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We have created a FAQ page for the ShareLab Scotland Fund to help answer any queries, if you have any questions please email [email protected].

What level of grant is available?

Grants of £15,000 - £33,000 are available for selected projects. Additional project support will depend on the individual project being funded and its requirements.

What is the application process?

The process will work in three stages; firstly we strongly recommend you find out more by attending a workshop or webinar; secondly by submitting an expression of interest when we release that application form in August; and finally the shortlisted ideas will be invited to develop their ideas further through a workshop and final application form.

What is ShareLab Scotland?

ShareLab Scotland is a learning and funding initiative to support platform operating models that create economic and social impact. ShareLab Scotland is being funded by the Scottish Government and being delivered by Nesta.

What support will funded projects get?

Projects will benefit from Nesta’s direct advice and support in Scotland, including around ideas development and project delivery. They will also benefit from being part of a Scottish cohort which will shape how Scotland grows its collaborative economy. Nesta has held two rounds of ShareLab across the UK supporting a range of startups in collaboration with partners. Read more about the the projects that have been supported.

In what areas will projects be supported?

The focus of the fund is to support projects in sustainable energy and community transport. However projects in other areas which make better uses of resources to benefit vulnerable consumers will also be considered. You can read more about

I work for a front line public service, am I eligible to enter an idea?

Applications from local authorities as lead organisations will not be considered, although we welcome partnerships which include local authorities.

What do you mean by 'collaborative digital platforms for economic and social good'?

In talking about collaborative digital platforms for economic and social good, we broadly mean: “a web based digital tool, such as an app or a website, that helps find, connect or mobilise assets, time, skills, money, resources or people to deliver economic and social benefits to individuals and communities in Scotland.” Examples of ShareLab projects include:

LiftShare’s Happy CT aims to help community transport, dial-a-rides and community car schemes to collaborate; filling empty seats, and reducing isolation and transport poverty for thousands of vulnerable people.

HomePointr in Falkirk, a social enterprise which aims to improve access to suitable housing options by connecting referral agencies with housing providers via an online platform.

ShareLab Scotland will not be able to support ideas that:

  • Are likely to increase inequality or exclusion, or otherwise have a harmful or detrimental effect on individuals.
  • Are not likely to benefit the public, or a sufficient portion of the public. We cannot support ideas that are solely or predominantly for the personal or private benefit of an individual or organisation.

Who can apply for ShareLab Scotland funding?

To receive funding from ShareLab Scotland you will need to be able to receive funds through a legally incorporated body such as a company, charitable incorporated organisation or similar, which is registered in the UK.

When will funding be allocated?

We envisage that grant offers will be made late autumn/winter 2018.

What date and time will the call for ideas close?

The call for ideas will close at 11am on Thursday 23 August.

What can the funds be used for?

  • Direct project costs
  • Staffing
  • Tech development
  • Marketing and events
  • Learning and development / user research

What inspired the ShareLab Scotland Fund?

The Scottish Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy was set up in April 2017 to provide advice, expertise and to make recommendations to Scottish Ministers on how Scotland can position itself to take advantage of the opportunities of the collaborative economy. Chaired by Helen Goulden, Chief Executive of the Young Foundation and formerly Executive Director of Nesta's Innovation Lab; the panel delivered its findings early in 2018.

The need for the Scottish Government to seize the opportunity to shape – or else be shaped by – digital, collaborative platforms was a key message delivered by the Panel. This means creating the right environment for innovation; to develop and support new platforms that meet currently unmet needs within Scotland, with the aim of delivering more than just economic value but actively shaping the collaborative economy in new sectors and industries to the benefit of the people of Scotland. The ShareLab Scotland Fund will support this to be delivered.

Does our new model need to be exclusively online?

No. We understand that some models will need to combine online and face-to-face interaction to achieve impact.

Where can I find out more about Scotland’s Energy Strategy?

You can read more about Scotland’s Future Energy Strategy online. Please note that under the energy theme we particularly invite ideas that:

  • Foster sustainable energy consumption
  • Enable uptake of community renewable energy schemes
  • Develop energy storage mechanisms
  • Enable peer-to-peer energy sharing

Are non Scottish projects eligible to apply for the ShareLab Scotland Fund?

Anyone can contribute an idea to the ShareLab Scotland fund. However, if projects want to develop ideas further and take part beyond the first stage, these must be delivered in Scotland for the benefit of people living in Scotland and have a UK partner or be incorporated in the UK in order to access funding and support.

They must also be able to attend an event in Scotland during Autumn 2018 and to participate in face-to-face mentoring and support in Scotland throughout the programme lifetime.

Do I need more than just an idea to enter?

No, you can put forward your idea at its earliest stage. However, ideas will be selected against the published criteria and information; based on their potential for impact.

If we have already begun our project do we still qualify? Or is it just for projects in the development stage?

We are generally interested in early stage ideas - partly because we want to make sure our relatively small funding pot can make a difference. Ideas will be selected against the published criteria and information; based on their potential for impact. However - it's difficult to know what it is meant by different stages of development so we'd prefer to discuss your idea before giving a definitive answer.

How developed are you expecting the initial ideas to be?

You can put forward your idea at its earliest stage. However, ideas will be selected against the published criteria and information.

My idea is at first phase of implementation and testing. Is that OK for this funding?

Yes absolutely. We want to encourage innovation, so early stage ideas are welcome.

Are you looking to fund collaborative platform development or can we use a licensed third party product?

We're open to this option - particularly for early stage ideas which can't afford to develop a full platform and instead want an MVP to give proof of concept. We'd want to understand the nature of the platform and the licensing agreement so would invite you to get in touch to discuss.

Is there a way to check whether my idea is eligible?

You can check the eligibility criteria online.

And if it's still not clear then please get in touch.

Is the fund only available to non-profit, charitable organisations/projects?

Any funded idea must be likely to benefit the public, or a sufficient portion of the public. We cannot support ideas that are solely or predominantly for the personal or private financial benefit of an individual or organisation.

Do you have any opportunities for helping organisations to partner up and work together?

The workshops are a really good way to meet other interested parties and explore the options for partnership. We can also make introductions between projects that appear related if both parties are interested and willing.

What can the funds be used for? Will internal costs be eligible, i.e. paying for our time

Yes. Funding can be used as necessary, including:

  • Direct project costs
  • Staffing
  • Tech development
  • Marketing and events
  • Learning and development / user research

Can I submit an application via my employer if they consent?

Yes. Although this would then make your employer the lead applicant and the funding would be awarded to them. We can’t award funding to individuals.

Can I apply for the fund as a sole trader - or do I need to partner with another organisation? If it is the latter, will you have a brokering service for ideas and organisations?

To receive funding from ShareLab Scotland you will need to be able to receive funds through a legally incorporated body such as a company, charitable incorporated organisation or similar, which is registered in the UK.

We can’t fund individuals - only legally constituted entities. We also favour ideas that are supported by a competent delivery team. We welcome partnership working. The workshops are a really good way to meet other interested parties and explore the options for partnership. We can also make informal introductions between projects working on ideas that appear related.

Will the funding be weighted or prioritised between transport, energy, and resources, or is everything considered on its own merit?

There will be no weighting each idea will be considered on its merit and assessed according to the eligibility and selection criteria published on the Call for Ideas page on our website.

Have you considered freight transport, in conjunction with community resources or (in terms of platform architecture) in conjunction with public transport?

Yes we would consider the ideas if they meet our criteria and outcomes. It is a good idea to read the information on the website in full and if helpful to discuss, to get in touch with us to discuss your idea further.

I see from the FAQ that applications from local authorities as lead won't be considered but would applications from other public sector bodies as lead be considered?

Applications from local authorities as lead organisations will not be considered, although we welcome partnerships which include local authorities.

Can we utilise/extend reach and approach of existing commercial platforms, and not necessarily development the IT platform ourselves

This would be something that we would need to discuss individually as specific circumstances would affect what might be appropriate. Do read the information on the website and get in touch to discuss further.

Who owns the IP for any project ideas?

Nesta does not take ownership of IP when providing a grant - this will stay with the grantee. However, we will sometimes impose certain requirements on grantees if we identify a risk that the grant could result in private benefit which is more than incidental. These requirements can sometimes (although not very often) touch on IP points e.g. asking for code to be made open source. In those circumstances, we always work with the grantee to ensure that any measures are appropriate in the circumstances.

Nesta also often asks for evaluation/ learnings to be shared, e.g. via a blog or public sharing of an evaluation report etc. We take account of concerns around sensitive business information and personal data in those circumstances.

When do you expect funding to be awarded and the funded year to start?

We expect selections to have been made in November and the grant making process to be complete by the end of December 2018. Funded projects would then be able to start in January 2019.

Is the funding considered to be de minimis or not?

ShareLab Scotland awards will be considered de minimis funding. Under de minimis aid, any single recipient can receive up to €200,000 (cash grant equivalent) over a three year period. This ceiling takes into account all public assistance given as de minimis funding for the current and previous two fiscal years which can take various forms (grants, loans, subsidised contracts, etc). Before making awards we will ask about any other de minimis funding in this period. Further information is available online.