as outside London. To be eligible for support, an organisation’s registered office can be in London provided the beneficiaries and significant operations of the company are outside of London.

Unity Technologies to receive BAFTA YGD Hero Award

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the finalists in a nation-wide competition to find the game designers of the future, and the educators who inspire them. The winners, chosen by a panel of games professionals, will be revealed at a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London on Saturday 8 July.

The BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, in association with Nominet Trust, gives young people the chance to design and create their own game. The initiative is now in its sixth year and has seen previous entrants go on to attract commercial interest, as well as a nomination at the British Academy Games Awards, BAFTA’s flagship ceremony for the games industry.

Forty games, made by individuals or teams of young people aged 10-18, will be vying for the Game Concept Award and Game Making Award, which recognise a written game idea, or a game made using computer software respectively. The winners of both strands, in 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges, will receive a host of prizes, including: a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further, tours of leading games studios, and a prototype of their game created by a team of developers. For the list of prizes, go to: http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-winners-prizes.

The young finalists come from across England, Scotland and Wales – stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance – and one-third is female. The successful entrants include two who were also finalists in 2016. To see the full list of young finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/winners-nominees.

Five educators are in the running for the YGD Mentor Award, which is presented to an individual, nominated by the public, involved in the education of young game designers. The winner in this category will be announced at the Awards ceremony in July. The Mentor Award finalists come from schools, colleges and code clubs in Renfrewshire, West Sussex, Suffolk and Bristol. For profiles of the Mentor Award finalists, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/about-ygd/ygd-news/ygd-2017-mentor-nominees.

BAFTA is also presenting a YGD Hero Award for support for young games designers by an industry professional or development team. The winner of this award, selected by the BAFTA Games Committee, is announced today as Unity Technologies, creators of Unity, the largest global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games and experiences, including a free version for personal use.

Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said:

“Each year I’m truly inspired by the amazing games that we see and the talent, creativity and enthusiasm that all our entrants show. I never fail to be humbled by how much better their work is than what I could do at their age. The entrants to this competition will help to define the future of the games industry, and I for one look forward to seeing what they come up with and playing their games.

BAFTA Young Game Designers also recognises those who inspire the next generation, and we’re delighted to honour the companies and teams within our industry that encourage people to get involved in making games, as well as the individuals who work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of games makers to achieve their dreams. The awards ceremony in July is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate with all the winners and finalists.”

Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, said:

“Nominet Trust are delighted to support BAFTA Young Game Designers for the third consecutive year. It’s a great opportunity for young people up and down the country to take part in, and be inspired by the games industry and for the sector itself, to ignite an interest in STEM careers. Once again, we’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and thrilled to see a sustained increase in the number of entries from girls.”

The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum.

Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Criterion, Jagex, King, Oracle Academy, SEGA, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unity and WB Games. Abertay University will support the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition. For further details about the initiative, visit www.bafta.org/ygd.

Nominet Trust has awarded £450,000 of follow-on funding to help accelerate the development of three tech for good ventures through their Social Tech Growth programme. The new funding will enable Limitless Travel, GiveVision and Konnektis to scale their operations significantly in 2017, making a huge difference to the everyday lives of thousands of people living with physical and visual impairments – as well as older people and their families.

The three ventures previously received funding through Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed programme; this offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to deliver significant social change. Their success has been so striking that Nominet Trust is now providing additional funding to support their further growth and development.


The three ventures are:

  • Limitless Travel – an online platform that makes it much easier for disabled travellers to search and compare accommodation and book holidays that meet their individual needs. The TripAdvisor-style site is easy-to-use and offers information on the accessibility of tourist attractions and accommodation – plus city guides, attraction listings and community advice designed to bring each location to life for people with disabilities and mobility issues, or the elderly. Funding will be focused on developing technology that facilitates the collection and automation of users’ data to deliver a seamless consumer experience based on intelligent recommendations.
  • GiveVision – their SightPlus headset allows people with visual impairment to see more clearly, increasing their independence and mobility. The wearable, hands-free device uses image-enhancing software to help people with low vision, enabling them to recognise objects and faces as well as watch TV and read comfortably. The new funding will help the business grow its customer base both locally and globally.
  • Konnektis – a reliable, secure digital platform that transforms communication between formal and informal carers, helping the 2.5 million older people receiving care in their own homes. After a successful trial with Bradford Metropolitan District Council in 2016, this additional investment will help Konnektis to scale their solution with ten more local authorities in 2017.

Angus Drummond, Founder of Limitless Travel, commented: “The funds, advice and guidance Nominet Trust provides is invaluable to a young and ambitious company such as ours. With our latest funding we’ll be developing new technologies to support our customers’ needs when booking holidays and also implementing robust processes to ensure we can fulfill high volumes of orders which meet our customers’ range of complex needs. Limitless is really beginning to change the face of travel for people with disabilities and none of this would be possible without Nominet Trust”.

Elodie Draperi, Co-founder of GiveVision, said:

“Thanks to the additional funding from Nominet Trust we’re able to boost product development, undertake trials with more patients and experiment with new directions in order to improve our product’s form factor and use, all while formalising and developing its deployment in the UK and abroad.”

Mark Howells, Founder of Konnektis, commented:

“We have made significant progress over the past year with the support of Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed programme and look forward to working with them into 2018.  Working with providers of health and social care, our immediate goal is to bring Konnektis to a greater number of people living independently in our communities; Nominet Trust’s continued funding and support gives us a solid platform to deliver this.”

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, said:

“Each of these ventures demonstrates the truly transformative power of digital technology to tackle pressing social challenges. With Nominet Trust’s support through our Social Tech Seed programme, these teams have already demonstrated their potential to deliver significant social impact. We’re confident that our Social Tech Growth funding will now enable them to scale their solutions, transforming the lives of even more people.”

Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards recognises ground-breaking orchestra for its contribution to empowering young musicians and inspiring wider participation in music creation.

South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO) was last night awarded the Learning & Participation award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom. The orchestra was recognised for its contribution to wider participation in music creation, empowering young disabled musicians, and high quality musical experience and understanding.

SWOYO is the UK’s first disabled-led regional youth orchestra, featuring disabled and non-disabled young musicians playing conventional and electronic instruments — including the ‘Clarion’, an award-winning, accessible musical instrument that can be played with any part of the body, including the eyes. Developed by OpenUp Music, with the support of Nominet Trust funding, the Clarion is making music creation accessible, challenging expectations, and opening-up opportunities for musicians to develop their abilities — all through the creation of great music. Two SWOYO musicians play the Clarion; Bradley Warwick with his eyes and George Roberts with small, precise movements of his head.

The Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards are the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom were set up in 1989 to celebrate the outstanding musical achievements of both young and established, British and International, musicians. The Learning & Participation award is awarded to a project, initiative or organisation which has inspired wider participation in music-making and has created high quality musical experience and understanding.

The work of the SWOYO is also laying the foundations for the National Open Youth Orchestra, the world’s first disabled-led national youth orchestra, due to launch in September 2018. The National Open Youth Orchestra is calling for more young musicians to join their pioneering group. They are looking for those who have a passion for music, are between the ages of 11-25, and have the drive to play any instrument with energy and perseverance. For more information, go to www.thenoyo.org

Social tech startup Alice has launched a new tool allowing charities to increase donations by showing donors exactly what impact their money makes. The first appeal to use the new funding platform is a pilot run by St Mungo’s, the homelessness charity, to help 15 people sleeping rough in London rebuild their lives.

Alice works by “freezing” donations until charities can prove they have achieved their social goals. This means that when donors give to a charity project on Alice, their donation is guaranteed to make an impact, or they get their money back.

Alice is one of the first companies in the world to make practical use of blockchain technology in the charity sector (beyond the simple use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether for donations). The company aims to lead a major step change in ethical fundraising, to help redress the decline of public trust in charities[1] and tap into donor demand for more information about their impact[2]. Specifically, Alice leverages blockchain ‘smart contracts’ to increase transparency and accountability. This allows Alice to:

  • Make the performance of charity projects public, and fully auditable
  • Ensure performance data is secure and extremely difficult to falsify or hack
  • Manage the conditional payment of donations based on charity performance

The first appeal, run by St Mungo’s and called Street Impact: 15 Lives, aims to help lift 15 people out of long-term rough sleeping thanks to intense personalised support. On its appeal page on Alice, St Mungo’s lists a number of specific goals it needs to achieve in order to receive donations, such as helping individuals find and then stay in a new home, with one to one support provided for up to six months after they move in to help them adapt. Other goals include helping people address any substance misuse or mental health issues that they may have.

Donors who respond to appeals such as Street Impact: 15 Lives can track when goals are met and when their gift is paid to the charity. Each appeal specifies how goals are verified, and who validates them.

Alice’s smart contracts are built on a public blockchain called Ethereum. To avoid the volatility of cryptocurrencies, donors make donations in pound sterling, using normal debit or credit cards. This innovative solution – applying the blockchain to “real world” money – is run partly in partnership with the Financial Conduct Authority, within its sandbox programme which aims to foster innovation in the financial services industry, and with Tramonex Labs, a fintech startup that issues e-money on the blockchain.


Raphaël Mazet, CEO, Alice, said:

“The charity sector is currently going through a crisis of public trust. We want to address that by helping trailblazing organisations like St Mungo’s, who are committed to transparency, to raise more funds for the amazing work they do. We’re excited to be launching this first pilot with an appeal that will make a really positive difference to the lives of 15 people. We hope to scale the project to help many more people if it’s successful.”

Rebecca Sycamore, Executive Director of Fundraising at St Mungo’s, said:

“People who have been sleeping rough for a long time often have complicated histories and issues they need help to tackle. This pilot gives us more flexibility than usual commissioned services do. This allows us to give these people the personalised support that we know will help them rebuild their lives away from the streets. We’re very pleased to help pilot this innovative funding platform, working with Alice and partners in Westminster and the Greater London Authority.

The pilot is being delivered using grant funding from Nominet Trust’s Social Tech Seed programme. Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, commented: “Alice has real potential to rebuild public trust in charities thanks to its innovative use of blockchain technology. Nominet Trust is proud to support Alice in piloting this platform, helping to lift people out of homelessness, and raising the bar for the transparency, accountability and security of charitable giving.”

[1] Public trust in charities falls to its lowest recorded level, UK Fundraising, 2016

[2] UK charities are missing out on £665m in donations every year, The Guardian, 2013

The free online JavaScript beutifier will organize your scripts. Make sure you use it every time before publishing codes.

A new group of early-stage social tech ventures has been awarded funding by Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading dedicated tech for good funder. The funding will support the development of digital technology solutions to improve the lives of others, including wheelchair users, vulnerable people who need help navigating the legal system, stroke survivors, victims of stalking, and young asthma patients. Using a variety of leading-edge technologies, these innovators are tackling real-world social challenges and creating positive change.

Eight social tech enterprises have been selected as the latest recipients of Nominet Trust’s successful Social Tech Seed funding programme. The combined grant and support package will enable these ventures to demonstrate the potential of their social tech products and services, providing digital tech solutions to a variety of social challenges and having a positive impact on people’s lives.


For example, Disrupt Disability, recognised in the 2016 NT100, is transforming the way wheelchairs are designed, manufactured and distributed – with a mission to help the 52 million people worldwide who do not have access to a wheelchair that meets their needs. Their disruptive and liberating approach has at its heart an online platform of open source wheelchair designs that enable people to access, create, and adapt components to reflect specific needs, producing wheelchairs that are affordable, modular and fully customisable.

media co-op’s incident recording app has been designed to empower victims of stalking. Developed with victims, campaigners, police, public prosecutors and lawyers in Scotland, the app will transform the way victims log stalking incidents – increasing their sense of control and the chances of successful prosecutions.

TapSOS Ltd has developed an app that provides a nonverbal method of contacting the emergency services. It works to help people whose ability to communicate is compromised, for example by hearing impairments, speech impediments, breathing difficulties, or who are victims of domestic violence. With TapSOS, they can call for help without needing to speak.


In this seventh round of Social Tech Seed, Nominet Trust has awarded a total of £374,763. Social Tech Seed is an open grant funding programme that offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to tackle social issues to improve lives. The programme supports projects tackling pressing social challenges such as the environment and sustainability, the justice system, education, employment and medicine. The eight organisations chosen will use the funding to develop their products and services further, demonstrating their social, user and financial value.


The other successful ventures are:

  • Corporation Pop has created Patient’s Virtual Guide, a mobile app that demystifies the hospital process for younger patients, allowing them to explore what they can expect to happen to them in hospital through a fun and stimulating game, harnessing augmented reality and beacon technology.
  • Neurofenix’s Gameball Platform revolutionises rehabilitation therapy for stroke survivors through games and social networking.
  • Tiny Medical Apps has developed Learnable – a gamified app to encourage teenagers to stick to their Personalised Asthma Action Plans.
  • Mapmyhealth is helping diabetes patients understand, engage with and self-manage their condition using digital therapeutics.
  • Just: Transcription is an automated speech-to-text service that produces fast, accurate and cost effective court transcripts, tackling the key barriers of accessibility and transparency of justice for the most vulnerable.


Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, said:

“The UK has a burgeoning social tech sector, but access to funding for start-ups at the very early stages of their development remains limited – yet this is crucial to enable social innovators to test their ideas and unlock the potential of digital tech to improve lives. Nominet Trust is proud to support these eight new ventures via our Social Tech Seed programme, which has been hugely successful in kick-starting dozens of similarly exciting new projects. We’re looking forward to seeing how they develop.”

Social Tech Seed has supported 40 organisations through its six cohorts to date. Previous grantees include Open Bionics, who use the latest 3D body scanning and printing technology to create bionic hands that are lightweight, take five days to fit and cost just £2,000; and Alice, an online platform harnessing blockchain technology to make charitable giving more transparent – restoring trust in charities.

Barbican Awards ceremony, sponsored by Nominet Trust, recognises digital innovation making a positive change

A new national initiative celebrating digital innovations making a positive impact on the way the UK lives, learns and does business, announced 12 winners at its inaugural awards ceremony today.

The winners of the 2017 DigitalAgenda Impact Awards, sponsored by Nominet Trust, have been recognised for the meaningful contribution they are making to change the world for the better.

The 12 winners, picked from more than 200 entries across three overarching categories – people, places and business – include literacy support software helping over 3.5 million children overcome everyday reading and writing challenges in classrooms worldwide, a network connecting businesses to ensure no edible food goes to waste and a new platform harnessing blockchain technology to ensure aid reaches its desired destination.

A panel of 12 judges* with extensive experience in startups, investment and impact technology chose the winning projects based on the innovative nature of their idea, project and their team, as well as their potential for scalability and impact.

The award-winning projects are:


  • Education (sponsored by Edtech UK) – Texthelp provides literacy support software for reading, writing and language learning in classrooms worldwide, helping students to overcome everyday reading and writing challenges.
  • Employment & skills (sponsored by ConnectTVT) – Founders4Schools is a charity that helps students aged 10 to 18 bridge the skills gap that bars them from entering work, connecting schools and students to an impressive network of digital business leaders.
  • Health (sponsored by Digital Catapult) – Babylon was created to put an affordable health service into the hands of everyone. As well as video GP appointments and free medicine delivery, Babylon uses artificial intelligence, which is always learning, to provide a 24/7 symptom checker service.
  • Money (sponsored by Bates Wells Braithwaite) – Squirrel is a simple bank account controlled by an app that makes it easy to budget, save, and avoid running out of money. It aims to empower users to take control of their money by putting money away so that it’s spent on what’s needed.


  • Cities (sponsored by Future Cities Catapult) – Pavegen is a clean technology company looking to redefine sustainability in the built environment, with the creation of a pioneering flooring technology that generates electricity and captures data from footsteps.
  • Climate (sponsored by The Planet Mark) – Bulb is a technology-led, renewable energy supplier on a mission to transform the way energy is bought, used and produced. It gives UK homes and businesses a choice of low-cost renewable energy alongside excellent customer service.
  • Food – FoodCloud is a social enterprise connecting businesses that have surplus food with local charities and community groups, helping ensure no edible food goes to waste.
  • Smart (sponsored by Design for Social Change) – Wayfindr is a non-profit on a mission to empower the 285 million people living with sight loss worldwide to take new journeys, increase confidence and open up new opportunities for relationships, employment and cultural experiences. Its open standard is designed to help make places and spaces more accessible.


  • Business transformation – Saberr creates happy, high-performing teams through software that helps people work well together, using data collection and algorithms to predict and improve performance.
  • Investment (sponsored by GP Bullhound) – ClearlySo ATLAS is a digital platform created to assess the social and environmental impact of businesses and investment portfolios. Developed jointly by ClearlySo and Reason Digital, ATLAS encourages more ethical and sustainable investment by making it easy to produce investment strategies that are not just for financial gain but also for the greater good.
  • Sharing & partnership – Neighbourly is a social platform that connects local projects with people and businesses that want to help. It connects local community and charity projects with companies and people that can help by giving donations of time, money or surplus food.
  • Social and economic transformation – AID:Tech harnesses blockchain technology to ensure that every donated resource – financial, medical supplies, food or blankets – is traceable at the point of use, ensuring that the right people receive the right help at the right time.

Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder, was the headline sponsor for the DigitalAgenda Impact Awards. Vicki Hearn, director of Nominet Trust, said:

“We’re incredibly proud to support DigitalAgenda in championing the pioneers using digital technology to enable positive change, and in raising the profile of the flourishing tech for good sector in the UK. Through our grant funding, partnerships and annual NT100, it is clear that Nominet Trust shares with DigitalAgenda a belief in the transformative power of digital technology when creatively applied to social challenges. It has been an honour to recognise these inspiring entrepreneurs and to celebrate their achievements.”

DigitalAgenda director and editor Julian Blake, who has led the creation of the Impact Awards, said:

“Technology isn’t seen by everyone as a force for good. There’s actually a tense relationship between the public and technology, with understandable fears about its effect on fundamentals like privacy, work and even happiness. But digital offers to answer some of the big challenges we face. Digital has the potential to deliver positive change fast, and at scale. It is changing the way children learn. It is making people healthier. It is improving public services. It helps us respond to people movements and floods. And it helps us understand global trends.

The Impact Awards highlight the extraordinary potential for technology to be a positive force and celebrate technology that is being used for impact, not just for profit.”

The ceremony took place at London’s Barbican Centre, with speakers including:

  • Sir Tim Smit – co-founder of the Eden Project
  • Mike Bracken – head of digital from Co-op
  • The team from BBC2’s Big Life Fix
  • Sue Black from #techmums/Saving Bletchley Park – and the winner of a special editor’s Impact Award on the day for her outstanding contribution to technology for good.
  • The event also featured a Nominet Trust innovator showcase featuring groundbreaking tech for good startups GiveVision and Open Bionics.

Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) – Europe’s first impact investment start-up accelerator – celebrates the fifth anniversary of its accelerator by announcing £1.3m new investment from Big Society Capital, Nominet Trust and Nesta.This is the first time that Big Society Capital has backed an accelerator programme. Big Society Capital join BGV’s founding partners Nesta and Nominet Trust.Since first opening applications in March 2012 BGV’s accelerator has invested £1.4m in 86 startups that use technology to address major social and environmental problems – BGV describes these as ‘tech for good’ startups.BGV currently has 56 active tech for good startups in its portfolio, that have raised over £23m in further funding between them, and are estimated to have benefited over 6.5m people with their products and services*. Notable success stories include Fairphone, the world’s first modular sustainable mobile phone, and DrDoctor, the hospital bookings system used by over 4 million NHS patients (case studies available on request).This new funding will be used to expand BGV’s operations, to build further partnerships and to develop later stage impact investment products for tech for good startups.* reported data as at January 2017.

Commenting on the need to expand BGV’s current model, which combines a 12-week accelerator with £20,000 investment, BGV CEO Paul Miller said:

“We’ve proved our accelerator model works, but it’s not enough on its own. Startups require ongoing support and funding to scale up their operations, this is especially true for startups focused on social impact. Last year we expanded our offer by being able to invest up to £50,000 in great teams after the accelerator stage. This year we’re planning a fund to be able to back alumni and other tech for good ventures with next stage capital. This will help to plug a notable hole in seed-stage impact investment available to startups in the tech for good space.”

Big Society Capital is the UK’s biggest wholesale investor into impact investment. Tom Bennett, Investment Director at Big Society Capital said:

“Bethnal Green Ventures has consistently lead the way in building early stage technology ventures that are helping to tackle some of the UK’s most challenging social problems. Big Society Capital are delighted to be able to help fund the next stage of Bethnal Green Ventures’ growth. We look forward to working with the Bethnal Green Ventures’ team to help use technology to deliver a better society.”

Nominet Trust has pioneered funding and support for tech for good ventures through its Social Tech Seed grant funding programme and campaigns such as the inspirational NT100. Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said:

“By supporting entrepreneurs who are using digital technology to enable positive change, BGV is playing a crucial role in growing the UK’s tech for good ecosystem and in consolidating our country’s global reputation for creative tech for good ventures. Nominet Trust is committed to ensuring this success continues; we’re proud to have been a founding partner of BGV and are excited to announce our renewed support today. BGV is a big part of the UK’s tech for good sector and, in helping them to grow, we’re also helping the sector to go from strength to strength.”

Nesta is the UK’s Innovation Foundation and has supported Bethnal Green Ventures. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive said:

“Nesta is proud to have been involved with BGV from its launch. Since then 10 cohorts of socially motivated business start-ups have been supported by BGV who’ve shown how intensive support can help entrepreneurs turn promising ideas into credible ‘profit with purpose’ businesses. We’re now delighted to be part of their next phase, with a fantastic group of partners bringing not only money but also knowledge and networks too.”

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is calling for entries for the 2017 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, in association with Nominet Trust, which aims to inspire the UK’s game designers and game-makers of the future by giving young people the chance to design and make their own game. Entries are now open at http://ygd.bafta.org/ and will close on Wednesday 3 May.

The winners will be named at a special awards ceremony in July at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London, attended by stars of the games industry. The successful entrants will receive further development for their winning game, mentoring by games professionals, visits to games studios, and a host of other prizes.


The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. The games sector makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to the UK. In 2016 UK consumers spent £2.96bn on boxed, downloaded and mobile games, which generated 2.6 times more revenue than music sales, and 1.3 times more than video sales (Entertainment Retailers Association 2017).

The competition, which attracted over 1,000 entries in 2016 alone, has been designed so that young people can enter in their own time, as part of a lesson in school, within a coding club, or as an additional homework challenge set by their teacher. To support teachers and code club leaders, BAFTA has created a range of free online teaching resources, which link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum, and can be downloaded for free (http://ygd.bafta.org/resources). BAFTA is also hosting teacher workshops and game design opportunities around the UK. For further details, and to hear insights and advice from BAFTA members, award winners and nominees, visit http://ygd.bafta.org/.

Now in its seventh year, the main YGD competition is aimed at 10-18 year-olds, divided into age-specific sub-groups. Entrants can be individuals or a team of up to three people, who can choose to enter two creative categories: The YGD Game Concept Award, for those creating a concept for a new game; and the YGD Game Making Award, for those making a game using freely available software. Dan Pearce, a YGD winner in 2010, was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013, and his game Castles in the Sky earned him a BAFTA nomination for Debut Game in 2014. This month, the winners of BAFTA YGD 2016 visited Dundee to view builds of their games developed by students at Abertay University.

For a third year, two awards will recognise contributions by adults: The YGD Mentor Award, nominated by the public, is for an inspirational individual involved in the education of young game designers; and the YGD Hero Award, for support for young games designers by an industry professional or development team, chosen by BAFTA’s Games and Learning & New Talent Committees. Ray Chambers, Head of Computing at Brooke Weston Academy, won the YGD Mentor Award in 2015 and has since gone on to win the UK National Teaching Award, and is currently a finalist for the Global Teacher Prize.

Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Criterion, Jagex, King, Oracle Academy, SEGA, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Unity and WB Games.

Tim Hunter, Director of Learning and New Talent at BAFTA, said:

“The BAFTA YGD competition is a great way for young people to explore their creativity and the craft of game design. Not only are students given the opportunity to design their own game, but to receive direct feedback from industry professionals and are able to see their idea be made into a reality. Each year, our finalists demonstrate just how much young talent is out there which makes us feel very optimistic about the future of the games industry, and we can’t wait to see this year’s entries.”

Chris Ashworth, Programme Director at Nominet Trust, said:

“The Young Game Designers competition provides an exciting opportunity for young people from across the UK to develop and enhance their creative digital skills through making and designing games. For a third consecutive year, Nominet Trust is proud to support the programme in engaging under-represented groups to pursue careers in game design – encouraging more entries from girls to help close the industry’s gender gap, and inspiring young people from all backgrounds to develop their digital skills. We’re looking forward to seeing the imagination and creativity in this year’s entries.”

For the Terms & Conditions, and to enter the BAFTA YGD competition, go to http://ygd.bafta.org/

Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, and The Baring Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for disadvantaged groups, have today announced the five organisations that will receive a total of £406,231 in funding to develop new innovations to engage the over 65s in the creative arts.

The new Digital Arts & Creative Ageing fund, which launched in June 2016, will address  widespread social isolation amongst the over 65s, improving health and wellbeing to help older people to live more autonomous and integrated lives. Research from Age UK has found that more than one million over 65s feel “always” or “very” lonely, which can have as damaging an impact on health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Age UK, 2015)1.

The five projects were chosen for their imaginative application of digital technology and their ability to scale and extend existing creative arts initiatives to the over 65s.  The successful projects are:

64 Million Artists: ‘Do, Think and Share’

Do, Think and Share is a collaboration between 64 Million Artists and Leicester Ageing Together. They aim to unlock human potential through a culture of creativity. The platform uses digital prompts and how-to videos to invite people to perform creative tasks they wouldn’t normally do, such as painting a self-portrait, then sharing what they’ve done and discussing the effect it had on their thoughts and feelings. The initiative takes place in small groups, which are facilitated digitally, so people can participate regardless of their physical ability.

Ashton Community Trust: ‘Digital Makers’

Digital Makers is a pioneering creative arts programme that gives older people in North Belfast the opportunity to make new friendships while trying out cutting-edge digital manufacturing equipment and learn new skills in a FabLab – a digital, design and fabrication laboratory. Groups of older people with a passion for arts and creativity, but to whom digital skills are new, are invited to create 2D and 3D digital craft products in an engaging and supportive environment. Professional artists will inspire and challenge them to use the digital tools to ignite their creativity.

Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company: ‘Digital Doris’

Digital Doris is a portable digital ‘kit’ which helps give older people the freedom to express themselves through movement and dance. The digital technology transforms everyday spaces into creative places to enable the user to interact with a projected digital version of themselves to create movement-based performance.

Ladder to the Moon: ‘Changing older people’s lives through interactive drama’

Ladder to the Moon is creating an online platform that enables older people living in care, and particularly those experiencing dementia, to benefit from interactive drama. The platform will empower staff in these care services with the skills, knowledge, guidance and materials to deliver interactive drama sessions. It will provide access to online play scripts, printable props, demonstration and teaching videos, and rehearsal exercises, enabling more of the estimated 70% of people living with dementia in UK care homes2 to benefit from this proven approach.

City Arts: ‘Armchair Gallery’

The Armchair Gallery App enables digital access to cultural collections for older people whose circumstances do not permit regular physical visits to museums and art galleries. The Armchair Gallery allows the over 65s to enjoy and appreciate a range of artwork through a series of virtual visits to arts and cultural venues, whilst raising curiosity and a deeper understanding about digital technology.


“With government projections suggesting almost 20% of the 20% of the UK population will be over 65 by 20243, we need to find new ways to combat loneliness and support those wanting to engage in purposeful activity,” said Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust. “We’ve seen how digital technology has the ability to enhance the lives and communities of the most vulnerable and isolated members of society.  I look forward to seeing how these five wonderful initiatives enable older people to participate in the joy of creative arts and deliver wide ranging benefits to their health and wellbeing.”

David Cutler, Director, The Baring Foundation, commented: “The pace of technology is moving faster than ever before, but this new investment fund plays an integral role in making sure the older generation aren’t left behind. These five projects bring creative arts to the over 65s in new and innovative ways, helping to keep them mentally engaged and socially included. We’re really looking forward to working with the teams over the coming months to support their growth and maximise the social impact that they can deliver.”

The five organisations will use the funding from Nominet Trust and The Baring Foundation to develop and scale their products and services to create sustainable and financially viable business models. More information about the Digital Arts & Creative Ageing fund can be found here.

[1] Promising Approaches to Reducing Loneliness and Isolation in Later Life; Age UK (2015)
[2] Alzheimer’s Society, Facts on dementia: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=535&pageNumber=2
[3] Office for National Statistics, Overview of the UK population, (February 2016)

Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading tech for good funder, has today unveiled the 2016 NT100 – a celebration of the 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive social change around the world. Now in its fourth year, the 2016 NT100 gives special recognition to ‘Everyday Tech Heroes’ — the inspirational people who have first-hand experience of the challenges they are tackling with tech.

The organisations chosen for this year’s NT100 have wide-ranging purposes, from those determined to democratise access to quality education and healthcare, to those connecting minority communities and evoking empathy. As in 2015, improving humanitarian response was again a strong and topical theme. But while the projects featured in the 2015 NT100 were largely responsive, in 2016 they demonstrate how humanitarian resources can be predictively deployed to mitigate crises and make sure scant resources are used well.

Other key themes in the 2016 NT100 include:

Social inclusion:

Despite 10% of the world’s population living with a disability, they are a chronically underrepresented group; yet over 10% of the ventures in 2016 NT100 are using technology to help people live more inclusive and autonomous lives.

Projects include EVA Park  – a virtual environment to help those with aphasia recover communication skills; Hand Talk – a Brazilian innovation introducing Hugo, a virtual interpreter that translates between spoken languages and sign language; DisruptDisability – which has created the world’s first open source wheelchair designs; and the South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO) – the UK’s only disabled-led regional youth orchestra. The founder of DisruptDisability, Rachael Wallach, and the SWOYO musicians are celebrated as Everyday Tech Heroes for imaginatively using technology to demonstrate how a physical disability need not inhibit your mobility or even deter you from being a world-class musician.

Economic Empowerment:

Eight NT100 ventures featured in 2016 are trailblazing routes towards economic empowerment for people who have been disenfranchised for too long.

Giraffe is a free recruitment app to help tackle high levels of unemployment in Cape Town, while Bim is a ground-breaking mobile money platform, opening up financial services to rural communities in Peru. Everyday Tech Heroes Nova Credit watched their families struggle financially when emigrating to the US, so they set up the world’s first international credit reporting agency, helping people to access essential funds to get established as new arrivals.


Health remains a strong theme this year, with a greater emphasis on mental health.  Three of the projects focus on helping those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – estimated to affect 7-8% of the US population alone.

Projects include MyBivy, which helps PTSD patients to avoid night terrors and BraveMind, a virtual reality therapeutic game that supports those recovering. Pioneering research from the team behind SimSensei has shown that a virtual human clinician can help PTSD sufferers and others to open up, enabling more effective mental health diagnosis and treatment.


10 of the NT100 show how technology can deliver education to excluded groups.

One example, Kiron, is an online tool providing a world-class education to refugees who are five times more likely to be out of school than the global average. Other ventures include OneUni, which aims to give everyone access to a university education through a mobile phone, and iScoil – an Irish online education system to help those who left school early to get back on track.


In 2016 we saw some incredible breakthroughs in delivering clean water to everyone.

Innovations ran the entire ‘pipeline’ including WaterScope – bringing fast, cheap and reliable water-testing kits to local communities in India and Gambia using a raspberry pi and a 3d printer, mWater – a global community of water surveyors working to highlight which places still need clean water, and Driblet – a smart water meter that monitors water usage, pressure and temperature and has the potential to cut water consumption by up to 30%.


10% of the 2016 NT100 focuses on technology that helps keep people safe, from the protection of those in conflict-zones to young people experiencing bullying.

Mine Kafon Drone, an airborne drone that can detect and remove landmines, was founded by Everyday Tech Hero Massoud Hassani. Having grown up near the minefields in Kabul, Hassani drew inspiration from his childhood to develop Mine Kafon to help clear the world’s landmines quickly and systematically and raise global awareness. In the UK Michael Brennan, another Everyday Tech Hero, responded to his own experience of being bullied as a young boy by creating tootoot – a safe and anonymous online reporting environment that gives students a voice.

Commenting on the 2016 NT100, Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “In our fourth year of the NT100, we have discovered 700 more social tech innovations from across the globe. It is truly inspiring to know that so many entrepreneurs from all walks of life are embracing digital technology as a force for social good. We hope inclusion in the 2016 NT100 provides a valuable stepping-stone for these life-enhancing ventures to raise their profile and secure further investment.”

“NT100 provides a platform that amplifies the collective power of the tech for good community. It has a valuable role to play in inspiring those with the influence and resources to accelerate the adoption of tech for social good and brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs, charities, technologists and others to share knowledge, experiences and skills to introduce social change on a global scale.”

“Vitally, our recognition of Everyday Tech Heroes this year shows that you don’t have to have influence and a big budget to play an inspirational role.  With the right tech tools and a powerful desire to change the status quo, these heroes are tackling some of the world’s most pressing social challenges – starting with the ones on their own doorsteps.”

“The NT100 is a powerful and influential initiative, bringing together many hundreds of social tech innovations from around the world which each embrace digital technology for good,” comments Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, founder and funder of Nominet Trust. “That such a diverse selection of inspiring projects is curated in this way is so important, not least for the global platform it provides each of them to secure future investment, but for the wide-ranging challenges they help to address and solve. As the founder and funder of Nominet Trust, we are delighted that through supporting international campaigns like the NT100, and UK-based tech-for-good ventures, Nominet is able to play a key role in helping to create a vibrant digital future, for all.”

The 2016 NT100 was selected following a three-month period of research and public nominations. Shortlisted projects were reviewed by a panel of organisations including: Big Lottery Fund, Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Nominet, Oxfam, Telefonica O2 and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

The complete 2016 NT100 is now live at http://socialtech.org.uk/nominet-trust-100/2016/.  For more information, or to organise an interview with Nominet Trust or the featured projects, please contact us on nt100@wildfirepr.com or +44 (0) 208 408 8000.

Over one third of the projects in the 2016 NT100 revealed today by Nominet Trust – the UK’s leading tech for good funder – are inspired by people who have a personal connection to the challenges they are tackling with digital tech. Motivated by a desire to disturb the status quo for the greater good, this year’s Everyday Tech Heroes include individuals tackling everything from local injustices to issues that affect us all as a global community.

Here are just some of the amazing NT100 projects created by inspirational Everyday Tech Heroes:

Social inclusion

The World Health Organisation estimate that over 65 million people need a wheelchair to live an independent life, yet 80% do not have access to one that meets their needs due to the cost of customisation. Rachael Wallach was just 18 when an injury left her with impaired mobility but luckily received a grant from the Snowdon Trust to buy a lightweight wheelchair. Recognising that others were less fortunate, Rachael established Disrupt Disability to bring together a nascent community of makers. This virtual community is working together to build the first online library of free, open-source designs that can be easily adapted to produce customised, low-cost, 3D-printed wheelchairs, giving equality of opportunity for freedom and independence.

Another hugely inspiring project is the South-West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO). Bradley Warwick’s biggest dream was to perform in an orchestra, but his cerebral palsy made this seemingly impossible. In 2015, OpenUp Music launched the SWOYO – the UK’s only disabled-led regional youth orchestra. Using cutting-edge digital technology developed by OpenUp Music, Bradley can now use his eyes to play a specially adapted instrument alongside other young people in the orchestra.

Lise Pape’s father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease ten years ago. Having suffered severe side effects from prescription medication, her father then started to experience Freezing of Gait (FoG) a sudden inability to move where the feet feel as if they are glued to the floor, which can result in dangerous falls. One in three people aged 65 or over experience a fall each year; Lise set out to find a way to help them and her father. While studying for a Masters in Innovation Design Engineering in London, she discovered that visual cues can help trigger movement during ‘FoG’ by focusing the person’s attention. Lise went on to create two products; Path Finder, which emits a laser beam to encourage movement; and Path Feel, a shoe insole that helps wearers to feel the floor better by providing active feedback.

Humanitarian response

There are approximately 60 million displaced people around the world. Moreover, with a severe lack in critical post-disaster supplies, up to $100 billion is spent responding to crises every year. Aid buyers face a constant battle with a slow procurement process and often need to compare at least three quotes to satisfy audit guidelines. Stephanie Cox experienced this frustration first-hand during the Ebola Crisis when her search for water filters kept coming up empty. This led her to develop ‘The Level Market’ (TLM) to provide ‘Amazon-like’ services adapted to aid workers’ needs, helping to reduce response times during crises. TLM allows buyers to compare products directly, and receive custom pricing and delivery quotes using one form, rather than making multiple enquiries.

When Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responded to a major outbreak of measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015, they sent in hundreds of vaccination teams to cover such a huge area of land. However, their work was disrupted by hours spent navigating difficult terrain and trying to locate those in need. Motivated by this challenge, MSF’s Peter Masters created the Missing Maps project to help the doctors identify areas with vulnerable populations that aren’t always visible using tools such as Google Maps. Using satellite images from OpenStreetMap, Peter and his team developed MapSwipe – an app that allows anyone with a smartphone or tablet to scan thousands of satellite images of unmapped areas and tap once if they see roads or buildings, twice if they are unsure and three times if the area is not visible due to cloud coverage. The app has already been downloaded 9,000 times and has 7,000 active users who have already surveyed over 420,000km of imagery.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, commented: “Digital technology is now accessible to more people in more locations and in more ways than ever before. These innovative projects created by our Everyday Tech Heroes are testament to that and demonstrate how powerful social tech can be in tackling a wide breadth of issues regardless of magnitude, geography or budget. NT100 gives these pioneers the platform to inspire others to address inequality, making the world a better place for everyone.”

To find out more about these examples, or other Everyday Tech Heroes that feature in the 2016 NT100, please contact us on +44 (0) 208 408 8000 or nt100@wildfirepr.com.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the winners of the 2016 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition in association with Nominet Trust, at a prestigious awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London.

The winners include four aspiring game creators aged between 10 and 18, as well as an inspirational teacher. Media Molecule, the makers of the multi-BAFTA-winning puzzle platform games LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2, received the previously announced YGD Hero Award.

BAFTA YGD, now in its sixth year, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for a written idea for a new game; and the Game Making Award, for a game made using computer software. The winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts, are:

  • Game Concept Award (10-14 year-old category): Aysheq Hussain, aged 13, from Birmingham, with the game Imagibots – Save Eden Green.
  • Game Concept Award (15-18 year-old category): Nic Gordon, aged 18, from Derby, with the game YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED.
  • Game Making Award (10-14 year-old category): Charlie Thurston, aged 14, from Forest Row in East Sussex, with the game Apocalypse Alpha.
  • Game Making Award (15-18 year-old category): Daniel Smith, aged 18, from Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, with the game Spectrum.

The four award-winning young people will receive a host of prizes, including further development of their game with industry experts. For the full list of prizes, go to: http://bit.ly/YGDPrizes2016

The YGD Mentor Award, presented to an individual nominated by the public for their involvement in the education of young game designers, was awarded to Michael Warburton, Head of Games Development at Cambridge Regional College and creator of Rizing Games – the first FE educational commercial games development studio in the country.

The YGD Hero Award was accepted by Alex Evans and Siobhan Reddy, Technical Director and Studio Director at Media Molecule. The games studio was selected by the BAFTA Games Committee for its continued support for young game designers.

The YGD Awards ceremony was hosted by CBBC presenter Ben Shires (Officially Amazing) and games journalist Jane Douglas. Presenting the awards were: BBC Radio 1 presenter Dev Griffin; actress Amy-Leigh Hickman (The Dumping Ground, EastEnders); Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment); and games scriptwriter Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword).

In a message of support to all the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of BAFTA, said:

“When I met the winners of the 2015 competition, I saw for myself the remarkable game ideas and game-making skills of young people today and I am once again very impressed by the unique ideas of this year’s finalists.

“The games industry continues to be one of the most successful, creative and fastest growing in the country and I am pleased to see so many young people taking advantage of this exciting opportunity – one which could well launch their careers as the next big thing in British games.”

The Duke also praised the high number of entries which came through schools this year “highlighting the growing enthusiasm by teachers and educators to consider games as an art form and a viable career.”

Harvey Elliott, who comes to the end of his term as Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said:

“Once again, we are overwhelmed by the amount of talent showcased in this competition by all of our finalists and today’s very deserving winners. The creativity exhibited through the BAFTA YGD Awards each year demonstrates the wealth of young talent available to the games industry, and it is a great privilege for BAFTA to play such an active role in nurturing and celebrating the game makers of tomorrow. We are always greatly indebted to the educators who continue to inspire creativity in their students and support the initiative, with special thanks this year to our YGD Mentor Award winner Michael Warburton.”

Edward Evans, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Nominet Trust, said:

“We are thrilled to be supporting BAFTA’s Young Game Designers competition once again, helping young people make the transition from game consumers to game makers, particularly girls, who make up one third of this year’s finalists. We were hugely impressed by the calibre of the applications this year, which made the judging very hard. The finalists demonstrated real creativity and skill and we congratulate all the winners and finalists on their amazing achievements.”

The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum.

Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Criterion Games (an EA Studio), Google, Jagex, Pinewood Games, SEGA, Sony Computer Entertainment UK, Unity, Ubisoft and WB Games UK. Abertay University supports the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition. For further details about the initiative, visit www.bafta.org/ygd.

BAFTA YGD winners in 2016:

Game Concept Award (10-14) – Imagibots – Save Eden Green

Aysheq Hussain (13)


One day out of the blue, Professor Eden received a telephone call from the Mayor of Eden Green. It was terrible news, there was a massive asteroid on a collision course for the village and apparently there was nothing the government could do to save Eden Green from being obliterated.

Game Concept Award (15-18) – YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED

Nic Gordon (18)


YOU ARE BEING FOLLOWED is a story-driven game, containing puzzle and exploration elements. You control of Emma, a blind woman, driven by paranoia to leave the noise of her home in a bustling metropolis in pursuit of a place of complete silence.

Game Making Award (10-14) – Apocalypse Alpha

Charlie Thurston (14)

Forest Row in East Sussex

The world has been ravaged by a deadly and mysterious infection known as The Judgement, the lucky ones are dead and the minds of survivors are destroyed. Society crumbles and those left with their humanity intact must fight to survive. Throughout the game you must scavenge for supplies and weapons, fight your way through the hordes of Infected and reach the Airbase in one piece. You’ll make friends and enemies, but in the end it’s every man for himself.

Game Making Award (15-18) – Spectrum

Daniel Smith (18)

Gateshead in Tyne and Wear

SPECTRUM is a mind-bending first person puzzler that challenges you to switch colours and manipulate gravity in order to escape a digital labyrinth. You don’t know why you’re there or what the purpose of the place is. The only way to navigate the chambers is completing increasingly challenging puzzles, the more you overcome, and the more you learn the dark secrets this digital place hides.

YGD Mentor Award

Michael Warburton, Head of Games Development at Rizing Games, Cambridge Regional College

Michael Warburton is Head of Games Development at Cambridge Regional College. As part of his work in leading the BTEC Level 3 Computer Games Development Course, he has created Rizing Games – the first FE educational commercial games development studio in the country. As part of Rizing Games, Michael’s students now run a stall at E3 every June and continue to be the only UK-based college or University to attend and exhibit commercially released games.

The nine other finalists, nominated by the public, were:

  • Amanda Wilson – Volunteer Computing Expert at West College, Scotland
  • Graham Foucher – Games Development Lecturer at South Essex College
  • Matthew Applegate, Founder of Creative Computing Club in Suffolk
  • Matthew McGrory – Senior Lecturer in Games Art & Design (Designer) at Teesside University
  • Patricia West – Teacher of ICT and Computing at Horndean College
  • Ryan Laley – Student Manager and Lecturer at South Essex College
  • Simon Webb – Code Club Leader and Curator of the Museum of Computing in Swindon
  • Terry Watts – Head of Computing & IT at Cotham School, Bristol
  • Vee Lakhani – Subject leader for ICT/Computing at Chesham Grammar School

YGD Hero Award

Media Molecule

Media Molecule is a game development studio based in Guildford . Founded in 2006 by a group of like-minded friends looking for new creative challenges, Media Molecule has grown from humble beginnings to become one of the industry’s most pioneering developers, constantly pushing the boundaries between the player and the creator. Whilst maintaining a small family feel, Media Molecule has gone on to develop BAFTA-winning, critically acclaimed titles such as LittleBigPlanet, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Tearaway. The studio consistently aims to tell beautiful and compelling stories that give players the power to go forth and create their own adventures and their own worlds.

For a full list of the winners and finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to http://bit.ly/YGDnoms2016

Leading charities Nominet Trust and The Baring Foundation have today launched a £500,000 fund for digital tech solutions to engage older people in the creative arts – from painting and sculpture to singing and drama.

The Digital Arts & Creative Ageing programme kicks off today with an open call for applications. It will offer forward thinking organisations the chance to receive grant funding of up to £90,000, plus business support to scale existing creative arts services. The successful applicants will demonstrate how digital tech is being used effectively as a medium or tool to engage the over 65s in the creative arts.

The two-year project will be spearheaded by two organisations well known for their work in addressing social challenges. Nominet Trust is the UK’s leading tech for good funder while The Baring Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people experiencing disadvantage and discrimination.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said:

“Through our grant funding, partnerships and the NT100, we see extraordinary examples of how the internet and digital technologies are tackling a broad range of social challenges, across numerous sections of society. This partnership with The Baring Foundation will explore how grant funding can make a difference in supporting the development of scalable and sustainable models for using digital technology to engage older people in the creative arts. I’m excited to see how pioneering organisations working at the fusion of these sectors can deliver innovative digital engagement projects, extending enjoyment of the arts to those of more advanced years.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, over 65s account for almost 20% of the UK’s population – a 47% increase since the mid-70s1 . According to Age UK, over 1million people aged 65 and over feel “always” or “very” lonely, which the organisation claims can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Age UK, 2015)2 .

Following a recent report ‘Technically Older’ by The Baring Foundation (2015), there is now significant evidence to indicate that providing access to digital arts has positive benefits to the general health and wellbeing of older people3`. This improvement in health and wellbeing has an economic knock-on effect as it decreases the public cost of looking after older people on the NHS as well as other social care services; which currently equates to two-thirds of total expenditure (Kings’ Fund, 2015)4.

David Cutler, Director of The Baring Foundation, said:

“We know that access to enjoying the arts has unquestionable benefits for health and wellbeing of the over 65s. At the same time there can be little doubt as to how digital inclusion has the ability to further enhance older people’s access to the arts. Our new partnership with Nominet Trust recognises this and works to give the UK’s ageing population further access to the arts through the use of digital technology.”

The programme is designed to support the scale and sustainability of existing service providers. Successful applications will not only demonstrate how they engage older people in the creative arts to enhance their health and wellbeing, but will also demonstrate a financially sound businesses model that has the potential to be self-sustaining.

About The Baring Foundation

The Baring Foundation was established in 1969 by Baring Brothers Bank and since 1995 has been an independent funder. It tackles discrimination and disadvantage throughstrengthening civil society in the UK and abroad. The arts are one of the Foundation’s three funding strands and since 2010 this programme has focussed on arts with and by older people. A brief account of this work entitled ‘Getting On’ can be found on the Foundation’s website: www.baringfoundation.org.uk

Tech company Open Utility have today released the findings of their six‐month trial of Piclo, the Britain’s first online peer‐to‐peer marketplace for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly. Findings from the six‐month  trial  have  revealed that local markets are the future of a decentralised energy economy and that significant savings can be achieved by making grid charges fairer through local matching ‐ if Piclo is widely adopted alongside Open Utility’s proposals to Ofgem for fairer grid charges it could mark a step‐change for the industry.

The Piclo trial was a collaboration between energy startup Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy with funding from leading tech for good investor Nominet Trust and The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme run by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It gives consumers and generators the tools and data needed to allow them complete choice and control,  whilst also providing electricity retailers groundbreaking insights into their customers purchasing decisions.

James Johnston, Open Utility CEO and co‐founder said: “Open Utility believe peer‐to‐peer local energy matching could unlock billions of pounds of additional revenue for renewable generation technologies in Great Britain and overseas, heralding an age of decentralised and clean electricity. And now, following the release of our six‐month trial we are in a perfect position to maximise the benefit from the smart meter rollout to 30 million households and businesses across Wales, Scotland and England by the end of 2020 alongside the recognition by  Ofgem  that  it  is  in  consumers’  interests  to  be  settled  against  their  half‐hourly consumption data.”

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said: “At Nominet Trust, we’re passionate about the potential of the internet and digital technology as a force for social good. It’s been exciting for us to support  Open Utility’s growth through our funding for Piclo, building a fairer, renewable energy marketplace for consumers and producers – and also helping to preserve vital resources for future generations. We’re now thrilled to see the results of the Piclo trial and its potential to unlock value in local energy markets.”

Piclo takes in all the price and preference information and matches electricity demand and supply  every half an hour. Good Energy  help  ensure that the marketplace  is  always balanced, purchasing surplus power or providing 100% renewable top‐up when required.

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy CEO and founder said: “Good Energy’s vision is of an energy system where control is in the hands of people, harnessing the awesome power of the UK’s natural resources, and electricity is generated by the communities who use it. The Piclo trial has provided a glimpse of what a future powered purely by renewables could look like, with everything from rooftop solar to community wind turbines playing a role”.

The trial generator participants included community energy groups, private developers, family‐owned  and charity sites ‐ City of Cardiff Council, National Trust, Westmill Solar, Community Power  Cornwall, Brixton Energy. Consumers included sustainable businesses, charities and a co‐housing  association ‐ Eden Project, Watergate Bay Hotel, Lancaster Co‐Housing, Benson Signs and BDP.

Download the report here: https://www.openutility.com/#piclo-trial-report

The Eden Project is joining Piclo, a revolutionary trial challenging the energy industry norms for electricity choice and efficiency.

The Cornwall-based visitor attraction and educational charity has signed up to be part of the six-month Piclo trial, beginning tomorrow (October 1). Piclo is a collaboration between energy startup Open Utility and green energy provider Good Energy. The service is the UK’s first online market for renewable energy, allowing consumers and generators to buy and sell renewable energy directly.

Piclo brings the ‘sharing economy’ to the energy industry, as part of the global movement disrupting industries through apps, new business models and digital technology. The peer-to-peer energy market hands control back to the customer. Piclo gives consumers and generators the tools and data needed to have complete choice and control over pricing and consumption.

Piclo takes in all the price and preference information and matches electricity demand and supply every half hour of the day. Good Energy help ensure that the marketplace is always balanced, purchasing surplus power or providing 100% renewable top-up when required.

The Eden Project can use Piclo to unlock local energy markets. The online service allows the Eden Project to select local generators as its main supplier, creating a Cornwall-based energy market.
Piclo is available across the UK. Generators are signed up across England, Wales and Scotland, including Broadmoor Farm Solar (50kW solar farm in Dorset), Community Power Cornwall (160kW installation in Cornwall), Sustainable Hockerton (225kW wind turbine in Nottinghamshire) and Waterditch Dairy (a 100kW solar farm in Hampshire ).

Open Utility and Good Energy have partnered to trial Piclo for six months. Energy trading for generator and consumers begins on October 1st, while Piclo launches publicly in November. The innovative project is funded by The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund scheme run by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the UK’s leading Tech for Good funder, Nominet Trust.

Piclo is currently accepting half-hourly settled generation and consumption sites. For more information and to register your interest, visit the Piclo website.

Juliet Davenport, Good Energy CEO and founder:

It’s great news that Eden Project is joining this visionary project. It’ll be really interesting to see how Piclo’s ground breaking technology will transform the energy market. Just like Good Energy, Eden Project is all about being a catalyst for positive change and this is something we passionately support as a pioneering independent energy supplier.

James Johnston, Open Utility CEO and co-founder: “Eden Project is an incredibly forward-thinking organisation that are pushing the boundaries of sustainability.

“They’re challenging preconceptions about what is possible to do, what is possible to build, and they’ve created this amazing environment that delights everyone who goes there. To power these biomes, they need a lot of electricity – and what better to source this electricity from efficient, local renewable generators.

“We’re looking forward to having Eden Project as part of Piclo, as the online service represents a step change for the energy industry. From October, we will be one step closer to our vision of a local, low cost and democratised energy industry.”

Gus Grand, Head of Policy at the Eden Project, said:

“We’re pleased and proud to be part of the Piclo trial. Eden has a long history of supporting renewable energy generation and we feel that Piclo has the potential to revolutionise the energy market, connecting customers with their energy suppliers in a way that hasn’t previously been possible.”


Georgie, a smartphone designed for blind people, by blind people, has been launched to transform the lives of the almost 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss.

Lady using the Georgie smartphone especially designed for blind and visually impaired people
Developed by not-for-profit social enterprise Screenreader and available through exclusive partners Sight and Sound Technology, the new smartphone includes apps built specifically to help blind users navigate day-to-day obstacles like catching a bus, reading printed text and knowing their exact whereabouts in unfamiliar areas.
Tasks more commonly associated with smartphones like using Twitter, reading text messages and shooting a camera have also been updated to be much easier to use and accessible to visually impaired people for the first time.

Georgie, named after Margaret’s first Golden Labrador guide dog, is the work of 18 months of development and testing, working closely with the blind community for their feedback.
Georgie makes use of Google’s Android operating system and existing Samsung phones like the Samsung XCover and Galaxy Ace 2, picked specifically to be easy to use for blind users. The large buttons on an uncluttered screen, voice feedback whenever the screen’s touched and an innovative way to select the desired option also make the basic functions of the phone easier to use for visually impaired people, as well as those unfamiliar with modern technology.

“I was able to send my very first text just earlier this year thanks to Georgie” said Screenreader co-founder Roger Wilson-Hinds. “It’s exactly that type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight. More than that though, it’s also going to help solve every day problems for blind people so they can be more confident about navigating the real world and become independent.”

Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology added “Companies like Apple and Google have done a good job of adding accessibility tools to smartphones, but Georgie is the first smartphone solution developed with the visually impaired in mind. For that reason Georgie offers relevant features which, coupled with our expertise in offering customer support to the blind community, makes for a really exciting, well supported product that we’re proud to exclusively distribute.”

Out of the box Georgie comes with features to let users dial a number with the voice assisted touchscreen, manage contacts, use speech input to send text messages and tag previous routes or hazards (like potholes or low hanging branches) using the navigation apps.

A variety of additional apps are also available for purchase and bundled into three different packages, Travel, Lifestyle or Communicate, to add more functions to support different aspects of daily life that blind people may currently find challenging. These bundles are available for £24.99 each and include the following extra features:

Near me – find places of interest – everything from bus stops and cafes to the local zoo.
Buses – know when the next bus is arriving and when to get off
Weather – forecasts for any area
Audio Player – listen to audio books, talking newspapers and podcasts
Voice Assistant – ask almost any question and an answer is returned in audio format
Colour – find the colour of an object or garment
Assistance – call a helper who can tell you exactly where you are
Audio Tagging – add a sound clip to images so they can easily be found later
OCR – turn a photo into a text document that can be listened to and saved
Camera Assistant – take a photo and be told what it is (rice pudding or a tin of beans)
Twitter – send and receive tweets
Blogs – record and broadcast audio blogs

Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation) are announcing a new £600,000 funding programme. The funding will be available to charity-led initiatives to develop any one of eight new digital products that will better help young people look after their mental health and wellbeing.

The eight ideas have been generated jointly by young people, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals through the Innovation Labs Project which ran from Oct 2011 – April 2012.

Not for profit organisations can apply to develop any or all of the eight ideas and can work with a private partner, provided they are leading the project.


The eight ideas are:

  • Mind’s Eye: An online mood monitoring & wellbeing tool reflecting and linking mood to young people’s lives.
  • Madlyinlove: A website dedicated to love and mental health issues – for young people with mental health problems and their partners.
  • Doc Ready: A digital tool to support young people visiting their GP to ensure they use their consultation time effectively.
  • Medfacts: Easy to understand and reliable online information and advice on how prescribed drugs may influence mental and physical health (including side effects) plus simple explanations of how the medications work.
  • Keep the trust: Sympathetic online support, advice and informal training for adult non-health professionals identified by young people (i.e. youth workers and teachers) around young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
  • My Places: Online mapping of services available locally to a young person to assist them in ensuring good mental health and wellbeing with ability for services to be rated and have feedback.
  • MiniMe (formerly Tamagotchi & Me / Crisis): A personal interactive recovery guide using information inputted by the user on their activity, environment and mood with the ability to issue an alert to friends & family of the need for support.
    Job for Me: Online service to support young people with / recovering from mental health issues on their journey employment, education, and training.
  • The development of young people’s mental health and wellbeing is at the heart of the project, and further funding from the partners will help to get young people directly involved in the decision-making process. Evaluation work will also be undertaken to review learning and good practice from developing and implementing the new ideas.

Young people will help ensure that services fully meet their needs by participating in the grant-making and product development/ implementation processes over the next two years.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust explains: “We are always looking for projects which demonstrate the power of digital technology to change lives for the better. This programme presents a real opportunity to work with young people to develop the digital tools they need to transform their lives in practical ways. It will take the ideas of young people with mental health issues and make them happen.”

Susan Blishen, Right Here Project Manager adds: “Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation, through the national Right Here programme, are committed to giving young people a voice and a choice in the way that services look after their mental health. The Innovation Labs initiative is an exciting new development which will see a suite of digital products, conceived and developed by young people themselves, which will be accessible and effective in supporting the emotional wellbeing of thousands of young people across the UK.”

Gilly Green, Comic Relief’s Head of UK Grants says: “Comic Relief is pleased to work in collaboration with other funders on this new programme which has young people at its heart and will support the voluntary and community sector in using digital technology for innovative service delivery.”

Cernis have published a report outlining the methods and approaches adopted during phase 1 of the Innovation Labs Project to generate ideas around how technology can help young people look after their mental health. A copy can be downloaded here.

The Invitation to Apply document alongside the Functional Specs for each of the eight product ideas can be found at www.innovationlabs.org.uk

Funding will be allocated around £47K per idea and the deadline for Expressions of Interest is 12 noon on Wednesday 5 September 2012. The grants can start being spent from January 2013 and must be fully spent by June 2014.

For further information, please contact:

Mental Health Foundation Press Office: Marine Jamet Tel: 020 7803 1110 mjamet@mhf.org.uk
Nominet Trust Press Office: Munro & Forster: Sarah Brown/Lorraine Calvey Tel: 020 7815 3900 sarah.brown@munroforster.com or Lorraine.calvey@munroforster.com
About the Innovation Labs Project:

The Innovation Labs Project is a partnership between Comic Relief, Nominet Trust and Right Here (Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation).

The aim of this UK-wide project is to work with young people aged 16-25, technology experts, youth workers and mental health professionals to explore how technology could better help young people look after their mental health.

The project began with a seven-month idea-generation process, delivered by Cernis and steered by a project team made up of the three partners and young people from Right Here, B-eat, Rethink Mental Illness and Dipex.

About 200 ideas were generated through two Innovation Labs events and a three-month online incubation period which involved around 40 young people (16-25 years old) and about 60 technology, youth work and mental health professionals.

The final eight ideas were selected and each one will be developed with around £47,000 in funding via this new programme.