Our strategy

We want a future where enterprising people are transforming our world for good. We believe that the best way to achieve this is to help social entrepreneurship go mainstream.

Our Going Mainstream strategy is about finding ways to break down the barriers faced by social entrepreneurs when starting and growing their venture. This might be issues in accessing training, raising capital, selling products and services, or simply communicating what they do and why to potential partners. 

It’s a big goal that demands great focus. So currently, we concentrate on three approaches to helping social entrepreneurs.

Realising entrepreneurial potential

We believe that people with lived experience of a problem have some of the best solutions. We meet social entrepreneurs developing solutions because they too have been homeless, without work or they know what it’s like to care for an ageing relative. By spotting and nurturing entrepreneurial talent, we unleash the potential of those with the passion to improve society.

In 2016/17 we helped 571 social entrepreneurs to start up and turn their ideas for social change into a reality. We backed 75 social entrepreneurs to scale their impact and grow existing businesses or projects.

And our help makes a difference. 76 Social entrepreneurs on our Big Venture Challenge programme raised £13 million in investment. Thanks to our support the number of lives improved by each of the 120 Big Venture Challenge social entrepreneurs rose by 600% on average.

We help social entrepreneurs become better able to act for social good.

Our support

social entrepreneur Award winners Papis Pickles

Maximising social impact

A compelling evidence of need, together with the areas our social entrepreneurs' have already had the most impact, has led us to focus on three areas where we think social entrepreneurs can make lasting change with our support.

We are bringing social entrepreneurs together improve access to employment, develop solutions for an ageing society and build more resilient communities.

But if they are to make the greatest impact they can, we need to help them navigate the system around them. And where the system doesn’t work, we want to change it.

No one solution or organization can do this which is why we are bringing together individuals, government and business to help drive systemic change for social entrepreneurs working in our focus areas. We're working with government, Scope, disabled entrepreneurs, UBS, Access - the Foundation for Social Investment and social entrepreneurs to tackle access to employment.

Explore our focus areas

Social venture, Discover U work with disabled adults in Dudley

Connecting to great support

We believe that by collaborating and creating networks, we can help social entrepreneurs to access the right support at the right time. We want to build a diverse network of supporters and help other organisations provide quality support to social entrepreneurs.

Our Lead the Change programme supported 12 not for profit community and voluntary organisations to develop their support for social entrepreneurs based in their local area.

From online support, to hosting events where potential social entrepreneurs can simply talk to someone else who’s been through the same journey, we are finding new ways to help large numbers of social entrepreneurs start well and thrive. 

Get involved

An evening with Leaders of Lived expereince


1.2 million older people in the UK are chronically lonely. Disabled people being twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. Social entrepreneurs have the solutions to issues like these that face our society. Social entrepreneurs like Cemal Ezel, founder of Change Please, a premium coffee seller that trains and employs homless people to work as baristas.

We are taking social entrepreneurship mainstream. We are dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs become valued members of society. By 2020, we hope to make social entrepreneurs house-hold names and helped to create an environment where they can thrive.

Going mainstream

Download our Going mainstream strategy to find out more.

Download Going mainstream

Our focus areas

We accept applications from social entrepreneurs providing solutions to any issues. We also have specific areas that we focus on. We encourage social entrepreneurs tackling these focus areas to apply. 

Building access to employment image.

Building access to employment

The steady drop in unemployment is a good news story for the...

Solutions for an ageing society image.

Solutions for an ageing society

The UK is undergoing a demographic shift, with potentially far-reaching...

Resilient communities image.

Resilient communities

Social entrepreneurs are working hard to respond to the challenges...

online community


We host a series of events throughout the UK each year. From classes and conferences, seminars and workshops to networking events and training sessions.

Upcoming events

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Learning area

Looking for financial guidance? Want to sharpen your marketing skills? Access our range of guides in the learning area..

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