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Assessment criteria for Social Tech Seed

Before you submit your Stage 1 application form, please take a look at the six core criteria below that will be used to assess your submission. Our Board will also assess your Stage 2 applications against these criteria and the other considerations outlined, so it’s important you consider them at the beginning of the application process.

Check your application before you submit it to ensure that you have provided a clear and evidenced explanation of the current fit of your project against these criteria, using your video pitch effectively to support and enhance your written submission.

1. Social challenge/need

At the heart of any social tech venture is the ambition to generate social value: a positive impact on the health, strength and sustainability of communities and society. Before you start telling us about your solution, can you articulate the problem you’re trying to solve, and do you know who you’re trying to help? It is really important that we see evidence of this in any application to Nominet Trust.

2. Stage of development

For Social Tech Seed, we’re seeking ventures that have already developed a digital prototype and now need investment to demonstrate its value. If you are still at a concept or paper prototype phase, this isn’t the investment programme for you, but if you have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it could be ideal. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve already received significant investment from other sources then you have advanced beyond the focus of this programme.

3. Evidence of demand

One of the primary reasons we’ve seen otherwise excellent proposals not get supported is that they don’t demonstrate sufficient evidence of user demand. They might give evidence of the broader social need, but not demand for their specific solution. Evidence of demand is not hard and fast, but there needs to be some evidence that people want what you’re working on. This could be evidenced through user testing, but could also include growing a strong user base with your existing MVP, market research, or following a user-centred or co-design approach. Tell us about what you have learnt from people using your prototype and how this has affected your design approach. You may also have already established partnerships with agencies that are interested in your work and offer a route to market, or letters of intent from potential purchasers. Whatever it is, it’s the necessary evidence that you are testing your idea with the people who will be involved in growing it.

4. Team/organisation capacity

Demonstrate to us the relevance of the skills, experience and expertise of the team that will deliver your project. Identify any gaps in your team’s knowledge set and how you propose to fill them. If you have a strong technical lead (e.g. a CTO) within the team, be sure to tell us about it.

5. Innovation

Tell us how your product or service is innovative; this could mean:

•    Applying an existing idea to a new context.
•    Creating a disruptive new application of digital technology.
•    Developing a wholly new idea.

Be sure to explain to us the potential of your project to address a significant gap in current provision.   Innovations always build on other innovations, including ones that have failed.  You will need to demonstrate that you are aware of what has gone before and how your innovation builds on it. It is also important to know who else is working in the same space as you.  Be clear in your application about the way in which your product or service is differentiated.  Alternatively, have you considered the benefits of a collaborative approach?

6. Fit with the challenge

It’s fair to say that there are many really strong applications that we don’t fund. It’s not that we don’t think they’re worthy, important or can be successful, it’s that they don’t fit the criteria of the investment programme. It’s difficult enough having to reject the number of applications that we do (based on the budget we have available) but even more so when the ideas are good, well intentioned and where someone has put a lot of effort into an application form, but it isn’t close enough to the criteria of the fund to be a serious contender. Please review the criteria on our website before putting in a speculative application.

Other considerations

You should also consider your project's sustainability, potential impact at scale, goal clarity and partnerships before submitting an application, find out more about these considerations here.