Tech to Connect Prize

26 Jun 2019

The Tech to Connect Challenge is looking to help civil society develop their early stage ideas for tech that enables more or better interactions between people. Tech can be alienating or divisive for those that are isolated, so we want to help civil society translate their knowledge into good ideas for new ways to connect people.

The Challenge prize will help finalists develop their ideas into working prototypes and plan for their implementation. The £1 million prize will be split into £500,000 of business support from Nesta Challenges with the other £500,000 being awarded as financial support. 10 finalists will each receive a £25,000 grant to use in the development of their prototypes; from these 10 finalists, 2 runners up will each receive a £75,000 cash prize and 1 winner will receive a £100,000 cash prize.

Tech to Connect is part of a range of efforts to tackle the impact of social isolation and loneliness in England. These include the Government’s 2018 strategy for tackling loneliness in England  Last year the Government published ‘A connected society’. A UK first, the strategy sets out Government’s vision and its ongoing commitment to this issue, alongside some important initial policy commitments.  It recognises that Government can’t make the necessary changes alone, and sets out a powerful vision on how we can all play a role in building a more socially connected society.

Loneliness and social isolation are interconnected. Often experienced, but rarely talked about.

We see social isolation as “being deprived of social relationships that provide positive feedback and are meaningful to the individual”. Social isolation is measured by the strength of a person’s social connections, and therefore the lack of these connections denotes social isolation.

Social isolation is distinct from loneliness, which is a related issue that affects many in our society. In 2016 to 2017, 5% of UK adults reported feeling lonely “often” or “always”. Loneliness is a “subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship”.

In an age of social media, there has never been more technology that connects us with one another. Yet we think there is space for technology to do even more to tackle social isolation specifically. That is why we are looking to civil society – England’s charities, social enterprises and social ventures – for new ideas of tech for good. The Tech To Connect Challenge will give these organisations the resources they need to bring their innovative ideas to life.

Find out more about the Challenge