UnLtd finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs to make a difference in the UK.
This support we offer includes grants and investment, one-to-one coaching and guidance, mentorship and legal advice opportunities. We carry out research, tell stories of social entrepreneurs and their impact, host events, and influence policy makers to create a supportive public environment for the incredible work of our social entrepreneurs.
We want UnLtd to be actively anti-oppression, and inclusive for all, in everything we do; we know we're not yet good enough.
We know that change is the result of action, not intention. In pursuit of this, we are reviewing and adapting every single aspect of the work we do - both our external support, and our internal operations. A few of the support and delivery changes we have begun to make are outlined below.
We are striving towards equity and being anti-racist. This means changing our mindsets, processes, behaviours and culture to simultaneously focus on tackling both the root causes and the symptoms. Inclusion and equity must be part of the UnLtd DNA, woven into our identity through education, training and ongoing conversations to ensure it is embedded as the norm and never treated as an afterthought.
Social entrepreneurs are at the heart of all we do, and this is no exception. They are the guiding compass for our ongoing journey, alongside our hope to celebrate and support their diversity and strength.
It has always been our vision for the UK to be the best place to be a social entrepreneur. Part of this means every person with an idea for a socially impactful business should be supported to succeed. Equity and inclusion is integral to this vision.
To pursue change, we need to change our strategies too - we know that this work is not just the responsibility of a human resources department. This action and impetus for change belongs to all staff, in both its design and execution. Everyone representing UnLtd must be dedicated to understanding, learning, and applying the necessary behaviours to create an inclusive organisation.
Our goal is to ensure our working environment is equitable and safe for everyone who works with and for us.
We have committed 50% of our grants to social entrepreneurs who identify as being Black, Asian, from a minority ethnic background and/or Disabled across all of our grant giving. Underscoring this is a particular focus on supporting social entrepreneurs with personal experience of the issue they are working to solve.
Each decision-making panel for our grant funding will be made up of a panel of both staff and social entrepreneurs where at least two individuals identify as: Black, Asian, from a minority ethnic background, Disabled, someone over 50 and / or a Leader with Lived Experience, reflecting both our inclusion commitments and impact areas.
Our scoring system for funding applications has been redesigned through an equity lens to address the influence of societal disadvantages which imbalance the application process. We acknowledge that a funding application is not a full and accurate representation of somebody’s ability to create social change. Our scorecard now specifically includes: lived experience, identity and culture, the need and diversity of the communities they are supporting. For established organisations we also ask for a commitment to diversity in governance. Our highest scoring criteria are now inclusion, followed by impact, and sustainability.
We no longer categorise communities as “hard to reach”. We are proactively working in paid partnerships with Black, Asian, minority ethnic and/or disabled members of the social enterprise community to identify people who need funding and support the most and are the least likely to engage with us. Our communications strategy includes engaging with and listening to these communities we are currently too distanced from, proactively inviting and supporting them to apply for our funding and support.
To increasingly diversify our grant giving, this applies to our partnerships too. It is our responsibility to use our position in the sector and our networks to model and influence proactive behaviours and ensure our partners and suppliers are:
a) aligned with both our values and impact goals as well as our inclusion targets and plans
b) better representing the communities and entrepreneurs we want to support.
Our pursuit of equity and an anti-oppression approach includes a staff-led initiative to positively develop our mindsets, processes, behaviours and culture. We have formed an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Network (EDIB) and Sterring Committee with dedicated resource to focus on both the external and internal work, with members representing multiple directorates and experiences. EDIB are designing an inclusion-first framework to apply to all our work, and will support the organisation to achieve these goals.
This work is an ongoing and continuous learning journey for our organisation, and our first step has been creating a three-year inclusive learning plan for our staff. To create and maintain a respectful, inclusive environment where our colleagues and community feel they belong, this learning focuses on understanding marginalised experiences and the necessary behavioural changes the organisation and individuals need to make.
By April 2021 we will have completed our Equity Audit which delves into our priority areas:
Ongoing inclusion learning and application means that we will continue to review and consider how equity and inclusion is represented across an employee’s journey with UnLtd.
We are committed to accountability and transparency on our inclusion goals - we will publicly share regular updates of our journey, and specifically detail our progress on these actions in our annual Impact Report.
It is not the steps we’ve taken but the journey we’re on that matters. We will continue to pave and develop our brick road as we listen to the communities we work with.