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Since being founded in 2002, we have helped over 13,000 social entrepreneurs start-up and grow their ventures. Today, we are the UK’s leading supporter of social entrepreneurs.

We cannot provide social entrepreneurs with all the support they need. And we know social entrepreneurs thrive best when part of a large eco-system of support.

Our partners provide funding. They develop skills. And help solve many of the problems social entrepreneurs face. It is important and fulfilling work.

Social entrepreneurs are passionate, driven and their energy is highly infectious. Our partners find that working with social entrepreneurs impacts positively upon the culture within their own organisations. Making their own staff more motivated, focused and productive. And able to achieve their own goals.

 

 

Mentors

Mentors deliver valuable insight and learning to social entrepreneurs.

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Mentoring

Donors

Donors provide much-needed funding direct to social entrepreneurs.

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Donors

 


Partners

Partners provide social entrepreneurs with a wide range of tailored support.

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Partners

Awards

Work with us to delivery Awards for social entrepreneurs.

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Award Winners

Partner with us

Partners provide social entrepreneurs with a wide range of tailored support.

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UnLtd partners celebrating success


 

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Tim is an independent consultant working in the social sector, He was previously Investment Director at Numbers for Good, an organisation aimed at bridging the worlds of finance and social sector and established their North East office, Prior to this he was Acting Director England for the Big Lottery Fund where he was responsible for operational grant delivery and strategic programmes, creating systemic change including building the social investment marketplace.

He was the Big Lottery’s lead for social investment strategy, was responsible for UK wide grant programmes and a grant budget of £750m p.a. with oversight of over 450 people in Birmingham and Newcastle. He has been a key figure in the development of social investment in the UK and holds a number of trustee positions. Based in the North East, he is passionate about supporting social entrepreneurs and enterprises.

 

Trustee test 1

Tim is an independent consultant working in the social sector, He was previously Investment Director at Numbers for Good, an organisation aimed at bridging the worlds of finance and social sector and established their North East office, Prior to this he was Acting Director England for the Big Lottery Fund where he was responsible for operational grant delivery and strategic programmes, creating systemic change including building the social investment marketplace.

He was the Big Lottery’s lead for social investment strategy, was responsible for UK wide grant programmes and a grant budget of £750m p.a. with oversight of over 450 people in Birmingham and Newcastle. He has been a key figure in the development of social investment in the UK and holds a number of trustee positions. Based in the North East, he is passionate about supporting social entrepreneurs and enterprises.


Tim Davies-Pugh

Tim is an independent consultant working in the social sector, He was previously Investment Director at Numbers for Good, an organisation aimed at bridging the worlds of finance and social sector and established their North East office, Prior to this he was Acting Director England for the Big Lottery Fund where he was responsible for operational grant delivery and strategic programmes, creating systemic change including building the social investment marketplace.

He was the Big Lottery’s lead for social investment strategy, was responsible for UK wide grant programmes and a grant budget of £750m p.a. with oversight of over 450 people in Birmingham and Newcastle. He has been a key figure in the development of social investment in the UK and holds a number of trustee positions. Based in the North East, he is passionate about supporting social entrepreneurs and enterprises.

Tim Davies-Pugh

Tim is an independent consultant working in the social sector, He was previously Investment Director at Numbers for Good, an organisation aimed at bridging the worlds of finance and social sector and established their North East office, Prior to this he was Acting Director England for the Big Lottery Fund where he was responsible for operational grant delivery and strategic programmes, creating systemic change including building the social investment marketplace.

He was the Big Lottery’s lead for social investment strategy, was responsible for UK wide grant programmes and a grant budget of £750m p.a. with oversight of over 450 people in Birmingham and Newcastle. He has been a key figure in the development of social investment in the UK and holds a number of trustee positions. Based in the North East, he is passionate about supporting social entrepreneurs and enterprises.


Rachel Barton

Rachel has deep experience delivering customer and digital strategies and transformations for the world’s biggest brands.

Rachel works primarily at board level with her clients as a trusted advisor in driving growth. She represents Accenture UK on the Accenture Global Corporate Citizenship Council, has been widely recognised as a future leader by Accenture and in the marketplace and is a Visiting Lecturer in Marketing Strategy at Cass Business School. Rachel has been a panel judge and is a mentor for an awardee of UnLtd.

Stepehn Bediako

Stephen founded and led The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) as CEO and is now Chair, delivering multi-million pound social impact initiatives for local, regional, and national government and leading corporate institutions supporting over £200m of social spend. In 2011, he set up ‘Project Oracle’, the Children and Youth Evidence Hub.

Stephen is a 2013 American Express Common Purpose Leadership graduate, 2014 Goldman Sachs 10ksb graduate, and a UnLtd 2015 social entrepreneur winner. He is a social entrepreneur with lived experience of starting and exiting social businesses – insight into the marketplace, resourcing and channels to market.


Lynne Berry

Lynne as led many UK charities and not for profits and also several governmental organisations in her career including The Charity Commission, WRVS (now RVS), The General Social Care Council and the Equal Opportunities Commission. She is a highly-experienced CEO and Chair with deep knowledge of our sector, able to navigate regulatory, governmental and funding networks.

Lynne has a track record in leading and supporting boards and CEOs to explore risk and enterprise. She is currently Chair of Breast Cancer Now and the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing, Lynne holds a visiting Professorship in leadership across the not for profit sector at Cass Business School.

Stepehn Bediako

Sue Charteris is the Director of Equalvalue Limited, supporting individual leaders and their organisations to implement change. She is an expert facilitator and accredited leadership coach.

She has over twelve years experience in public service consulting. She is author of the Charteris Report on public libraries and works with local authorities and their partners as they redesign services. Sue was co–founder, Director and Chair of the Shared Intelligence consultancy for ten years, creating imaginative peer support programmes to tackle health and neighbourhood inequalities.

Sue’s earlier career was in community development then local government. She was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Merton and a founding member of Kirklees Council’s Executive Board. She also chaired the Local Government Modernisation Team within central government and was a Senior Associate Fellow at the Local Government Centre, Warwick University Business School. She holds an M.Phil in Critical Management from Lancaster University.

Sue has led the grant making and commissioning strategy for the new Forces in Mind Trust. She was a founder member of the Big Lottery Fund’s England Committee for five years and is a former Chair of Trustees of the Reader Organisation. Sue has met, advised and supported social entrepreneurs within the UK, South Africa and India. Sue lives in London but loves travelling and walking in the hills.

 

 


If you always do, what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”

UnLtd Award Manager Louise Cannon is a Churchill fellow. Here she outlines how social entrepreneurs can unlock systems change and innovation in housing.

In 2016 I published Square Peg in a Round Hole and began a Churchill Fellowship, an initiative which helps citizens from all backgrounds to travel in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of the current challenges facing the UK. From my travels, I noticed an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to apply their entrepreneurial talents in the field of housing. In just one of many examples, a village I visited near Freiburg is pioneering citizen-led green solutions through its built environment: 200% of their electricity needs come from renewable energies financed by private individuals, while a nearby farm has been turned into a biogas plant which heats 14 local apartments and a local school. Could the spaces in the UK equally enable families to contribute to civic society, giving people agency to act?

From this thinking came Building Futures, an UnLtd programme which supported a small number of social entrepreneurs with radical, citizen-led approaches to solving the housing crisis. Social entrepreneurs have been tackling issues around housing for some time, but many were responding to the impact of the market such as dealing with rising homelessness, private rental insecurity and do so in isolation. At the time, there was no specialist support or shared network for the breadth and depth of ideas that I knew were out there. It was an experiment, to test how to surface and support people with ambitious ideas, and to understand the unique challenges to social entrepreneurs operating in this space.

Over the past two years I have developed an interest in systems thinking, complexity, collective impact and design thinking approaches, both through my travels and seeing practice in action here in the UK. I have benefited greatly from the generosity of practitioners who share openly such as CoLab Dudley, Waag, Impact Hub Brum, Dark Matter Labs, Open Systems Lab and Participatory City. These groups are tackling vicious cycles at their root cause and sharing their output openly.  

I have learned that by bringing together a thematically connected group of social entrepreneurs, you can move beyond isolated intervention to collaborative practice. It has shown me the potential to use systems thinking to unlock more ambitious social change through collective impact.

To unleash this potential, we need better support systems for entrepreneurs, platform builders and those exploring alternative financial models that create and share value rather than extract it.

As a sector we must be braver. We need to explore how to back bigger, long-term solutions. This means avoiding falling into the trap of backing hero entrepreneurs with linear solutions, with an unconscious bias for clear metrics. We must become more comfortable with outcomes that are emerging and highly experimental. We need to utilise systems approaches, understanding social problems as deeply connected and highly complex. We must champion networks and collaboration to create the space entrepreneurs need to scale and amplify their impact.

To leave out the ideas, voice and solutions held in the communities in which we work, is to build in dysfunction. So how do we achieve systems change in partnership with social entrepreneurs and in collaboration with others?

Firstly, we need to take some time to understand systems thinking and collective impact. We should worry less about terminology and do more. A linear model of problem solving for simplicity stops us from embracing complexity and leaves room for ‘we tried this before’ ‘this won’t work’ ‘can you simplify this’ responses.

To be able to embrace the potential I have developed a series of underpinning ‘Home Principles’ for housing, but which could shape our approach in tackling other complex and entrenched social issues;  

Practice open architecture: It is important to create spaces, places and processes that are open, accessible and shared. Therefore, easy to understand and question. 

Build capacity: We should recognise our structure and advantage and use our resources to strengthen people and the organisations we work with and their capacity to innovate and influence.

Increase participation and network connectivity: We need a higher level of focus on creating genuine invitations for dialogue and connection. 

Create an opportunity-rich environment: Diversity and inclusion are key.  

Promote access over ownership: Finding ways to give people a stake in the process, outcome, or material good at every opportunity is important. Equally, we must not build in a rhetoric that progress equals physical ownership.    

Chart the course: The use of the commons, shared learning and collaboration which underpin the organisations I mention above demonstrate a pressing urgency to tackle issues of sustainability and future-proofing communities.  They advocate for action now, charting the course, but not sticking to rigidly to it.

Systems thinking is not new, but the application in the social sector is becoming more commonplace and is building our understanding of complex issues. To really leverage this knowledge, I have explored systems practice and new models of housing and innovation in Europe.  As part of the Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship I have released Unlocking systems change and innovation in Housing’ a paper exploring how systems thinking can unlock change and how the social and housing sector need to work to support innovation. I’d like to thank the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Winston Churchill Charitable Foundation and the National Housing Federation for their support and the organisations I visited for their insight and generosity.

 

 

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A podcast for anyone concerned with the big problems facing society, we’re telling the stories of the brilliant entrepreneurs using social purpose business to create solutions.

Are we facing a loneliness epidemic? How can the UK be struggling with both childhood obesity and hunger in our schools? What needs to change to stop knife crime?

We hear from those working on the front line of these issues in How Do You Solve A Problem Like..?, a new fortnightly documentary podcast from UnLtd.

British society is divided, with too many people being left behind and unable to access the services, jobs or opportunities they need. In each episode we feature dedicated and enterprising people who are determined to use their big ideas to meet these challenges in innovative and unusual ways.

Social Entrepreneur in Residence, Milly Chowles travels across the UK, meeting with these leaders of social change who have created ‘business for good’ ventures, working on a local or national scale. Our pod is a dose of optimism for people who believe the answers are out there.

Season 1 tackles five big issues: Loneliness, Youth Violence, Hygiene Poverty, Homelessness and Childhood Health.

Episode 1, Loneliness

How do you talk about tackling loneliness, when the word itself is taboo? Meet two entrepreneurs responding to this issue. Alex Smith, who won the Obama Fellowship Award for civic innovators in 2018 talks about his fight against loneliness and polarisation in the UK. Alex Hoskyn is the creator of Chatty Café, a brand new scheme that has already spread as far as Australia and Gibraltar and has the backing of mega high street chain Costa coffee.

Alex Smith - Cares Family

Alex Smith launched the Cares Family business in 2012 to fight against loneliness and polarisation in the UK, by connecting seniors and young professionals to build new and lasting relationships. In 2018 he won the Obama Fellowship Award for civic innovators, recognising him for working with communities to create transformational change. He is one of only 20 people selected from across the globe to be part of a two-year programme, designed to amplify the impact of their work and inspire a wave of civic innovation.

How You Can Help

  • Donate to The Cares Family – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool
  • Join The Cares Family's gala
  • Complete a challenge for The Cares Family – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool
  • Connect The Cares Family to your employer – in north London, south London, Manchester or Liverpool

Alex Hoskyn - Chatty Cafe

Alex Hoskyn is a part time Social Worker from Oldham. In 2017 she set up The Chatty Café Scheme which encourages cafes and other social settings to designate a Chatter & Natter table. This is where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers. The aims of the scheme are to reduce loneliness and get people chatting.


Milly Chowles

Milly has eight years of professional experience as a radio and podcast producer. She is helping charities communicate more effectively with their supporters, and reach new ones, through bespoke high-quality podcasts. She uses the power of stories and the medium of audio as particularly impactful way to amplify the voices of marginalised people and to challenge stigma – and has started work on an UnLtd podcast.

Anna Markland

Anna is a Venture Manager at UnLtd, leading on the Pioneers Initiative, which explores how social entrepreneurs can go mainstream and make change at a system level. She supports profit-for-purpose businesses to scale their revenue and impact as part of Thrive, our accelerator for those who want to break down barriers to employment or improve wellbeing for people in later life.

Anna’s background is in healthcare consulting at EY, managing innovation funding at the Health Foundation and working directly in social enterprises like the Bromley by Bow Centre.

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