Kick-start programme for Eastern social ventures launches website


A programme aimed at helping startup and early stage social ventures in the East of England has launched a new website. Social Incubator East is an intensive support programme for people with an ambition to set up or grow a business dedicated to making positive social impact.

A programme aimed at helping startup and early stage social ventures in the East of England has launched a new website to offer support and information to businesses with a social conscience.

Social Incubator East, an intensive support programme for people with an ambition to set up or grow a business dedicated to making positive social impact, will use their website to promote the new ventures they are working with, encourage others with a great idea to get in touch and act as a store of useful information and links.

Social Incubator East was set up by Cambridge charity Allia, with funding from the Cabinet Office, to encourage individuals and teams from the East of England to come forward with ideas to make a difference to the lives of others. Social Incubator East is hosting regular Social Venture Weekends for new ventures to experience two days of world class training provided by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Social Incubator East’s Social Venture Weekends help to refine ideas, work through challenges and develop business plans and pitches. They also give startups the opportunity to share and test their ideas with other teams and learn from the experiences of successful entrepreneurs.

Teams that show potential to become successful and scalable social ventures are then invited to join the Social Incubator East programme, which offers up to 12 months of further training, business support, loan finance and free workspace.

The first Social Incubator East Social Venture Weekend was held in June and supported no fewer than 41 ventures, 10 of which have gone on to become the first cohort on the first Social Incubator East programme. The new ventures include:

Goshawk Communications – which has the technology and team in place to enable hearing impaired people to personalise their mobile phones and devices so that their ability to hear is optimised. Effectively a hearing aid in the sky, this technology offers huge potential social and economic benefits.

Turtle Dove Cambridge – looking to empower young women at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training) to develop life long careers, Turtle Dove designs and delivers a range of inspiring, creative events and work experience opportunities in Cambridge café settings.

DNA Digest - a community of professionals working together to enable DNA data to be used to its full potential for the benefit of patients. DNA Digest aims to secure the data, share the knowledge and accelerate diagnoses and treatments for genetic diseases affecting millions of people worldwide. Through its associated social venture, Nucleobase Ltd, it builds and hosts Open Source software projects that support and incentivise best practices for genomics data sharing.

Social Incubator East Programme Director Belinda Bell said: “We’re delighted to be launching our new website and we will be working hard to make it a valuable resource to social ventures who are starting out, and those who are further along the road to becoming viable businesses. Our first Social Venture Weekend yielded an amazing response from across the region and we would encourage everyone out there with a great idea to get involved in the next weekend in October - it could change their lives.”

The next Social Venture Weekend will be 10th-12th October 2014. Cabinet Office funding means that the Social Venture Weekend costs just £50 including catering. Teams invited to join the Social Incubator East programme, will pay a further £100 for the follow-up three day training course. All other business support and workspace for up to 12 months is free.

Click here to go to the new Social Incubator East website and register for the Social Venture Weekend



Notes to Editors

For more information and to arrange interviews please contact Social Incubator East Programme Director, Belinda Bell, at Tel: 07903 991113

About Social Incubator East Social Incubator East is a programme from Allia, a charity that supports organisations dedicated to making a positive social impact, delivered in Partnership with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Foundation East and Keystone Development Trust. SIE is funded by the Cabinet Office and delivered by Big Lottery Fund.

A social venture that is appropriate for the Social Incubator East programme is anyone with a business or business idea that seeks to have a positive social impact. They may:

  • be for-profit or not-for-profit
  • address a wide range of challenges – e.g. mental or physical health, ageing population, unemployment, homelessness, education, environment, housing, transport, local issues
  • innovate with technology; operate locally or potentially national/global in scale; they may be spinning out of the public sector
  • and they will certainly be looking for revenue streams and help to scale up and become investment or contract ready.

Allia is a charity that supports social ventures – organisations that are dedicated to making a positive social impact. We provide business support, work space and finance solutions to help social ventures start up, grow and deliver social change. For more information visit   

Cambridge Judge Business School is a business school at the heart of Cambridge, advancing knowledge and leadership through people who leave a mark on the world.

Foundation East lends money to business owners across the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and neighbouring areas, offering loans up to £100,000 to both start up and growing enterprises. We provide help and support with completing the application forms and business plan templates and offer business support after a loan has been awarded.        

Keystone Development Trust delivers diverse social projects through generating income from its own not for private profit social enterprises as well as public and other funds. Keystone Development Trust aims to improve the quality of life and opportunities for people who live, study and work in the Keystone area through sustainable, community led regeneration. For further information please visit


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Allia Ltd

Allia is a charity that supports individuals and organisations who create social benefit.

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