Introducing our new Thrive Access to Employment 2020 cohort

Thrive is our social accelerator helping ambitious social ventures to scale their business and their impact.

Thrive in Employment focuses on improving employment opportunities for those distant from the labour market. Back in January 2020, the outlook was positive, with UK statistics showing a steady drop in unemployment. However, the post-Covid-19 surge in unemployment rates will make things even harder for the jobseekers most distant to the labour market.

Thrive in Employment is being co-funded by four expert partners, who all share UnLtd’s vision - that social ventures can offer effective solutions to improving employment opportunities for those with complex lives or additional support needs. A huge thank you to UBS, Thirty Percy, City & Guilds and the disability charity, Scope.

We are proud to present the 18 ventures of the Thrive in Employment programme cohort for 2020. Below you can read short summaries of these incredible organisations, all of whom have the potential and aspiration to scale up while fundamentally changing society for the better.


  • Cafe Leep is a community cafe in Leeds, providing training placements to adults with learning disabilities, and supporting them to gain catering qualifications and find work.
  • CodeYourFuture supports refugees and other disadvantaged groups dreaming of becoming software developers, by training them and supporting them to find employment. They currently work in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Rome with plans to expand to Colombia and South Africa.
  • Diversity and Ability is a disabled-led organisation paving the way for a future where everyone is welcomed and included. Most of their work is through Assistive Technology training for students and workers and supporting organisations to become more disability friendly.  
  • Lily's Social Kitchen employs and offers opportunities for people who face barriers to employment, primarily those with learning disabilities and/or autism, through their cafes and catering business.
  • Media Savvy CIC provide sessions and courses focussing on Digital Arts, Media & ICT, or Health, Fitness & Wellbeing to some of the most marginalised groups and individuals from their local communities.
  • OBM ONELAB CIC transforms the lives of young people with special needs and disabilities from low socio-economic backgrounds by finding their voices through fashion entrepreneurship and clear progressions to paid employment within the creative industry.
  • Page & Bloom is an alternative florist, selling handmade paper flowers for weddings and events. They employ women who have experienced domestic abuse, providing them with an income while helping build skills for future careers.
  • People Matters is committed to improving the lives of people who experience disadvantage, especially through learning and other disabilities. They support people into employment through training, qualifications and in their own social enterprises.
  • Second Shot Coffee is the specialty coffee brand bringing people together by tackling homelessness, one espresso at a time. They train, employ, and support people affected by homelessness helping them get from where they are to where they deserve to be.
  • Tap Social Movement is a craft brewery and hospitality business, creating training and employment opportunities for ex-offenders because they believe everyone benefits when no-one is excluded from the job market.
  • TechPixies is an online learning platform for women who want to return to work, change careers or start a business. They have online courses in Social Media, WordPress, and MailChimp.
  • The Ability People is a disabled-led social enterprise dedicated to empowering people with disabilities. They help companies enhance processes and adapt cultures, transforming professional lives and building better brands.
  • The Articulate Hub works with young people who are most at risk, seeking asylum, or living in poverty. Through their creative industries access, participation and employability projects, they improve the aspirations and wellbeing of young people of all backgrounds.
  • The Intrapreneurs Club’s mission is to create high performing and diverse tech teams. They do this by bringing together groups of exceptional people, at all levels, to learn, achieve ambitious career goals and connect with new opportunities.
  • The New Leaf Initiative are Prison to Employment Specialists operating in the West Midlands. They support people with convictions into work via a pathway of person-centred support and mentoring, access to education and vocational training, a weekly drop-in, mindset courses and the development of innovative employment pathways and solutions.
  • The Right Key Recovery Centre is based in Loughbrickland, Northern Ireland. They use music for recovery within addiction, mental health and the Criminal Justice System. They provide rehab, recovery, training and employment through a range of micro social enterprises.
  • Ways into Work is a majority employee-owned, Community Interest Company delivering supported employment services in South East England. Inspiring and supporting the business community to realise a society where equal opportunities and life chances exist for everyone.
  • Woodshed Workshop provides wood-working, trade and employability skills to people whose opportunities are limited as a result of mental and physical disabilities or their socio-economic circumstances. They create quality wood furniture and products through innovative use of reclaimed, recycled, reused, new ethically locally sourced wood.


For further information on these ventures, please read the Thrive in Employment 2020 booklet here.

If you would like to support any of these fantastic ventures, we would love for you to spread the word; utilise your networks; offer mentoring; invest in them; or contract them. To enquire about offering your support, please email

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