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Innovate to Save fund open to Welsh public & third sector organisations

Innovate to Save fund open to Welsh public & third sector organisations

Nesta has launched a £5m programme to support public and third sector organisations in Wales in generating cashable savings and improving the quality of service delivery.

Innovate to Save aims to tackle some of the most complex issues currently facing Welsh public services while generating cashable savings through a new model that blends different kinds of finance and intensive support. It will prototype, trial, scale and evaluate projects through a mixture of grant funding, non-financial support and repayable loans.

The programme launched on 17th February and is open to applications from all Welsh public and third sector organisations until 23rd May.

The programme has three phases; pre-application support, where it will support the development of new ideas into robust research and development (R&D) projects; research and development, where new ideas will be prototyped and tested, and implementation, where ideas that show the capacity to improve services and generate savings will be rolled out.

Innovate to Save is keen to support projects that fall into one of the following four thematic areas:

  • Improving services for looked after children
  • Using data and digital technology to drive change
  • Social prescribing
  • Public sector procurement

It is also seeking applications from partnerships, particularly where activity in one organisation generates savings in another.

Innovate to Save will provide financial and non-financial support to enable successful applicants to take part in the R&D phase with of between £5,000 and £15,000 available. Implementation projects will be supported with interest free, unsecured loans and a package of non-financial support. There is currently no upper limit to the value of loans that can be applied for.

The programme has been born out of the Welsh Government’s Invest to Save programme, which has run as a loan scheme since 2009, offering unsecured, zero interest finance to public sector projects that require up front investment to implement. A review of Invest to Save highlighted various challenges with the programme and recommended segmenting the Invest to Save fund to create a new bespoke offer for organisations considering more radical options for achieving savings, which was developed as Innovate to Save.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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