Awards

We provide specialist support for social entrepreneurs to help them grow as social leaders. Inclusion is very important to us...

We are committed to 50% of our awards going to Black, Asian and minority ethnic social entrepreneurs, and/or disabled social entrepreneurs across our funding programmes.

We want to ensure that we can use our resources to address the imbalance of equity across the funding landscape, making sure we use our resources to support those who are marginalised to thrive and make a difference.

We combine cash and coaching to help nurture ideas and grow impact. It doesn't matter what stage of development your social venture is at. It can be an idea on paper. Or a social venture in practice already. We can offer financial support of up to £15,000 depending on how far you are in your journey.

Thousands of people work to improve their community and not just their bank balance. They act on a hunch. They start a social venture. And they tackle the problems they care about through a sustainable business model.

These are the people we support. Often they have first-hand experience of the problem they seek to solve. They want to create jobs, develop innovative products and services, and help others to live full lives.

To receive support, you will need to complete an application. Below, we have outlined the support you can receive dependent on whether you have an idea, are early stage, or are an established social venture looking to grow.

Criteria

We can support you if you are:

  • Aged 16 and over
  • Living in the United Kingdom
  • Willing to participate in a learning experience
  • Working to benefit people living in the United Kingdom
  • Have a real social impact
  • Fulfil a clear need and demand
  • Have clear outputs and goals

Your ideas and ventures are not eligible if they:

  • Are part of your paid employment where you are an employee
  • Involve political or religious campaigning
  • Involve activities outside the law or against public policy, or anything that encourages ethnic, religious or commercial disharmony
  • Are mainly for the benefit of the social entrepreneur and/or others to achieve academic qualifications
Apply now

 

 

2021 Application Deadlines

Applications Open Applications Assessed Decision
Jan 1st 0:00 - Mar 31st 23:59 Apr 1st 9:00 Jun 30th 17:00
Apr 1st 0:00 - Jun 30th 23:59 Jul 1st 9:00 Sep 30th 17:00
Jul 1st 0:00 - Sep 30th 23:59 Oct 1st 9:00 Nov 30th 17:00

 

 

Start your venture

You have an idea or are in the early stages of development


To help you make your idea for social change a reality we can typically offer support of between £500 and £5,000.

You are a social entrepreneur who wants to create social impact. You are ready to establish your venture, or have been running for less than a year, to tackle an issue that you are passionate about working to solve. You are dedicated to your idea and ready to make things happen.

We're here to support you. Alongside giving you funding to build your social venture, we will give you access to training and events, and assign you a dedicated Social Entrepreneur Support Manager (one of our experts in helping social entrepreneurs to start and grow). The Social Entrepreneur Support Manager will be there to coach you and support you to achieve your goals.


  • A package of support tailored to suit you
  • Support from an UnLtd Social Entrepreneur Support Manager and our teams
  • Specialist advice from relevant experts
  • Access to resources to help you get up and running
  • Funding to support essential start-up costs (except wages)
  • Access to UnLtd Connect, our network of skilled experts for advice and mentors

Grow your venture

You have an established organisation


To support you to grow and make a bigger difference we can offer our support and up to £15,000 funding.

You are running a social venture that is already making a positive difference to people's lives. You have compelling evidence of your impact. You might want to continue to grow to achieve your ambitions, or want further support to make sure your idea is financially sustainable.

This award is designed to help you to get to the next stage. It gives you up to £15,000 to help you grow, as well as expert, tailored advice to help you to achieve your ambitions. Alongside the funding, you get a unique package of support including one-to-one coaching from a dedicated Social Entrepreneur Support Manager (one of our experts in supporting social entrepreneurs), training, mentoring and access to networks of other passionate people doing good.


  • 12 months mentoring and tailored support from an Social Entrepreneur Support Manager, providing advice on operations and growth strategies
  • Expert advice including access to workshops and masterclasses
  • Up to £15,000 funding to support wages and living costs
  • Connections to investors, corporate partners and other successful entrepreneurs, helping you to develop your networks

About you

  • You have identified a social issue and developed a business model that works to solve it
  • You are committed to, and have a track record of, delivering local, regional or national social impact at scale
  • You are experienced, ambitious and capable of growing your venture
  • You have a realistic growth plan
  • You are committed to working full time in your social venture

About your venture

  • Your venture is at least one year old and ideally less than five years old
  • Your venture is dynamic and ready to grow to local, regional or national scale and has a logical and appropriate plan to deliver this
  • You have a compelling performance to date and/or a logical and appropriate plan for rapid growth to reach local, regional or national scale
  • Your principal objective for the year ahead is not to secure (significant) investment
  • Your venture targets beneficiaries predominantly based in the UK

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are social entrepreneurs?

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.

What do social entrepreneurs achieve?

Take a look at our impact reports to find out what our social entrepreneurs have achieved. 

What type of organisations do social entrepreneurs set up?

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.

What is a purpose beyond profit business?

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.

What is a social enterprise?

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. 

What is an award cohort?

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.

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