About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Last chance to make a difference: we’re looking for great ideas that help people on low and middle incomes

Millions of people living in the UK are in work, but reliant on benefits to top up their wages. Despite working hard and doing the right thing, society isn’t working for them: this group are disproportionately likely to suffer poor mental health, to lack full and fair access to financial services and face barriers in accessing fulfilling careers.

We’ve been exploring this issue as part of a project with the UK Government for the past few months, as part of the Inclusive Economy Partnership.

The Partnership’s first task is to identify and support services, products and solutions that help people with mental health issues, transition into work and financial inclusion.

In August, we launched our open call for solutions, inviting innovative organisations to tell us about the work they’re doing in this field. We want to work with the best among them to help them reach new audiences, grow their impact and plan their development. (We also have grants of £20k to support them taking part.)

If you have a great solution - a service, an idea, a practice; perhaps a company, charity or social enterprise - which you think could contribute, please let us know. The deadline is fast approaching - Friday 3 November at 12pm - but there are still ten days to put together your submission. (The form is quick and easy to fill in.)

While we’ve been inviting applicants to our challenge, our colleagues in Government have been busy too.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has now chaired the first meeting of the Partnership: 14 CEOs have joined the project, and over 80 leading individuals from business and civil society have joined working groups for each of the three focus areas.

The first meetings of these groups are happening right now. On Friday, we convened the kick-off workshop for the financial inclusion working group, and we’ll be hosting the mental health and transition to work workshops today and Wednesday.

These working groups of senior corporate, government and third sector experts will be at the heart of the partnership: if your solution is shortlisted, you’ll be working with these people and organisations to test your ideas and plan your growth.

To compete to be shortlisted, you have to apply at iep.challenges.org by the deadline of Friday 3 November at 12pm.

Apply now! We look forward to hearing from you.


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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