Nicola Sturgeon Launches £172,000 ShareLab Scotland Fund

ShareLab Scotland scheme to support projects using online sharing tech to meet Scotland’s vision of a more socially responsible collaborative economy.

The ShareLab Scotland Scheme is now calling for individuals, social enterprises, charities and community groups to apply for grants of up to £33,000. The £172,000 scheme, which will be run by Nesta, a UK innovation foundation, is looking to support projects that utilise online sharing tech to deliver social and economic value to Scotland’s population. ShareLab Scotland will help to identify projects that will help communities make better use of local resources.

The scheme aims to specifically target projects that can deliver affordable, clean energy and sustainable transport solutions, particularly for those in remote and rural areas. A series of webinars and discussions about the fund will be held across Scotland this summer.

This will enable those seeking funding to find out more about what Nesta is looking for. Following this, Initial Expressions of Interest will be submitted via a short questionnaire – from which Nesta will work with the Scottish Government to create a shortlist of ideas and host a workshop to develop them.

Selected organisations will meet with Nesta mentors and external advisors to review and improve upon ideas in development and those who have joined the workshop or webinar will then be invited to submit applications. Funding will be awarded by a panel of experts from the Scottish Government and Nesta later this year.

ShareLab Scotland Fund to Support a Collaborative Economy

According to the Scottish Government, the fund is one of its broad range of actions in response to the recommendations from the Expert Advisory Panel Report on Collaborative Economy, which is due to be published shortly. The purpose of the panel is to identify how Scotland can maximise the benefits of a collaborative economy.

Announcing ShareLab Scotland at Nesta’s FutureFest event in London, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government believe that innovation is central to our future, and in recent years I have made promoting innovation a major focus of our economic policy. However, governments have to ensure that our social policies respond to the technological and economic changes that we promote. We can’t just promote innovation in our economic policy – we also have to adopt innovation in our social policies.”

Sturgeon added: “The collaborative economy brings together individuals and communities in new and innovative ways. There is huge opportunity for Scotland in this area, particularly given some of our geographic challenges and the potential benefits it can bring for tourism and transport in more remote areas. To help achieve this, I am pleased to launch ShareLab Scotland. This £172,000 fund will help new partnerships benefit both our societies and the economy.

“I am grateful for the commitment and energy shown by the Panel in delivering its wide-ranging remit. As the Scottish Government takes forward actions in response to the Panel’s recommendations, I ask all stakeholders to continue to work together to make this happen.”

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive Officer of Nesta, commented: “Digital platforms have transformed how we shop and travel, creating vast global companies along the way. We believe that similar technologies can help deal with many of our social challenges too, and with this fund – a partnership with the Scottish Government – we hope to find great examples that can also be more controlled by local communities.”



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