UnLtd awards £1 million to support social impact

In the last 18 months UnLtd has awarded £1million from its Impact Fund to a range of social entrepreneurs to help them grow their social-purpose businesses and create greater impact.

A tea company that employs and trains refugees, a chocolate manufacturer that employs people with autism, and a fashion house that support migrants are just a handful of the social-purpose businesses to receive funding and support from the UnLtd Impact Fund.

It was set up in November 2017 and offers a blend of loan and grant investment of between £50,000 and £150,000 alongside expert business support from UnLtd, to help businesses to grow and achieve a greater impact.

Funding and support from the Impact Fund are specifically for businesses working to try and provide more jobs and training opportunities for people furthest from the labour market, such as disabled people, young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, migrants, refugees, or people with long-term health conditions.

UnLtd has been able to make these awards thanks to The Growth Fund, an initiative that aims to increase the supply of loans available for charities and social-purpose business, which is managed by Access, with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital.

David Bartram, Director of Ventures at UnLtd, said: “It’s fantastic to hit that £1 million mark after just 18 months. We know that social entrepreneurs face real challenges in accessing this level of funding and support, so the Impact Fund has been specifically designed to address this social investment gap, supporting those that are ready to increase their capacity to achieve greater impact.

“UnLtd has always played an important role in funding social entrepreneurs’ ideas and development, but the Impact Fund enables us to provide the type of capital we know so many entrepreneurs need.”

Some of the social purpose businesses to receive support through UnLtd’s Impact Fund include Nemi Teas, a London-based specialist tea company that trains and employs refugees.

Pranav Chopra, founder and CEO of Nemi Teas said: “Since raising the funding we’ve been able to recruit more refugees, and we have invested in them in terms of training… The post-investment support has been amazing, that’s something that is a massive add-on compared to other funders.”

Other social-purpose businesses to receive support through the Impact Fund include:

Harry Specters – the Cambridge-based chocolate company employs young people with autism. They have used their investment to employ a Marketing Manager and purchase new machinery for chocolate-making.

My Support Broker – employs people across the country with long-term health conditions to deliver support planning and brokerage services to Councils and the NHS. My Support Broker have used their investment for working capital to alleviate cashflow challenges due to contract payment terms. 

Birdsong – London based fashion brand which supports migrant women facing challenges to employment to create ethical clothing. Birdsong are using their investment to build their website and execute an e-commerce strategy.

Over the next year UnLtd plans to provide more funding and support through the Impact Fund to help even more ventures to grow and scale their impact. People interested in finding out more about how the Impact Fund could support their business to grow should contact Camilla Elwood at CamillaElwood@unltd.org.uk

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