Textocracy is among 20 companies chosen to be a part of this year’s Big Venture Challenge, an accelerator for social enterprises addressing some of the country’s toughest problems. The programme is run by UnLtd, the Foundation of Social Entrepreneurs, and funded by the Big Lottery Fund England.

Mark Norbury, Chief Executive of UnLtd, said, “I’m delighted to introduce this year’s Big Venture Challenge winners – a set of incredibly passionate and committed people who are tackling some of the biggest problems we face as a nation.”

Textocracy is an SMS-based service user and customer feedback tool that means that anyone with a simple mobile phone can have their say in public service design and delivery. Textocracy is free, anonymous, doesn’t require a login or password, and is completely open to the topic that people want to talk about.

Elizabeth Shassere, Founder and CEO of Textocracy Ltd said, “At Textocracy, we aim to ensure that everyone has a chance to have their voice heard in influencing the design and development of public sector services and in democratic processes. We want every public sector agency to have a Textocracy service so that their constituents can always have access to an easy and free way to capture their comments using any simple mobile phone.”

“We want to bridge the digital divide and show that the simplest technology can often be the best at bringing solutions to the most marginalised people in our communities.”

“Being a part of BVC will give us mentorship and support to help us take our service to the next level. This means getting Textocracy into more and more services where people struggle to use existing consultation and feedback methods and so often go unheard, without an accessible way to influence decision-making. We want everyone to be able to have their say.”

“We look forward to joining this prestigious cohort and making this opportunity count. The support from the Big Venture Challenge will help us scale and grow by ensuring we can target more local government and NHS services over the next several months.”

“Textocracy has been operating since September 2015 and has had around 20 organisations using the service in that time, thanks to support we received as part of the Dotforge Social Impact Accelerator based in Manchester, and funded by The Key Fund. We have also received support from FutureEverything, Digital Catapult, the University of Sheffield Enterprise and Sheffield Startup Weekend, among others. Without great organisations like these that are committed to supporting social enterprise in our communities, we wouldn’t be here today.”