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Social Tech Seed

Social Tech Seed logo

Social Tech Seed is now closed for applications

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 deliver significant social change. The programme supports projects tackling pressing social challenges such as the environment and sustainability, education, employment and healthcare. Social Tech Seed will provide funding and support to help you demonstrate the social, user and financial value of your existing digital prototype.

Social Tech Seed highlights:

Social Tech Seed provides funding and support that enables entrepreneurial organisations with a basic, but functional, digital prototype to develop it into a more robust product or service and demonstrate its value to intended users and other stakeholders. If your application is successful, you can expect to receive:

  • Grant funding, typically between £15,000 and £50,000 for a project of 9-12 months’ duration
  • A support package including mentoring, marketing & comms advice and networking opportunities
  • Access to a discretionary fund of up to £5,000 should you need access to specific expertise to support your early-stage development

Unlike many other investors, Nominet Trust:

  • Does not ask for an equity stake, nor requests loan repayments
  • Allows successful ventures to retain any IP developed with our funding

Who are we looking for?

Quick links

We want to work with entrepreneurial organisations that share our belief in the potential of the internet and digital technology to offer new approaches to tackling pressing social challenges including environment and sustainability, education, employment, wellbeing and healthcare.  Your compelling proposition is more important to us than what type of organisation you are. For example, you could be a social organisation (e.g. a charity or CIC) with an innovative new digital approach to your work; or a tech team with a disruptive solution that addresses a specific social challenge.

Your organisation:

  • Should have a clear and demonstrable social purpose
  • Will typically be UK-based, though the benefits of your work may extend globally
  • Will already be a registered legal entity, or prepared to become one

Your team:

  • We are looking for organisations that have in-house tech expertise or that are prepared to work with us to bring a tech expert on board.
  • May well have experience of the social issue you are seeking to address - either directly, or via a co-designed proposition
  • Should have an understanding of the marketplace your digital product or service is entering – and be able to explain why your proposition is differentiated from existing provision

Your tech:

  • You will already have developed a basic digital prototype
  • You will be looking to develop a first proof of concept utilising your prototype
  • You will have undertaken some feasibility testing with small groups of users and/or beneficiaries to illustrate the potential and demand for your new digital product or service

Take a look at our assessment criteria here.

By the end of this funding you will have:

  • A more robust, working digital product/service
  • Piloted with the intended beneficiary group – and potentially other stakeholders
  • Identified and acted upon potential routes for further development (to market, towards scale etc)
  • Evaluated and evidenced the potential of the approach to address a social challenge
  • Identified a clear approach to describing and demonstrating the potential of your project to future partners
  • Greater clarity on routes to achieving sustainability

Who have we already supported through Social Tech Seed?

Here are some of our funded projects, but do explore further.

Skills Route: An innovative online portal that helps young people to explore potential career pathways and gives them the knowledge they need to make better-informed choices for post-16 education.

Open Utility: The world’s first peer-to-peer online marketplace for renewable energy trading, allowing consumers to buy direct from small-scale renewables producers.

The Busking Project:
An app that enables street performers to receive cashless payments, sell their music straight to people’s phones and get hired for gigs.

I want to apply, what next?

If you think you have what we are looking for, then you can go ahead and submit our online Stage 1 application form. If you are successful, we will invite you to complete our online Stage 2 application form.

But before you apply, you're welcome to come and talk to us about your project.  This autumn, we're hosting a series of pre-application events and web chats to give you the opportunity to find out more about what we look for in a social tech venture and ask us any questions you have about your project.  Find out more here.

Application video

As part of your Stage 1 application, you will need to film a 90-second video pitch which helps to introduce us to your team and project. We are particularly keen to understand more about the founders of your project. Your pitch should also explain the social challenge you are trying to address, outline your proposal (and why it will be effective in addressing this challenge) and tell us how our funding will help you to demonstrate its potential. Our application form prompts you to include a url link to your video (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo); this can be set as private, but please remember to include the password in your application where prompted.

Social Tech Seed Timeline

Stage 1 applications are now closed.

Key dates for Social Tech Seed are below.

Stage 1 application deadline


Stage 2 application deadline
(invitation only)

Stage 2 assessment period

Investment decision announced

25 October 2016

6 December 2016

January - February 2017

March 2017

Note: any applications started, but not submitted, by the deadline will have their system status set as 'Abandoned' and no further action will be taken with them.