Calling innovators to help people on low to middle incomes

Millions of working people in the UK live on low to middle incomes.

As well as money being tight, many face challenges in aspects of daily life - from mental health issues to poor career prospects.

Nesta is part of the Inclusive Economy Partnership alongside the Government and a group of businesses and civil society organisations. This programme aims to identify existing products and services and help them reach more people than ever before.

The challenges

We are focused on financial inclusion and capability, good mental health and better transition to work given the impact these challenges have on low to middle income households across the UK.

  • Financial inclusion and capability: 10 million working people are either financially struggling or squeezed and lack access to affordable and high quality financial products and services. We want to help provide the financially ‘underserved’ with the tools and capabilities to access and interact with fair financial products.

  • Mental health: Mental health problems are one of the largest public health challenges facing the UK with 1 in 4 people suffering from a mental health problem annually. We want to enable businesses to positively impact the mental health of their employees, customers, suppliers and wider communities.

  • Transition to work: Young people in the UK are over 2.5 times less likely to be employed than the average for the working age population. We want to successfully move young people from education, unemployment or inactivity into jobs.

What we’re looking for

Between now and 3 November, we want to hear about what innovative organisations are doing to help people grappling with these issues.

We’re looking for solutions that already exist - not new ideas - which would benefit from support through the programme to help them scale their activities.

In return, we can can connect the best innovators with leading businesses and civil society organisations in the Inclusive Economy Partnership. Over the coming year, we will also help a select group to scale their activities and build their network. Selected innovations could be awarded up to £20k to develop plans to achieve these goals.

We’re open minded: solutions can be, but are not limited to: products, services, programmes, principles, standards of practice and can be delivered by charities, social enterprises, commercial enterprises, voluntary organisations, community groups, and other incorporated entities or unincorporated associations with formal membership structures.

Our offer

The Partnership offers applicants unique access to a collaborative partnership of leading business and civil society organisations, including their extensive networks, and to financial support for the development of scaling plans.

During a testing phase from December 2017 through March 2018, businesses and civil society partners will work closely with successful applicants on the development of scaling plans, contributing their:

  • extensive corporate and civil society networks, helping to generate partnership opportunities

  • access to potential customers or beneficiaries for the applicant’s offering, helping to enable growth opportunities

  • strategic, marketing, operational and other expertise, helping to enhance and future-proof scaling plans.

Successful applicants that do not have sufficient resources to develop and refine their plans to scale can be granted up to £20,000. This grant will support the successful applicant’s creation and refinement of a scaling plan in collaboration with the Partnership’s business and civil society members.  

Following the testing phase, the Partnership hopes to support successful applicants in executing scaling plans, as well as gaining access to partnership networks and sources of capital to scale.

Find out more


Piotrek Gierszewski

Piotrek Gierszewski

Piotrek Gierszewski

Research Lead, Challenge Works

With over 10 years of research experience, Piotrek is passionate about using foresight to explore possible visions of the future, anticipate obstacles and enable opportunities.

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Olivier Usher

Olivier Usher

Olivier Usher

Head of Research, Challenge Works


Oli leads Challenge Works research team. He helps to identify promising areas for innovation and choose the most impactful focus for new prizes.

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