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.

Started: March 2011
Website: www.wevolution.org.uk
Twitter: @WEvolutionUK
Location: Scotland

WEvolution was formed to provide solutions to some of the biggest problems faced by communities. Taking inspiration from the ways in which some of the poorest people in India manage to survive and thrive, the organisation, with Noel Mathias at the helm, decided to see how working in groups could change communities for the better.

In March 2011, a group of women came together as its first self-reliant group (SRG) and looked at how they could generate their own capital. Through small savings, they started a lunch club, raised money and eventually started their own laundry business.

Today there are 25 SRGs each with its own achievements and stories. The benefits of these groups, of which 95 per cent receive benefits, are manifold: they’ve reduced the need for loan sharks, for example, as members can borrow small amounts from the groups; members can become producers rather than recipients, and importantly become role models for the next generation. Indeed, a group of children have formed their own SRG, and so far seven SRGs have been formed by partner organisations.

Founder Noel Mathias wants nothing less than to build a movement, one that harnesses the abilities of communities and spreads the culture of ‘just do it’ as far as possible.