Bethnal Green Ventures is an accelerator programme for people who want to change the world using technology.
We invest in and support great teams with new ideas to help build solutions to social and environmental problems through an intensive three-month programme.
It’s a new way of supporting people to grow sustainable social innovations that have the potential to change the lives of millions of people.
We think there’s huge potential for the online world to radically improve things that really matter in the offline world: from how we provide health and social care to designing new forms of education, energy creation and employment.
These ideas don’t come from traditional companies, governments or charities. They start with smart, passionate, practical people.
And they can’t be created within old organisations either. They’re social startups: new organisational forms that blur the boundaries between public, private and social.
Bethnal Green Ventures seeks out tough problems and great people and matches them with the support they need to grow sustainable, scalable social innovations.
Bethnal Green Ventures seeks out people with great ideas: they might be software developers, designers or people with personal experience of something they want to change – from teachers and doctors, to patients and carers. We look for very early-stage ideas – not business plans – and we’re more interested in potential than experience.
We select teams of between two and four people to be part of the Bethnal Green Ventures programme. We invest £15,000 in each team in exchange for 6% equity. Each team will get to spend three months with us building their idea. We provide a community of support and advice to help build, test and launch each startup. We also provide six months of free office space in Central London.
Our aim is to not only to launch a set of new ventures, but to build an alumni community that will go on to create and run even more social startups in the future.
Who’s behind BGV?
Social Innovation Camp brings together software developers and designers with people who have a social problem to solve and helps them build web-based solutions to social problems – from hacking together some software to working out how to sustain an idea – all in just 48 hours.
We’re now helping other people run their own Social Innovation Camps in other parts of the world.
Social Innovation Camp is all about taking a back-of-the-envelope idea and prototyping it.
We’re learning a huge amount about what makes an idea fly or flounder as we watch projects develop on from Social Innovation Camps and now we want to build a new way of helping people grow an idea that one stage further: from prototype idea to social startup.
Why Bethnal Green Ventures?
The Foundation’s namesake, Michael Young, was a social reformer responsible for the creation of a number of hugely successful social ventures including the Open University, Which? magazine and Healthline (the precursor of NHS Direct) – all of which started out in the same building as us.
We’re now based at Nesta, near Chancery Lane in London, but the social ventures we’re working with come from all over the UK – and increasingly around the world.
If you’d like to find out more about Bethnal Green Ventures, just get in touch.