Frequently Asked Questions

How do you enter the Tech To Connect Challenge? Visit the Challenge website (www.techtoconnect.challenges.org) and click on the Apply button. This will take you to our online application form where you will be able to answer the required questions. The application form includes a series of written questions that speak to the judging criteria, the idea and how you see it being implemented.

How long will it take to apply? The application form can be completed within one hour.

When is the deadline to apply? Wednesday 7th August 2019 12noon BST.

Do you have to be based in England to enter? Yes – the Challenge is only open to organisations based in England. 

Does the idea have to be based in England? Yes – your idea must be implemented in England

Can the idea answer a location centric issue (in England)? Yes, but don’t forget the scalable aspect of your idea.

Can you enter as an organisation? Yes – only civil society organisation, charities and social enterprises (CIC or other organisations that satisfy Social Enterprise UK’s ‘characteristics of a social enterprise’) are eligible to apply. By civil society we mean organisations undertaking activities with the primary purpose of delivering social value, independent of state control. This definition includes the social sector of volunteers, charities and social enterprises. 

Do you need a registered charity number to apply? Yes you do, as this Challenge is specifically for civil society organisations that have a registered charity number. If you are a social enterprise, please provide us with your relevant certification number.

Is it only charities with a small or medium income turnover that can apply? No, the Challenge is open to all charities and civil society organisations no matter what the size. In relation to social enterprises, the Challenge is open to micro, small, and medium social enterprises that have a headcount of up to 249 people.

Can you enter in partnership with another organisation? E.g. A charity partnering with another charity or a charity partnering with a tech organisation? Yes you can, as long as you clearly explain the role of each organisation in the application form.

What do we mean by social isolation?  Social isolation describes the state of being deprived of social relationships that provide positive feedback and are meaningful to the individual…The inadequate quality and quantity of social relations with other people at the different levels where human interaction takes place (individual, group, community and the larger social environment).

Why is the focus of the challenge social isolation? Loneliness is a subjective feeling whereby a person experiences a lack of connections or companionship, whereas isolation is a measurable assessment of someone’s ability to interact with others. The role of this Challenge is to use technology to enhance people’s ability to interact with others or with the civil society organisations on which they depend.

Is this a Challenge about mental health? While we recognize the impact that loneliness and social isolation can have on mental health, this Challenge is focused on finding tech solutions that can reasonably be expected to have a measurable impact on social isolation in England.

What do we mean by tech? The Challenge takes a broad view of technology; a physical piece of technology (hardware) or digital product or service that an individual interacts with, wears or is otherwise affected by. We are looking for technology that reduces people’s social isolation either directly or indirectly – for example by connecting people with each other or improving the number of people an organisation interacts with – so long as the connections forged through or by the technology are positive ones.

If you have an idea for a ‘tech’ solution, but not the expertise to develop it, can you enter? Will we help to find teams or organisations to partner with to develop the tech element to your idea? Yes, but be specific about the type of expertise you will need to develop your idea.

Can you enter with a pre-existing project? Yes, if your idea is already operational but needs scaling up, you can enter the Challenge. Original ideas with a strong proof of concept are also eligible as well.

Are entries assessed solely on their level of innovation? No – all entries are assessed based on their potential impact, innovation, feasibility and scalability as outlined in the Judging Criteria.

Do applicants keep the intellectual property of their idea? Yes – you retain any and all intellectual property rights of your entry, and any resulting projects. 

Is entry to the Challenge confidential? No – Nesta Challenges will publish the names of the Finalists and Winners, unless this publication is requested to be waived due to security, safety or commercial concerns. 

Who is funding the Challenge? The Challenge is funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Are there limits on what you can do with the prize money?  No – the Challenge does not dictate how the prize money is used, however given the prize money is provided by public funding, you will need to adhere to reporting processes on usage.

Is the prize money subject to taxation? Yes – those receiving funding are responsible for the payment of taxes where applicable when using the prize money.

Is an organisation that has previously received state aid eligible to apply to the Challenge? An organisation that has previously received state aid is eligible to apply to the Challenge provided that the amount of state aid it has received in the last three financial years, together with the amount of any funding awarded through the Challenge, does not exceed the de minimis exemption threshold under state aid rules. This threshold is currently €200,000.

For more information about state aid, you can read guidance published by the UK Government here. Please note that the information provided above is not intended to be, and should not be considered, legal advice. We cannot provide legal advice to applicants.


Please review our Terms and Conditions for additional information.

If your question is not answered above, please contact Nesta Challenges at: techtoconnect@nesta.org.uk.