Big Issue Competition

Big Issue announced last week that its investment arm will invest £500,000 in 10 tech-based social startups or early-stage companies as part of its major Tech for Good Challenge.

The Tech for Good Challenge is a way for a social business or charity to gain funding to take it to the next level and should either be a startup or in its early-phase development and be using digital technology to help solve social issues with or for young people.

The Big Issue’s social investment arm, Big Issue Invest, has gone into partnership with social investment firm Nominet Trust, and is now searching to find and back disruptive digital start-ups with the potential to dramatically improve young people’s lives through the application of technology, which has revolutionised society.

The issues affecting young people that the organisers would like to see addressed include low self-esteem and unemployment and they will pay particular attention to startups that can redefine how social problems are dealt with, as Big Issue did for homeless people.

Initially the competition will choose 20 companies that can prove the genuine market opportunity and demand for their service. Successful companies will receive export mentoring from a corporate partner, before designing a business plan to apply for the Caterpillar’s Cocoon stage.

This stage, described as ‘the antithesis of Dragons’ Den’, is a collaborative, two-day workshop, which will provide the finalists with leadership and team-building support before they pitch to be one of the final 10.

In addition to £50,000 each to the 10 finalists, the prize will include ongoing business mentoring and support over three years. Applications for the Challenge close on 15 April.

London accountant, Russell Black specialises in offering accountancy, audit and taxation advice to business start-ups.

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