Annual Report 2012Shuttleworth Foundation Logo

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Turvey

It has been 4 years since we have changed our funding structure, to invest in the person with the innovative idea, rather than the idea itself. This has helped us be more agile and stay on track when specific project milestones no longer made sense in a changing landscape. It has also helped our investments go further, the initiatives no longer end when the funding does, but continue long after the Fellow leaves the programme.

We continue to be excited about those that can both articulate their idea and also put it into action. 2012 saw us bring 4 new Fellows into the programme working in diverse areas, conflict resolution and open hardware being entirely new for our support.

Whilst the Fellows are treading the path of optimising social impact and determining sustainability, at the Foundation, we are learning how to create a safe space for shared learning with the best blend of funding and support.

A fundamental part of our theory of change is that being deliberately, legally and practically open is the best way to make our ideas spread. We invest in open as as the default and challenge the notion that being closed is key to building sustainable advantages. This idea is not so alien in 2012. Governments around the world are opening up data to its citizens. Educational institutions are starting to experience the benefits of embracing open educational resources and at the frontier of openness, businesses are creatively venturing into this new landscape.

Looking back on the year it is exciting to see these changes and our contribution to them, but there is a long road ahead!

Helen Turvey, Chief Executive Officer

Where we focus our energy

We have a modest amount of funding, and big ideas. We want to find keys that unlock barriers and drive change through systems. In 2012 we did that by building an eco-system of open ideas.

We supported openness in intellectual property, data, privacy, hardware, education, publishing, government, telecoms and the Web.

Intellectual Property Data Privacy Publishing Telecommunication Science Hardware Education Government Web

How do we spend our money?

The Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship Program funding is unusual in that it consists of two components for each Fellow - the fellowship grant and matched project funding.

The fellowship grant covers the cost of the Fellow's time for the year and is guaranteed to the fellow for the year. The grant amount varies and is determined by each Fellow's salary equivalent outside of the fellowship.

The project funding is a standard amount of $228,500 set aside per Fellow for project expenses. This funding is unlocked by a light weight project pitch process and the Fellows are rewarded for investing in their own ideas by the Foundation adding 10 to 20 times as much funding - a co-investment model.

Imagine the cost of a Fellow's time for the year is agreed at $1000. As the fellowship year progresses, the Fellow realises that it would be beneficial to spend $100 in order to advance their idea. The Fellow then takes $900 home for the cost of her time and reinvests $100 back into the implementation of her idea. The Foundation will contribute at least another $1000, giving her a project budget of $1100.

The investment coming partly from the Fellow themselves has a 2-fold effect;

  1. they are really thoughtful about what to spend money on and
  2. there is true ownership of the project.

Total spend

Distribution of funds

Average funding per fellow

$354, 420.00

Fellowship applications

The Foundation was launched in South Africa in 2001 and is well known there. It is therefore not entirely unexpected that there are still strong ties with South Africa as can be seen by the flow of money to South Africa and the fact that the highest number of fellowship applications came from the country.

Applications for the 1 March 2012 fellowship intake closed on 1 November 2011 and applications for the 1 September 2012 fellowship intake closed on 1 May 2012. Applications were accepted throughout the year.

Country ranking

Theme ranking

Gender of applicants

males females

Selection process

How our fellows spent their money

80% of this year's spend at the Foundation was on fellow grants and projects. The start date of the Fellowship impacts the spending pattern on project funds, therefore the average spend per fellow is below the available project budget of $228k. That is, a fellow that started on 1 September would have a spent less than a fellow who started on 1 March.

During this financial year, we had 10 fellows onboard.

Fellowship duration:

Available funds:

Spend breakdown


During the fellowship, active fellows pitch for additional funds. Additional funding is unlocked by a light weight project pitch process for co-investment throughout the year. The co- investment model rewards fellows for investing in their own ideas by adding 10 to 20 times as much funding.

When fellows exit the program, they still have access to the remaining funds from past pitches to complete the work they proposed. In 2012, the following alumni made use of these leftover funds in the following ways.