Got a question about what we do or how we work? Here are some of the most common questions and our answers.
UnLtd is the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, a UK registered charity set up in 2002.
We want a future where enterprising people are transforming our world for good. We call these people social entrepreneurs. We find social entrepreneurs with bold solutions to today’s challenges. Through funding and support, we help them to realise their potential and create lasting change.
A future where enterprising people are transforming our world for good. Find out more about what we do.
We support enterprising people who are transforming our world for good. We call these people social entrepreneurs and we support them at every stage of their journey.
Social entrepreneurs come from all kinds of backgrounds and are seeking to deliver social solutions in many different ways. Whatever their background, one thing unites them, a passion to solve a social problem, and an entrepreneurial flair to make it happen.
UnLtd works across the UK, supporting social entrepreneurs directly, as well as working with partners to back them. Although we don’t do direct international work, we are the founder member of the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network, an international knowledge sharing network of agencies that support early stage social entrepreneurs.
UnLtd works directly with social entrepreneurs, and also partners with a wide variety of people and organisations to help find, fund and support social entrepreneurs.
We have a number of partners who fund our work to either directly support social entrepreneurs, or to work with other supporters of social entrepreneurs.
We also have a number of strategic partnerships with organisations that share similar goals, for example the Social Economy Alliance on our policy work.
UnLtd backs the individuals – the social entrepreneurs themselves – and their own approaches to delivering social impact.
In some instances we work with social entrepreneurs to use mission locks to ensure that their social ventures remain true to their social mission and continue to deliver social impact.
We take all complaints very seriously and have designed a comprehensive complaints policy to reflect this. The purpose of UnLtd’s complaints policy is to set out how we will investigate complaints made by individuals. Our aim is to resolve the issues and to enable our organisation to learn from any mistakes. Please read our full complaints policy here.
UnLtd has a dedicated Board of Trustees who have governance oversight of UnLtd as an organisation, and the continuing management of the Millennium Awards Trust, with legal oversight from a government-appointed Protector who is a leading lawyer.
The Senior Management Team consists of the Chief Executive and five directors who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation. We have a brilliant team of staff who support social entrepreneurs, support our partners to support social entrepreneurs, as well as provide central services so that it all works smoothly. Meet our team and our board.
UnLtd is committed to ensuring social entrepreneurs get the resources and support they need to help them start and thrive. As a foundation, UnLtd oversees a £150m endowment called the Millennium Awards Trust.
The interest raised from this endowment is used to fund UnLtd’s work to help social entrepreneurs in the UK. This can only reach a small proportion of the people who want to start up as social entrepreneurs, so Unltd raises additional funds for social entrepreneurs from a range of trusts, foundations, institutions and corporates.
The Board of UnLtd, in its capacity as Trustee of the Millennium Awards Trust, is responsible for the investment of the endowment. We delegate to an expert investment committee the tasks of advising us on the full range of investment issues including policy, strategy, the appointment and monitoring of professional advisers, and the monitoring of performance.
We invest so as to meet the various different objectives of the Trust Deed. In practice, this involves investing across a number of different asset classes, balancing expected return, volatility, income and operational considerations.
We review strategic asset allocation formally every five years, as part of an overall investment review. Our asset allocation aims to provide an optimum balance between stable income – necessary to meet UnLtd’s operational needs – and meeting objectives stipulated in the Trust Deed of seeking to maximise financial returns and whilst also seeking to maintain the real value of the endowment. More information on our investment approach can be found in our Annual Report and Accounts.
People who are passionate about tackling the world’s problems through enterprising solutions. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and deliver social solutions in different ways.
Take a look at our impact reports to find out what our social entrepreneurs have achieved.
UnLtd backs individuals and their ideas for the best way to achieve the social benefit they want to create. Many social entrepreneurs decide they can best deliver support by forming an organisation.
There are a range of business models and legal structures available. These include voluntary groups, mutuals and co-ops, charities, social enterprises, and also companies which are committed long term to social benefit (known as profit with purpose businesses). We call this broad range of organisations ‘social ventures’.
We focus our efforts on helping social entrepreneurs to create organisations that have social impact as their number one purpose now and into the future.
A purpose beyond profit business is a company which can make and distribute profit, but which is committed to a social purpose for the long term, and which reports on its social impact. We helped create Purposely, a free online tool to help businesses commit to a social purpose.
Social Enterprise UK describe social enterprise as an approach taken by an organisation which has a clear social and/or environmental mission (set out in governing documents), generates the majority of its income through trading, and reinvests the majority of its profits to further the social mission.
UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs who go on to set up a broad range of social ventures, many of which are social enterprises as described above. We also support social entrepreneurs who create other types of social ventures.
If you have an idea, or want to grow your social venture, have a look at our support section. We have awards aimed at different stages of growth from £500 to try something out, to our accelerator programme which helps established social ventures to scale.
Once you find the right support for you, complete a short expression of interest form. It will be sent to our team to review. We’ll get in touch whether you’re successful or not with next steps.
The first step is always filling out an expression of interest. This short form lets us know a little bit about you, your idea and the change you’re planning to create. If you’re successful at this stage you might be invited to complete a full application and/or attend a pitching panel - depending on the award.
We run a mix of awards, some have deadlines whereas others are constantly open to applications. There is a description of current deadlines on each award page. Where there are no deadlines, such as for our Do It awards, it usually means that award is open to applications at any time.
When we grant social entrepreneurs support we assign them a cohort. This cohort is a group of people being funded at the same level and time. They will tend to attend the same training sessions, workshops and networking events.
We find that taking a cohort approach creates a positive experience for the people we fund. It allows you to meet other like-minded people who may be facing the same challenges, and who may also have skills and experience that you can learn from. Our cohorts often keep in touch after the period of support, becoming an informal support network for each other.
We host a series of events throughout the UK each year. From classes and conferences, seminars and workshops to networking events and training sessions.
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