5 top tips for your Inclusive Economy Partnership application

Applications for the Inclusive Economy Partnership close midday on 3 November!

Here are my top five top tips for making a great application. If you have questions feel free to comment below or email: [email protected].

1. Don’t just focus on the money

What organisation doesn’t need £20,000, right? I get it, but the real opportunity here is the Partnership itself. I have been working at the nexus between the public, private and third sectors for over a decade and I know that when a strong partnership is formed it's worth a lot more than £20,000 – in time, energy, people, resources, learning and also in cash.

Those who understand the opportunity for their organisation in forming a true partnership will get the most out of the Partnership. Making your understanding of this opportunity for your organisation clear in your application will make for a better application.

2. Be clear about what you do and what impact you have

This sounds obvious, but if you can’t explain what you do and why in a clear sentence or two it’s really hard for us to know what you do and why. I know that what you do is often multi-faceted and there are often a variety of service offerings within any organisation, however, being really clear about your solution to scale for the IEP will make a better application.

In terms of the audience - assessors are educated people but they are not necessarily practioners in your sector so being really clear without using jargon is good advice to follow. If in doubt, test it with someone on the street and see if they understand – if they do – you have it right! Give us the elevator pitch – this will also be really helpful to get right if you are shortlisted and are working on building partnerships.

3. Show that you understand what you need to do to scale or say where you feel your blind spots are

We are really open about what scale means. It could mean trying out what you are doing in a new geography, it could mean working with a new type of organisation, trying out your business model in a new sector or growing to provide services or products to more people. What is important is that what you want to scale is already proven.

What you need to do to scale could be a whole lot of things – new people, processes, partners in specific areas – funding won’t be the only thing you need so please think about and be clear about what you don’t know just as much as what you know. This kind of organisational awareness is vital to be successful in scaling.

4. Be confident but also be realistic

Of course you need to back yourself and your organisation, it’s important to be confident, but the assessment team have been around a wee while and can spot an unrealistic plan when they see one. If you have been working with for example - 30 people a year for the last 10 years and your plan is to scale to 3,000 people in a year, this would seem unrealistic even if you had the money to do it. You can be confident that you can get to 3,000 people but also realistic as to how long it would take and what you would need to get there.

5. Read the website: Read the FAQs and answer the questions you are being asked

Please read the website and please read the FAQs. We are happy to answer any questions you might have but please read the website first – there is a lot of information on there. We know that there is a lot you want to say about your organisation and the things you do, and want to do, but please make sure you answer the questions as this is what you will be assessed against.

Good luck!

Extra Bonus Resources

Nesta has developed some great resources to support organisations to scale – check out the DIY toolkit here.

Nesta has also developed a standards of evidence tool for you to use. This is a useful tool when thinking about impact and evidence. 


Kate Sutton

Kate Sutton

Kate Sutton

Head of Corporate Social Innovation

Kate was responsible for managing Nesta's Corporate Social Innovation and Inclusive Growth work

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