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Nominet Trust and Founders Forum for Good (FFFG) unveil first winners of £1m Social Tech, Social Change fund

17 October 2013: Ten entrepreneurs have been backed by a £1m fund to develop new ventures that use technology to tackle social challenges in the UK and beyond.

The social entrepreneurs will each receive a £50,000 share of the £1m Social Tech, Social Change programme as well as mentorship from some of the world’s leading tech entrepreneurs to develop their early-stage ideas into profitable, scalable social tech ventures.

The successful ventures all share the fund’s goal – to drive social and economic change through the ambitious use of technology – and clearly demonstrate a viable technology-based business that addresses major social issues affecting the UK from social isolation and sustainability to access to education and healthcare.

Each venture will be matched to a Founders Forum for Good ‘digital entrepreneur’ mentor who will provide hands-on support to these social tech projects grow in scale and influence.

Since its launch in June 2013, the Social Tech, Social Change fund has received over 220 applications.

Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, said: “When we launched Social Tech, Social Change we sent out a rallying call to action for UK entrepreneurs to use technology to drive significant social change. We have been overwhelmed with how the community has responded”

“This fund is designed to stimulate the growth of emerging ‘tech for social good’ businesses in the UK. What we have seen so far is a high calibre of applicants with a passion to improve the lives of some of the least fortunate through the imaginative use of technology. Nominet Trust will not be seeking equity or intellectual property but instead providing funding in order to move ideas from prototype to high-impact growth”.

Dafna Ciechanover Bonas, co-founder and CEO of Founders Forum for Good, said: “At Founders Forum for Good we are committed to supporting digital innovation for social impact across all sectors. The Social Tech, Social Change fund was created to champion transformational ideas in their early stages and to provide support, funding and guidance to the next generation of digital entrepreneurs”.
“Offering sustained mentoring from some of the world’s leading digital entrepreneurs from the Founders Forum for Good network will help accelerate the growth and impact of these exciting new tech ventures and provide a real opportunity for these projects to impact social change”.
The first 10 ventures that have been awarded funding and mentorship are:

  • Benkyo Player Ltd: a set of tools that improve both access to and attainment in online video learning
  • Commonplace Digital Ltd: a digital product that engages people in shaping their community
  • London Rebuilding Society: a new income maximisation and energy saving solution
  • MKS Solutions: a set-top box, designed specifically for the elderly to combat isolation. It allows video calling through a TV without needing the internet
  • Open Utility Ltd: the world’s first peer-to-peer energy marketplace
  • PlayLab London: a game, controlled by breathing, designed to ameliorate the effect of panic attacks to provide practical support to those who experience anxiety related conditions
  • Specialisterne: to create a bridge between individuals with autism and organisations that require their unique skills
  • Virtually Free Ltd: an app to help sufferers of agoraphobia
  • Adept Communications: an app that allows carers to monitor activity and medication taking of an elderly person when they are not with them
  • Superflux and Forum for the Future: a web platform that provides young people with access to open data, tools, expertise, inspiring projects and connected devices.

To find out more about the projects, please visit: www.nominettrust.org.uk. A second tranche of winners will be released in January 2014.

For more information please contact:
Nominet Trust: Alex Kapp, Laura Moross t. 0207 033 7787
alex.kapp@albiondrive.com / laura.moross@albiondrive.com/
Founders Forum for Good: Tara Maynard t. 07921 337 162