24 Oct 2014

A season of change

By Jessica

Hello! I’m Jess and this is my first blog in my new role as communications manager at Bethnal Green Ventures.

Changing jobs can often make you reflect on changes in your life, and for me there have been a few as I’ve jumped around between the UK and NZ, and between various jobs and careers. From doing PR for investment banks, to more general communications work for social enterprises, to my most recent role at Nesta where I researched accelerators and startup support.

I’ve also been reflecting on changes in the sector at the moment. So in this first blog I thought I’d share some of the reasons why I think this is a particularly interesting time to be joining an accelerator supporting tech startups that are doing social good.

The climate for tech in the UK is good – the tech sector is currently going through an exciting period of strong growth, and according to a recent report this is expected to continue into the future, creating more jobs and contributing to overall economic growth.

Advances in technology have opened up new ways of solving social problems – manifesting in a growing number of startups using technology to solve social issues, and existing organisations thinking about how they can better use technology to achieve their social goals.

The social finance landscape is evolving – there has been increasing interest in impact investment from institutions and individuals, alongside government interventions to support the sector such as Big Society Capital, the Social Incubator Fund and the new Social Investment Tax Relief. While there is still a notable funding gap for early stage ventures, in time you would hope these developments will result in a more favourable funding environment for socially focused startups.

Accelerators have become established as an important form of support for startups – no one would argue with the fact that accelerators play a key role in connecting entrepreneurs with co-founders, mentors and investors. But while the number of new accelerator programmes continues to rise, there is still little information out there about how they really work. The team at BGV has contributed in many ways to research in this area, and as it is one of the longer running programmes in Europe it has collected some really interesting information over the years. We want to get a bit better at sharing some of this data with you in the future.

I’ll continue to write on these themes, among others, as I get into the swing of things here, and keep you informed of developments at BGV itself.

If you’re part of the BGV network I look forward to working with you and meeting you in person at one of our events soon – please do come and say hi.