As we near 2020, Parliamentary candidates and their parties are trying to convince that they have the ideas to make our next decade start better than this one is ending. However, many of the electorate they speak to will know there is a vital source of solutions still waiting to be untapped.
1 in 10 UK adults have had an idea for a social venture, but have not yet set it up, according to a representative poll run independently for UnLtd last month by Populus. This suggests that around 5.2 million ventures could be started in the UK that would generate income whilst delivering a social and/or environmental benefit.
The benefits of starting up so many social ventures would go way beyond addressing Britain’s stagnating economy, but let’s start with the cold-hearted business case. The median annual turnover generated by a social venture that has operated for 6-10 years is around £140,000.
In theory, if an extra 5.2 million social ventures started-up as the next decade begins, up to £700 billion in income per annum could be generated by 2030. In reality of course, this kind of economic benefit would not be realised unless UnLtd, Parliament and others work together to address the barriers that block people from starting and growing a social venture, but so much could be untapped if these barriers – such as lack of funding and support – are overcome.
What really sets social ventures apart is the way they innovate new ways to address social and/or environmental concerns. At UnLtd, the social entrepreneurs we’ve funded and supported have achieved impact where no-one else could, from providing access to employment for people locked out of opportunities, to innovating new ways to increase healthy life expectancy. They channel their expertise of a social issue – sometimes based on their own lived experience – to achieve change in their communities and beyond.
This year, the social entrepreneurs we funded benefited 333,000 people. That’s 727 beneficiaries on average per social venture. If we managed to support 10 per cent of adults in Britain to realise their social entrepreneurial potential, just imagine the positive impact their work could have on members of society who could otherwise be left unreached.
The British public has solutions to offer for the challenges it’s facing, and UnLtd wants to work with the next UK Parliament to untap them. This is why we’re inviting all Parliamentary candidates to email or tweet us using the hashtag #UntapSolutions if they are willing to meet with us after the election to work out what to do.
UnLtd has set-up an easy-to-use campaign page that enables you to ask candidates in your constituency to back this campaign. There, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for each remaining day of the election campaign, you’ll also be able to see and share a selection of fantastic portraits of social entrepreneurs that have been produced for UnLtd by eight neuro-diverse artists with the support of social venture Hart Club.
The artists and the social entrepreneurs are all worthy of great acclaim, so please check out their inspirational work and promote it to Parliamentary candidates in your area. With your help, we can work with the next UK Parliament to #UntapSolutions people have to the social challenges of the next decade. If we can help start and grow more amazing social ventures, we’ll hope to see more social entrepreneurs having portraits made too.
 Poll conducted by Populus for UnLtd. Populus conducted an online sample of 2097 UK adults 18+ between 18th and 19th of November 2019. Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain. Targets for quotas and weights are taken from the National Readership Survey, a random probability F2F survey conducted annually with 34,000 adults. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For further information see http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org/
 Figure calculated by applying the 10% to the size of the UK’s population of adults aged 18 and over. Population calculated by using the 21.3% proportion of under 18s in England and Wales stated in the 2011 Census as an estimate of the equivalent proportion for the UK as a whole in November 2019. This percentage has been deducted from the most recently available UK population estimate provided by the Office for National Statistics in mid-2018. 66.4 million – 21.3% = 52.3 million (52,256,800). 10% of 52.3 million = 5.2 million.
 This figure represents a likely maximum income generated, as some social ventures would take longer to set-up than others, some may not run for a full decade, some would typically earn less by taking on particular social challenges in poorer areas, and there would be an opportunity cost when people leave other professions to become social entrepreneurs, for example.
At UnLtd I influence stakeholder policies to help create a future where enterprising people are transforming our world for good. I’m using my background working for charities, social enterprises and governments across the UK to change policies so it’s easier for people to find the enterprising solutions we need to society’s challenges locally and nationally. We can’t improve policies without you, so please keep an eye on the website for opportunities to get involved.
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