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Tech prize fund doubled

5 September 2019

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The prize money on offer through the Legal Access Challenge fund has been doubled to £500,000 in a drive to provide financial support for more legal tech innovation.

So far, 117 “high quality” entrants have applied to the Legal Access Challenge including entrepreneurs, legal professionals, technology companies, law schools and charities.

Among the entries are collaborations between individuals and organisations.

The Legal Access Challenge is run by Nesta Challenges, an independent technology innovation organisation working in partnership with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to encourage legal innovation.

SRA chair Anna Bradley said: “We are pleased with the number and quality of entries, and that the Challenge has helped bring different people, with different expertise, together. 

“There are plenty of good ideas for how technology could help people better understand and resolve their legal problems.”

She added that with this additional funding available, they will “be able to support even more innovators to the benefit of the public and small businesses”.

In addition to doubling the prize fund, the number of finalists will also be doubled to eight, and there will now be two winners instead of one.

Late this month, eight finalists chosen from all the entrants will each be given a development fund of £50,000. They will then have six months to use it to develop their tech proposals.

At the end of that six-week period, two overall winners will be selected - each receiving a further £50,000 in prize money.

Chris Gorst, Nesta’s head of better markets, said it is clear from the strength and number of entrants to the challenge that there is an appetite for innovation; and recognition that better legal services are needed.

He commented: “We’ve received entries for nearly 120 products and services that could make a real difference to small businesses and individuals by helping them conveniently and affordably access legal services.

“We look forward to working with the successful entrants to support them in bringing the best innovative products and services to market and thereby closing the ‘legal gap’ we currently face.”

Read more about the Legal Access Challenge here. The application deadline closed in August.




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