Getting to work: 18 social innovations get accelerator support to Thrive

Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work heralds Thrive accelerator as a chance to make lasting change for UK labour market

Cracked It are the award-winning, social good smartphone screenfixers that find work for young offenders and youth on the verge of crime. They are among the first organisations to receive support from Thrive, our social accelerator. Thrive: Employment, launched earlier this year, is backing 18 ambitious social ventures in 2018 who are improving access to employment for those who find it hardest to get into work. The social entrepreneurs and their ventures backed by Thrive was announced on 10th July at an event in London.

Among the first Thrive ventures are:

Cracked It, from London: More than eight in 10 violent offenders are aged between 16-29 and these people are four times as likely to be a victim of crime. Set up by 24-year-old Josh Babarinde, London’s social enterprise smartphone repair service trains and employs vulnerable young people to work at pop-up repair clinics in the City before supporting them to transition into work in the wider workplace. Named as Social Enterprise of the Year at the Centre for Social Justice Awards earlier this year, Cracked It is being supported by UnLtd to further develop its mission to find work for young offenders and youth on the verge of crime.

Offploy, from West Yorkshire: Offploy is leading a rehabilitation revolution and supports businesses to recruit and mentor people with criminal convictions. Founded by Jacob Hill, an entrepreneur with a criminal conviction himself, Offploy provides support and guidance to both employers and employees through the employment journey. Offploy offers specialist legal advice, HR support, staff training and peer mentoring. The social enterprise is expanding to new regions around the UK and has ambitious plans to work with more people to ensure they face opportunities, not obstacles.

The SAMEE Charity, from Bournemouth: Sam Everard, CEO of The SAMEE Charity, set up the social venture to personally support vulnerable people to creatively develop their ideas and potential. Since launching it has worked with 294 disabled and disadvantaged entrepreneurs. In 2017, it launched the DEBSS (Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service) project as a 12-month test and learn pilot project specifically aimed at providing tailored business start-up support for 50 disabled clients based in Dorset. From its Bournemouth HQ, The Samee Charity now works across Dorset, Devon, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Take a look at the full list of social ventures supported by Thrive in 2018 to see their incredible innovations.

Thrive sees UnLtd teaming up with three expert partners: UBS, the global financial services firm; Scope, the disability charity; and a private family foundation.

Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO said: “The UK employment market doesn’t work for everyone. Particular groups of people with complex lives or additional support needs including disabled people, ex-offenders, and people who are homeless, are let down or left out. We’ve chosen these 18 social entrepreneurs because we believe they have solutions with the potential to create lasting change. We are looking forward to working together to help them thrive.”

Offploy is aiming to help 250 people with criminal convictions into work by July 2019. And while nationally 42.2% of children and young offenders reoffend, of the young offenders Cracked It works with, 80% did not reoffend within six months of completing their training.

Each venture has secured the Thrive package of bespoke consultant-led support, peer-to-peer learning, specialist business advice and the opportunity to access investment. Thrive builds on the learning from UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge programme, which supported 120 ventures to scale up over four years

In addition, there will be the opportunity for many of the ventures to secure repayable finance. Affordable and appropriate investment of up to £50,000 per venture is available, and where possible, this capital may be used to leverage in further external investment.

Sarah Newton, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: “The employment rate has never been higher, but we know more needs to be done to ensure everyone has the same opportunity, no matter what their background, to reach their full potential.

“It’s fantastic seeing these organisations using their expertise and innovative help to support people into employment, especially those with extra barriers to overcome.”

Nick Wright, Head of Community Affairs, EMEA at UBS, said: "UBS is delighted to be supporting the Thrive accelerator programme, working in partnership with UnLtd.  Social enterprises face many barriers to growth, but we believe that the Thrive accelerator will help to overcome such barriers and to scale the impact of some tremendous solutions to complex societal issues."

Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive of Scope, said: “There are a million disabled people in the UK who can and want to work, but face an unnecessary struggle to get into and stay in employment. The entrepreneurs we’ve chosen to support embody the ambition, creativity and innovation that our labour market needs to tackle this injustice. We’re looking forward to working with them and our partners at UnLtd to ensure disabled people can have the same opportunity to thrive in work as anyone else.”

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Author Info


Paul Drury-BradeyMedia & Campaigns Manager

I trained as a journalist, and spent the first part of my career working for local newspapers in the north of England. I moved to London in 2007 to start working in culture communications. This role led to diverse project for the British Council, and developing creative social impact campaigns for mainstream consumer brands. I joined UnLtd in the summer of 2016. I’m a real ideas person; and love exploring new ways of working at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and social change.

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