Introduction

UnLtd is working to increase the accessibility and equity of our support and Award making. You can read more about our commitments to inclusion on our website, but as part of those commitments, if there is any reason why you might experience additional challenges in completing our application process our Application Support Managers are here to help.

You can contact the team at awardapplications@unltd.org.uk

When reading this guidance please note that there are specific questions depending on your stage of development; you only need to answer the questions relevant to you. This is indicated as you go through so that you can prepare your responses in advance should you wish to.

We will assess your application based on the following principles:

Social impact

We want to work with social entrepreneurs with the most potential to create impact on people and communities across the UK. Our ambition is to work with social entrepreneurs to build a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable society.

Financial sustainability

We will make an assessment on the potential financial sustainability (how you make enough money to cover your costs), growth potential or viability of your venture.

Inclusion

We want to ensure we support all social entrepreneurs who need our support. Not just financial, but where our non-financial support will make a difference too. In doing so we also want to better reach those entrepreneurs who identify as being from Black Asian and minority ethnic communities, disabled people, those over 50, and leaders with lived experience of the issues that their social business is addressing.

"We're proud you have chosen UnLtd to support your journey as a social entrepreneur and we look forward to welcoming you to our growing family of people changing the world around us"

Mark Norbury, CEO

Register

To start an application for the first time you will need to create an account; this is so you can save your application and return to it at any time. You will need a valid e-mail address and to create a password to do this. For security we ask that your password is between 8 and 64 characters and must have three of the following:

  • A lowercase letter
  • An uppercase letter
  • A digit and/or a symbol

Please read our Privacy Policy and Award Rules before proceeding and click the two boxes to show that you have done this. We ask you to check the tick box "I am not a robot" to show that you are a real person completing the application and not an automated system. On this page you can also view/print all of the application questions so that you know what to expect throughout the application.

#1. Contact details

Your information will be used in line with GDPR legislation.

Enter your full name, address, phone number and your preferred method of contact. Your information will be used in line with GDPR legislation. We ask for your date of birth to ensure eligibility; we unfortunately cannot support entrepreneurs under the age of 16 and we also want to ensure our Awards are reaching people at all stages of life.

National Insurance Number (required)

We ask for your National Insurance Number to ensure that we can correctly link records, should you have a number of applications with us. If for any reason you don't have this - let us know.

#2. Complete your details

Do you have the right to live and work in the UK? (required)

Whilst we recognise that there are many fantastic entrepreneurs that may not have the right to live and work in the UK, unfortunately we are only able to work with those who do.

How did you find out about UnLtd? (required)

Please select the most relevant response for how you first found out about UnLtd/our Award programmes and be specific about names and organisations. This helps us track the success of our communications and work with local partners.

#3. Getting to know you

This is where you can tell us about your venture and the problem you want to tackle.

Enter your name of venture, or proposed name, if you are at idea stage. Enter your venture website if you have one. Enter the location of your venture. Here we want you to describe where your venture will be having an impact. This could be in your local community, borough, city, or county. It could be in several locations or could be UK wide. Please offer as much detail as possible.

What type of financial support are you primarily interested in? You can leave this blank if you're not sure. We will read through your application and direct it accordingly.

What sectors do you operate in? You can select up to a maximum of three sectors that most closely fit your venture by using the "Add Sectors" button on the right.

What is the social or environmental issue you're addressing? We want to understand the issue in society that you plan to, or are addressing through your venture. What is the scale of this problem? Is it a local issue, or national? Does it have a short or long term impact for people or our planet?

It would be helpful to back this up with some data. This could be from your own research, or public records. In your answer we want to know what your understanding of the problem is, who it affects and how.

There is a character limit of 2,000 which will count down as you type, you can still paste text from another document if you work on your application offline but you will need to make a note of the character limit to avoid losing text.

Who might benefit from your venture?You can select up to a maximum of three groups that you aim to specifically support with your venture.

If your venture is focused on environmental outcomes you can select 'other', and state this in the text box. You can't leave the text box blank as this will create an error and send you back to this page when you try to move forward.

#4. Getting to know you

We would now really like to get to know you more. In the next few questions we want to understand why you're so motivated to make a difference.

Tell us about yourself. We want to find out more about you and your connection to the social or environmental issue that you plan to or are addressing. It's helpful for us to understand your background and any experiences that have helped shape you and what is important to you.

What experience do you have that makes you the right person to address this issue? What is your understanding of this issue? Why is it important to you? Is it through personal or professional experiences?

Only share what you are comfortable with but please be aware that anything you do share will be treated sensitively by our team.

Are you a leader with direct, indirect or professional experience of the issue your venture addresses?

In this next section of the application we have included a detailed explanation of what we mean by lived experience as you are asked to indicate whether your experience is direct, indirect or professional.

We value the wide range of experience that social entrepreneurs bring to their business, whether from their work or their lived experience. We value the direct experience people have of a social issue especially highly. In the next section we explore what we mean by direct, indirect, and professional experience.

Leaders with direct, indirect and professional experience

Direct experience

Someone who uses their first-hand experience of a social issue to create positive change for and with the community they share that experience with.

For example: Someone who has been homeless who is working to improve homelessness services. A disabled person who has set up and is running a peer-to- peer support service for other disabled people. A person who experienced exclusion and unemployment as a young person sets up and runs a service for young people not in employment, education or training

Indirect experience

Someone who uses their familiarity with a social issue to create positive change for the communities and people who experience the issue first-hand.

For example: The parent of child who is disabled providing services for disabled people. The carer of someone with dementia selling products to support people with dementia to live independently.

Professional experience

Someone who uses their professional experience of an issue to create positive change for the communities and people who experience the issue first-hand. This might mean you have working or voluntary experience or have qualified in a relevant field and witnessed a problem you wish to address.

For example: Someone who has worked in the NHS, managing care services, setting up a care provider. A former teacher setting up a service for young people not in employment, education, or training.

Of your Direct, Indirect or Professional experience, please indicate which social issue(s) in which you have experience and are the primary motivation or influenced you in your work? You can use the ‘Add Experience’ button on the right to select the options such as ‘Housing and Homelessness’.

#5. What stage are you at

We would like to know if your venture is at the idea stage, you have been running for less than a year or you are an established organisation which has been operating for over a year.

Depending on the stage of your venture, you will then be directed to slightly different questions which account for your stage of development.

If you selected:

Forming: I have an idea

How do you plan to tackle the social/environmental problem that you have identified?

We would like to know if you have developed a plan. Your response could include:

  • An overview of your work and how it will tackle your identified problem, for example: If you are looking to tackle the disability employment gap then you may be proposing a solution which creates opportunities to support disabled people into employment. Essentially, how will your work address the root cause of the problem you want to tackle?
  • Where you will be delivering your service or creating your product
  • A list of tasks that need to happen within a specified timeline
  • Who you need to be in contact with to make your idea a reality?
  • Other people that you will be working with, e.g. volunteers or partners
  • Resources that you will need – these could be physical, human, financial

We know you are at the idea stage and we don’t expect you to have all the answers yet. You might have a clear idea of the difference you want to make but not feel confident in sharing your story about why it’s so important, or perhaps you have so many ideas for getting your venture off the ground that you would like some support to know which areas to focus on first. These are just examples, so do indicate in your response if you would like some support from us in certain areas.

How do you plan to make a difference? In your response we really want to understand your business model, by this we mean what products or services might you be selling to become financially sustainable which in turn will allow you to create a social impact.

  • You may want to think about the following questions:
  • How will it be funded?
  • How do you know that they will pay?
  • What’s unique about what you plan to do?
  • How does it tackle a problem for people that existing products or services don’t?

Again, we don’t expect you to have all the answers yet. It may be that you have developed a product or service offering but you aren’t sure how best to get in front of your target customer, or maybe you have questions around your pricing structure. These are just examples but please do indicate if you have identified areas in which you would like some support from us.

How many unique individuals have directly benefited from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the last 12 months?

We would like to know how many unique individuals your venture has directly made a positive difference for – by unique individuals we mean that if a person has for example attended three workshops they should only count once. If your venture is new or early stage and has not yet benefitted people please enter ‘0’.

How many unique individuals do you expect to benefit from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the next 12 months?

We would also like to know how many unique individuals your venture will benefit in the next 12 months, and as above one individual should only count once in your total.

Please describe the intended impact of your work on the individuals who benefit from it and how long you expect that impact might last:

We would like to understand how your work will make a positive difference to people, and whether you are working with them over a short period of time or over more regular interactions. You may want to consider the following questions in your response:

How do we expect that people benefit from the activities/products/services our organisation will provide?

How often do we anticipate people will engage with our work (for example once in a workshop, or through daily or weekly interactions)?

Please add the total amount you would like to apply for from UnLtd:

We can consider requests up to £5,000 for ideas or early-stage ventures trading for less than 12 months. For established organisations trading for over a year you can apply for up to £15,000.

If you are ready, please add a breakdown of the total budget including the top level costs you would like the award to cover.

We would like to understand what your venture costs are. We will discuss your budget with you in more detail as your application progresses.

We can consider all costs relating to establishing or growing a venture which could include things like:

  • Company formation and registration fees
  • Insurance
  • Enhanced disclosures and other safeguarding costs
  • IT costs
  • Printing, advertising, and publicity
  • Venue and equipment hire
  • Materials
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Volunteer expenses
  • Mentoring and support
  • If you have an established organisation that has been trading for over a year, you can apply for living costs

Please note that the following expenses will not be considered:

  • Funding activities outside the law, against public policy or anything that fosters ethnic, religious, or commercial disharmony
  • Funding to undertake formal qualifications (but can be used to provide short term training if critical to success of the venture)
  • Funding to employ others to undertake the bulk of the Award activity

I've been trading for less than 1 year

My venture is incorporated as a: Select the correct option. If your organisation is incorporated under more than one structure (e.g. if you have a charity foundation and a trading arm) then select the option for which the majority of your trading income comes through.

...and was incorporated on: Enter the exact date of incorporation (this can be found on your certificate of incorporation, or on Companies House) and your company or charity number.

How are you currently tackling the social/environmental problem that you have identified or how do you plan to tackle it in the future? We would like to know about your current activities and what you have achieved so far, as well as any plans for the future. This may include:

  • Any of your key achievements to date
  • What kind of information or discussions have you had that lead you to believe your work is making a difference? How are you collecting that information or insight?
  • Have you secured contracts/funding to deliver your work? Is your product developed?
  • Have you secured any key partnerships or started building a team of staff, volunteers or your governance structure?
  • Where you deliver/will be delivering your service or creating your product
  • Who you need to be in contact with to make your idea a reality?
  • What resources have you identified that you will need – these could be physical, human and financial

We don’t expect you to have all the answers yet, so do indicate if you would like some support from us in certain areas. It may be that you have developed informal ways of understanding your impact but you would like help to develop a more robust method of measurement, or that you need to develop your board in order to strengthen your position to grow the organisation. These are just examples but please do include any thoughts you have had about where you might want support around growing your impact.

How will you continue to make a difference? Evidence of trading income as well as grants. What are you selling and to who? How do you know that they will pay?

Tell us about any work or sales you have secured that give you the confidence that this will be a viable social business. Again, we don’t expect you to have all the answers yet, so do indicate if you would like some support from us.

How many unique individuals have directly benefited from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the last 12 months?

We would like to know how many unique individuals your venture has directly made a positive difference for – by unique individuals we mean that if a person has for example attended three workshops they should only count once. If your venture has not yet benefitted people please enter ‘0’.

How many unique individuals do you expect to benefit from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the next 12 months?

We would also like to know how many unique individuals your venture will benefit in the next 12 months, and as above one individual should only count once in your total.

Please describe the intended impact of your work on the individuals who benefit from it and how long you expect that impact might last:

We would like to understand how your work will make a positive difference to people, and whether you are working with them over a short period of time or over more regular interactions. You may want to consider the following questions in your response:

How do we expect that people benefit from the activities/ products/ services our organisation will provide?

How often do we anticipate people will engage with our work (for example once in a workshop, or through daily or weekly interactions)?

Please add the total amount you would like to apply for from UnLtd:

We can consider requests up to £5,000 for ideas or early-stage ventures trading for less than 12 months. For established organisations trading for over a year you can apply for up to £15,000.

If you are ready, please add a breakdown of the total budget including the top level costs you would like the award to cover.

We would like to understand what your venture costs are. We will discuss your budget with you in more detail as your application progresses.

We can consider all costs relating to establishing or growing a venture which could include things like:

  • Company formation and registration fees
  • Insurance
  • Enhanced disclosures and other safeguarding costs
  • IT costs
  • Printing, advertising, and publicity
  • Venue and equipment hire
  • Materials
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Volunteer expenses
  • Mentoring and support
  • If you have an established organisation that has been trading for over a year, you can apply for living costs

Please note that the following expenses will not be considered:

  • Funding activities outside the law, against public policy or anything that fosters ethnic, religious, or commercial disharmony
  • Funding to undertake formal qualifications (but can be used to provide short term training if critical to success of the venture)
  • Funding to employ others to undertake the bulk of the Award activity

I've been trading for more than 1 year

My venture is incorporated as a: Select the correct option. If your organisation is incorporated under more than one structure (e.g. if you have a charity foundation and a trading arm) then select the option for which the majority of your trading income comes through.

...and was incorporated on: Enter the exact date of incorporation (this can be found on your certificate of incorporation, or on Companies House) and your company or charity number.

Enter your last 12 months’ turnover and your projected 12 months’ turnover. This gives us an idea about the size of your venture and the potential for growth.

If you have further financial documents, such as a profit and loss, cash flow or budget, to submit as part of your application then you can use the upload button to add them to your application. Please note that to assess your application we will require this information.

Of your last 12 months turnover, what percentage is from traded income? You are given a drop-down list of percentages ranging from:

  • Less than 20%
  • Between 20 and 50%
  • Between 51 and 80%
  • Over 80%

As accurately as possible please indicate what percentage of this income is gained through trading. By “trading” we mean the sales of products, goods, or services. It may include rental income and housing benefit. It includes the sale of donated goods. Trading might be direct sales, such as the sale of food, clothing, tickets, classes, workshops, etc. It might be a contract for delivery of services to other organisations including contracts delivered through local authorities or public bodies.

For the purposes of our support, you may consider Service Level Agreements or similar arrangements with public authorities, which are specifically for the delivery of a specific project and when they require the delivery of specific results i.e. completion of training, getting into a job etc, as trading income.

How are you currently tackling the social/environmental problem that you have identified or how do you plan to do so in the future? We would like to know about your current activities and what you have achieved so far. This may include:

Details about your activities, where you operate and who you work with

Social impact that you have created so far and how you measure it. We recommend where available that you provide both quantitative and qualitative data. This means both statistics you might have relating to your impact (number of people into training, education or employment, tonnes of waste saved from landfill for example) and some explanation as to why it’s important for people or the planet. You may want to think about shorter and longer term changes as a result of your work, often described as outputs and outcomes

If you are pivoting your work to increase your impact please describe the reason for the changes. You also have an option to upload supporting documents such as an impact report or theory of change. You do not need to upload any documents if you feel the text is enough to demonstrate your outputs and outcomes

How many unique individuals have directly benefited from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the last 12 months?

We would like to know how many unique individuals your venture has directly made a positive difference for – by unique individuals we mean that if a person has for example attended three workshops they should only count once.

How many unique individuals do you expect to benefit from the products, services, or interventions offered by your social venture in the next 12 months?

We would also like to know how many unique individuals your venture will benefit in the next 12 months, and as above one individual should only count once in your total.

Please describe the intended impact of your work on the individuals who benefit from it and how long you expect that impact might last:

We would like to understand how your work will make a positive difference to people, and whether you are working with them over a short period of time or over more regular interactions. You may want to consider the following questions in your response:

PHow do we expect that people benefit from the activities/ products/ services our organisation will provide?

How often do we anticipate people will engage with our work (for example once in a workshop, or through daily or weekly interactions)?

Please add the total amount you would like to apply for from UnLtd:

We can consider requests up to £5,000 for ideas or early-stage ventures trading for less than 12 months. For established organisations trading for over a year you can apply for up to £15,000.

If you are ready, please add a breakdown of the total budget including the top level costs you would like the award to cover.

We would like to understand what your venture costs are. We will discuss your budget with you in more detail as your application progresses.

We can consider all costs relating to establishing or growing a venture which could include things like:

  • Company formation and registration fees
  • Insurance
  • Enhanced disclosures and other safeguarding costs
  • IT costs
  • Printing, advertising, and publicity
  • Venue and equipment hire
  • Materials
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Volunteer expenses
  • Mentoring and support
  • If you have an established organisation that has been trading for over a year, you can apply for living costs

Please note that the following expenses will not be considered:

  • Funding activities outside the law, against public policy or anything that fosters ethnic, religious, or commercial disharmony
  • Funding to undertake formal qualifications (but can be used to provide short term training if critical to success of the venture)
  • Funding to employ others to undertake the bulk of the Award activity

#6. Equal Opportunities

UnLtd is proud of our commitments to supporting individuals from all backgrounds to reflect the diverse communities that we serve.

Our ambition is for 50% of the Awards that we make to go to people who are either:

  • Black, Asian, or from a minority ethnic group
  • Disabled

Having equal opportunities data enables us to spot where we aren’t doing enough to ensure our support is truly inclusive for everyone. Through our commitment to continuous learning, we proactively use this to drive improvements in our support. We know that some of these questions are very personal. Information provided in your application will be used to ensure that our processes are fair and transparent. We want to assure all applicants that no equal opportunities information will be published or used in any way which allows any individual to be identified.

#7. References

Please provide details of two people who we can contact to provide a reference for you. They should have known you for a minimum of six months and should be aware of your plans for your idea/venture. At least one of these two individuals should know you in a professional capacity (such as an employer, teacher, colleague) the second can include a character/ personal referee.

If you've got any feedback on this guidance please e-mail Louise at louisecannon@unltd.org.uk

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