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Feel-good Friday: Eight UK social enterprises secure seed funding to use tech for good

3 min read

15 April 2016

Former deputy editor

Social tech investor Nominet Trust has delivered seed investments for eight British tech for good ventures, providing approximately £50,000 to each business to support disabilities, young offenders and more.

Nominet Trust claims to be the only funding provider of its kind in the UK and invested the money from a total pot of £388,000. The eight companies shone among 250 ventures that applied for funding from the fifth Social Tech Seed programme.

With 70,000 social enterprises across the UK, the government said they contributed £24bn to the economy in 2015 and possess a staff headcount of almost one million. That, combined with Britain’s appetite for tech business innovations, is why Nominet Trust thinks it’s unsurprising many social ventures are embracing digital for good.

Previous winners have used technologies such as 3D printing to support children with cerebal palsy, while an app called BuSK lets street performers process payments from onlookers, recognizing that consumers are less cash-reliant in today’s market.

“The UK has a booming tech industry, but many tech for good ventures struggle to find early-stage investment to test the potential of their idea,” said Vicki Hearn, director of Nominet Trust.

The eight ventures to secure funding from the fifth Social Tech Seed are:

(1) Bounce Works – Apart of Me: Children receive support in this interactive game when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

(2) Cafedirect Producers’ Foundation – Digital Farm: East African farmers are given the power to analyse their own data with accessible tools.

(3) Konnektis: A digital communication channel connecting carers of the elderly.

(4) Vision Technologies – GiveVision: Developed for people with sight loss, software provides “eyes” for wearers with smart glasses.

(5) Games for Life (CIC) – Brain-Training comes of age: Young offenders are given the chance to be rehabilitated with a programme that develops attention so they can avoid a prison and unemployment circle.

(6) Visual Assistant: The visually-impaired are supported with tech-enhanced sight.

(7) CliqStart – ALICE SI: Philanthropists can keep track of their donations to see the difference charitable contributions are making.

(8) Limitless Travel: Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions are reviewed on this platform, which lists the locations available to people with disabilities.

The funding provided by Nominet will allow the companies to enhance their services, while increasing value for the business, as well as the users and communities they service.

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Hearn added: “The successful ventures in this round of Social Tech Seed have set out to drive positive social change for some of society’s most marginalised groups, whether that’s young offenders, the visually impaired or the elderly. Early-stage funding is crucial in getting these promising projects off the ground so they can demonstrate their potential.”

Check out our previous Feel-good Friday, which covered how Bill Gates gave back to the education system through the medium of dance.