What we are looking for

The types of solutions we would like to see

The Challenge isn’t prescriptive about the form solutions should take; we think the best solutions will come in different shapes and sizes and from a diverse pool of participants. We don’t know if the right approach is online or offline, hyper-local or global - or indeed all of these things mixed together - so we welcome all potential solutions that meet the following requirements:

The Rapid Recovery Challenge will reward scalable, impactful, innovative tools and services that improve access to jobs and money for those hardest hit by the economic shock resulting from COVID-19 – younger workers and those in (or who have recently lost) low-paid or insecure work. The Challenge has two streams: Job Recovery and Financial Recovery.

During the application review process, our judges will be looking to see evidence that your solution caters to our target end users and speaks to the job and financial challenges they are encountering due to COVID-19.  

Millions of workers in the UK have been affected by the economic shock resulting from COVID-19; it has impacted their employment status, career prospects and financial stability. The Rapid Recovery Challenge aims to support these people, many of whom are already out of work or are at high risk of losing their jobs due to COVID-19.

The Challenge will support solutions that positively impact:

  • Those currently or recently (within the past 12 months) in low paid roles. “Low paid” is defined as earning less than £18,252 / year (60% or less the national median annual pay in 2019, £30,420).
  • Those currently or recently (within the past 12 months) in insecure roles. An “insecure role” is defined as temporary contracts less than 6 months, variable (zero-hour) contracts or self-employed earning less than £18,252 / year.
  • Young people, whether employed or unemployed. “Young people” is defined as those aged 16-24.

Within these groups we understand there are many intersectionalities; therefore you are encouraged to define your target end user population in more detail in your application. The Challenge’s target end users are statistically more likely to be women, migrants, those from Black ethnic groups, and those in particular geographic areas. Supporting these groups might be one way, but not the only way, for your solution to have a meaningful impact.

In addition to the assessment criteria the judging panel will take into consideration the diversity of the semi-finalist cohort’s collective market coverage, demographics and geography of users when selecting semi-finalists, finalists and winners.

We’re seeking to have a wide impact on the Challenge’s target end users. For this reason, we are looking for teams who, upon entry, have at a minimum a well functioning prototype that has been piloted with 1,000 users.

We understand this won’t mean the same thing to every team who applies. Your existing solution may have a different user base and you’re now looking to pivot to meet the aims of the Challenge; you might still be in beta testing; you might have well over 1,000 users but are looking to develop a particular component of your solution’s functionality to meet the aims of the Challenge; or you may be in a slightly different situation. There is space to explain this when you apply to the Challenge.

On entry, solutions should (at minimum) be well-functioning prototypes that have been piloted with at least 1,000 users. These 1,000 users do not need to be composed of the Challenge’s target end users: younger workers and those in (or recently out of) low-paid or insecure work. At future stages, users should be composed of the Challenge’s target end users

As the Challenge develops we have the following scaling expectations:

  • During the semi-finalist stage (circa four months), 12 participants will adapt or develop their solutions and build credible, evidenced plans for how they would scale to 10,000+ users
  • During the finalist stage (circa four months), the remaining six participants will implement their plan to scale to at least 10,000 users and build credible, evidenced plans for how they would scale to a further 50,000 users by 2023
  • The two winners of the Challenge will be expected to action their scaling plans using funding from their final award

Ensure you have read our full eligibility criteria.

Entries to the Rapid Recovery Challenge will be assessed based on our assessment criteria. When making their selection of semi-finalists, finalists and winners, the judging panel will also take into consideration the diversity of the cohort to ensure a balanced portfolio of solutions.

To support the most promising innovations from the not-for-profit* sector, at least six semi-finalist awards (£125k) will be made to not-for-profit organisations in each stream. And, in the next stage, at least two finalist awards (£150k) will be made to not-for-profit organisations for solutions in either stream.

*For the purpose of this challenge, not-for-profit organisations are independent organisations whose purpose and legal structures require they not make a private profit for directors, members or shareholders. These organisations will likely be registered charities, community interest companies or companies limited by guarantee with restrictions on private profit distribution.  

Find out more about the Challenge