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New Vodafone fund to help early-stage businesses with 'social purpose'

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 16 October 2018 16:02

New Vodafone fund to help early-stage businesses with 'social purpose'

Vodafone is encouraging South West businesses to apply for its new UK social innovation fund.

The technology awards programme - Vodafone Techstarter – aims to support start-ups and early-stage ventures developing innovative tech with social purpose.

The £300,000 fund is split into a number of monetary prizes, but winners will also receive access to industry and technology expertise from Vodafone and the Social Tech Trust.

This includes coaching, commercial development support, mentorship, investment and partnership advice.

Tom Marks, Vodafone’s South West head, said: “We know there are many organisations and individuals across the South West who are developing innovative technology solutions with a social purpose.

“Vodafone Techstarter is an exciting opportunity that could help them to take their idea to the next level.”

Judging is set to take place in December, with the finalists announced in January 2019 and winners crowned at an awards event in February 2019.

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Helen Lamprell, Vodafone UK’s general counsel and external affairs director, said: “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.”

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.

The prize fund will be split as follows:

  • For Profit Vodafone Techstarter Award – four winners will each receive £35,000, a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind.
  • Not-for-Profit Vodafone Techstarter Award – four winners will each receive £35,000, a 12-month programme of support and value-in-kind.
  • Vodafone Techstarter Champion’s Award – two winners, voted for by Vodafone employees, will each receive £10,000.

Anne Sheehan, enterprise director of Vodafone UK, said: “I’m particularly excited to be encouraging new innovations that will contribute positively to the world we live in.”

Bill Liao, Social Tech Trust, added: “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.”

Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

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