WorkerTech newsletter: May 2022

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


It’s that time of year again – Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) are on the lookout for a new cohort of ambitious founders to join their Tech for Good programme. Each year, we partner with BGV to back WorkerTech ventures to join the cohort.

In this edition I’ve put together a suite of tips and tools to help you make a great application. Not to be missed is our WorkerTech Unconference on 14th June, details of which are in the next box.

If you want to find out more about the programme and apply, you can do so on BGV’s brand new website. Or if you know of someone who you think should apply, please share the opportunity with them. You can also read more about BGV’s impact approach in their recently launched impact report.

Next edition we’ll be focusing on how to bring lived experience into venture building as we develop our WorkerTech lived experience strategy. If you’re an expert on this, user research, co-design or co-production, please get in touch.

Emma Selinger
Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

What does the future of fair work look like and how can technology help to improve the prospects and power of workers?

Join us on 14th June for a WorkerTech unconference breakfast as part of London Tech Week. You’ll meet peers, learn about WorkerTech and have the opportunity to shape the content of the session.

This event is open to anyone interested in WorkerTech. You might be working on a product or service that creates a fairer future of work, work in policy or research around work, looking for funding to develop a WorkerTech idea or just interested in meeting other people working on these issues.

In true unconference spirit we create the agenda on the day depending on what attendees are interested in learning and sharing. The event will run from 9 to 11am with breakfast and refreshments throughout.

Location: Toynbee Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LS
Time: 9 – 11am, Tuesday 14th June
Register to attend:

Getting your WorkerTech idea application-ready

Do you have an idea for how to improve work for low-paid or precarious workers using tech?

Twice a year we partner with BGV to back WorkerTech founders through the BGV Tech for Good Programme. Alongside £30,000 investment, each venture joins a 12-week intensive learning programme with a cohort of tech for good founders and a host of industry experts. In previous cohorts, we’ve backed TaskHer, Curo, Talia and RECit and continue to support them today.

We’re looking for founders that understand the issues faced by low-paid workers, who are involving workers in developing their solution, and who are determined to build an impact-driven tech product to improve the pay, progression, power or prospects of these workers. BGV’s website has more details about the application process and criteria.

We’re not expecting ideas to be fully formed at the application stage, so we’ve put together a list of tools that will help you refine your proposition and make a convincing application. If you know of any others, please share them with us!

  • WorkerTech Dispatch – our blog bringing you insights and tools for a fairer future of work. So far, we’ve covered the issues faced by low-paid and precarious workers, the different ways in which technology can address these and how to do effective user research with your target audience. Watch out for new content coming up on validating assumptions and choosing revenue models.
  • Tech for Good Slack community – a way to connect with founders from previous cohorts. BGV companies have gone on to raise a total of £111 million in investment after participating in the programme, so there are lots of stories of success to learn from.
  • Social venture canvas – an open source tool made for entrepreneurs who want to build impactful businesses and map out the early building blocks of their venture. It has been used successfully by our portfolio ventures, TaskHer, Talia and Curo, who are graduates of BGV’s Tech for Good programme.
  • Nesta’s DIY Toolkit – a collection of 30 practical social innovation tools that founders can use to help them identify and define problems, scale solutions and evaluate impact.
  • Design kit – a toolkit of design methods to help you put the people you are seeking to serve at the centre of your design process.
  • Office hours – talk to us! Register to discuss your application with someone from Resolution Ventures or BGV.

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

  • Listen up – this qualitative research examines people’s experiences of the economy as workers, consumers and social citizens via a series of focus groups across the UK. The report finds big differences in the way low and higher earners are experiencing economic change, and explores attitudes to labour market mobility, job quality and the cost of living
  • Cap off – with inflation reaching a 40 year high last month, lower income families are facing worsening cost pressures, with cutbacks on essential spending such as food. This spotlight argues that the government needs to support the hardest hit by bringing forward benefits uprating.
  • Low Pay Britain 2022 – RF’s annual audit of low pay in the UK finds that while the rising minimum wage is reducing incidence of low pay, other conditions associated with low pay are still concerning. Insecure contracts, unpredictable hours and volatility in pay continue to make life difficult for workers, highlighting the need for a policy agenda that addresses these problems.

WorkerTech stories

Last year we wrote about jobs and skills in a greener economy. This year the California Workforce Development Board has partnered with Jobs for the Future to launch a training fund to help workers in the USA from underserved communities prepare for careers in climate resilient industries. Around $62 million of funding has been allocated to the programme, with grants ringfenced not only for training, but also housing and food security to minimise barriers to entry for participants.

The Behavioural Insights Team published a review of the barriers faced by women seeking to move out of low-paid and low-skill work, and the evidence-based enablers. Main barriers include domestic responsibilities, poor transport and shift patterns, while promising interventions point to better workplace flexibility, more training opportunities, and encouraging gender balanced procurement processes.

Our WorkerTech partners, Ufi VocTech Trust, announced their latest cohort of grantees who are using technology to tackle the skills crisis in the UK. The cohort of 12 projects addresses challenges faced by employers across the UK such as low staff retention, emotional resilience, and poor infrastructure for knowledge sharing with a focus on low-paid industries like care, manufacturing and retail.

Our portfolio company, CareerEar, launched a report in partnership with the University of Essex, Defining a Skill within the Future of Work, which explores how different stakeholders can come together to use a common definition and framework of skills to improve transparency in recruitment and training for the future workforce.

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