North East Social Tech Fund VCSE Applications

We have grant funding and support available to help a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation explore and implement a digital technology prototype that addresses key challenges within its organisation. The deadline for applications is 13 November 2020. 

You can read the full brief below or download the PDF version by clicking here.


Programme overview

The North East Social Tech Fund is a pilot programme delivered by Digital Catapult NETV, designed to provide voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs) in the North East and Tees Valley with support and funding to help them adopt advanced digital technologies.

The purpose of this programme is to help VCSEs explore digital technology and ‘open innovation’, to overcome the challenges they’re facing. The programme will provide a small Innovation Grant to a successful organisation, alongside dedicated hands-on support from the Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley’s expert team.

The grant funding and support will allow the organisation to develop and test a prototype or ‘Minimum Viable Product’, in response to an organisational challenge. The Digital Catapult NETV team has a large network of technology companies and will support the successful organisation to select a suitable development partner to build the chosen solution.

The selection of a suitable development partner will be based on an open call which will invite tech companies to pitch tailored solutions. All applications must be considered.

The pilot programme uses a ‘challenge-led’ approach, which means organisations that wish to apply are asked to think about some of the challenges their organisation faces, rather than the type of technology they might want to adopt.

Challenges could be linked to internal challenges, such as resource allocation, data processing or managing volunteers, or external challenges such as engaging with donors, fundraising, or service delivery (NB: this is a non-exhaustive list; if you would like to speak to the team about your challenge prior to submitting your application, please contact us via the details below).

If you have any questions, please contact Anna Malley, Project Manager, at


Key dates – may be subject to change

Open call deadline13/11/2020
VCSEs selected and notified27/11/2020
Brief writing completed18/12/2020
Briefs promoted to tech companies21/12/2020
Tech companies appointed12/02/2021
Development phase 109/04/2021
Development phase 221/05/2021
Solution finalised & presented04/06/2021

Application criteria

Only charities and social enterprises registered or operating in the North East and Tees Valley area are eligible to apply for this fund.

An organisation can apply more than once if it has multiple challenges it would like to submit, however only one challenge will be selected per organisation.

All organisations applying must ensure they have available personnel to support this project in line with the timescales given above.

Organisations are welcome to apply as part of a consortium if there is a challenge affecting multiple charities/social enterprises. This may increase the amount of funding available for the development of a prototype solution.

Evaluation criteria

Quality of the ChallengeCan the challenge be solved?25%
The teamDoes the organisation have relevant resources available to support the project?25%
The potential impact of a solutionWhat impact will the solution have? This can be social and/or organisational.25%
Openness to innovationHow willing is the organisation to engage with the challenge-led approach?25%

How to apply

Please fill out the online application form before the deadline 13th November 2020 – available at:

Please note: draft forms cannot be saved.

Full T&Cs for the North East Social Tech pilot programme can be found at: Online T&Cs.


Programme funders

The North East Social Tech Fund is supported by Comic Relief, County Durham Community Foundation, Newcastle Building Society and Northstar Foundation.