The support we provide

Here’s what we’re offering to support our innovators

Our Nesta team will work closely with selected semi-finalists, finalists and winners, supporting them to develop the best possible solutions. We will also ask for reporting from participants so we can better understand the impact of our Challenges. Click the arrows below for more information.

Challenge prizes aim to incentivise innovation and take a stage-gate approach to funding. We release funds in increments as the challenge progresses and the judging process moves successful participants onto the next stage of the Challenge.

Funding will be awarded at each stage of the Rapid Recovery Challenge: 

  • In December 2020, 12 semi-finalists (six in each stream) will each receive £125k
  • In May 2021, six finalists (three in each stream) will each receive £150k
  • In September 2021, two winners (one in each stream) will each receive £200k

In addition to funding, the Rapid Recovery Challenge will offer Challenge participants non-financial support from internal experts and external partners. 

We will work with you to identify areas where you might need help and aim to get you best in class support. We are working to finalise the support program, but you can expect it to include access to:

  • Distribution partners – We want your solution to reach those who need it most, so we’re building a coalition of partners who can help share and promote your product through networks of grassroots organisations and larger national bodies.
  • Development partners – We’re working with expert organisations to offer you workshops and 1-2-1 advice on a range of topics – scaling strategy, product and service design, media and communications training and more.
  • Job recovery stream development tools –  We are offering two optional support pieces that participants in the jobs recovery stream may choose to access. Nesta’s Open Jobs Team have offered participants the option to access insights generated from the development of the first data-driven skills taxonomy. A skills taxonomy provides a consistent way of measuring the demand and supply of skills. It can also help workers and students learn more about the skills that they need and the value of those skills. Further, McKinsey and Eightfold AI have offered participants the option to learn from and build upon the Talent Exchange platform, an AI-powered Career Management and Job Matching platform to help displaced employees from companies negatively impacted by COVID-19 find new opportunities at companies with hiring needs or plan their career and acquire new skills.
  • User panelWe’ll help participants connect with a panel of diverse end users to test the design of their tools or services.

As a Rapid Recovery Challenge participant, you would have a dedicated member of our team helping you access this support and navigate all elements of the Challenge.

By May 2021, the 12 semi-finalists will be assessed by the judging panel and six finalists will be selected. By September 2021, the six finalists will be assessed by the judging panel and two winners will be selected. Details of these 2021 assessment processes will be published at a later date, but will likely include a combination of paper-based submissions, face-to-face assessment and end user feedback (which we will collect through an external impact evaluator). 

We will also ask semi-finalists and finalists to help us track information to understand the overall impact of the Challenge. This information will not be used in the judges’ decision-making. This will include:

  • Tracking some specific demographic information about their end users (including gender, ethnicity, and educational background). This will help us understand who the Challenge is reaching and supporting. We will work with semi-finalists to support them to track this information in a way that aligns with their solution. 
  • Speaking with an external impact evaluator organised by Nesta. 

Find out more about the Challenge