For some people in our society gaining employment seems an unachievable task. This may be because they have made mistakes in their lives which has lead them to have a criminal conviction;. have a health condition which means that they struggle with nine to five employment; have life challenges which means they need additional support; or are disabled. There are many more reasons why people become locked out of work.
At UnLtd we recognise that many social ventures are leading the way in helping them gain employment. This may be through skills and training, or directly providing jobs . They are creating the most innovative approaches to help ensure there are opportunities for everyone. .
We created Thrive Access to Employment accelerator to help these ventures scale up so that they can do more of the amazing work that they do and help more people. If you are improving employment opportunities then Thrive support may be the right thing for you.
Here are a few things about the programme that you do need to know before applying for the support:
1. The support plan is completely developed around you and your venture: there is nothing generic about what we do. We talk to you about you and your bespoke needs to get you through to the next stage of growth and then look at how best to support you.
This support is delivered through Venture Managers, consultants who are specialists in their fields, and our pro-bono team who offer an amazing mix of legal, financial, marketing and comms, coaching, mentoring, training and any other ask we put to them.
2. We have an investment pot of up to £50,000 repayable finance on the programme. It is not a compulsory element of the programme, only 50% of ventures will apply for it, because the support given on the programme is the key part of participating in Thrive. We don’t expect investment to be right for everyone, and a lot of ventures benefit hugely from the Thrive support without taking on the investment opportunity. However, if you are in the right position to take on investment, it can help help with your growth plans.
3. We bring all on the accelerator together. There will be some travelling to meet each other, and some online meetings, including webinars, involved. This is an exciting opportunity to learn from other people across the country working in a similar field and share experiences.
4. Time commitment. You may wonder how many times you have to see your Venture Manager. This is an intensive 6 months, and the Venture Managers will see you once a month. You might also have some time with a specialist consultant, and you need to set time aside in your diary to start to focus on growth. If you are unable to free yourself out of the day to day activities of the week you may struggle to allocate time, so my advice is to really think about whether you are in the right place now to grow, or should you wait another year when you have more staff/ free time to look at growth plans.
5. Should I apply? Read the criteria first (scroll to the end of the page) and then have a chat with us if it still isn’t clear. You can always get in touch to discuss your application.
If you are right and it feels right, then go for it!
The deadline is 14th February at midnight.
I have been in the sunny world of the voluntary sector for years, in lots of different roles from senior manager to CEO. I have set up a few social enterprises along the way and been very involved in the social investment world. I lead the A2E Thrive accelerator programme at UnLtd working with amazing social ventures creating innovative solutions to help the most hardest to reach people back in to employment.
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