Six of the best: Looking back on a year of big social impact

Six of the best: Looking back on a year of big social impact

It’s that time of the year again, when we like to take a look back at some of the more interesting and innovative stories published on our website in the last 12 months.

We celebrated Hackney social entrepreneurs

From 2014 to 2017 we were privileged enough to be able support some great social entrepreneurs working in the London Borough of Hackney, thanks to funding from UBS. Last February, we celebrated their achievements at an event at UBS’ London office.

Hackney Connect supported 45 social entrepreneurs to improve the lives of more than 2000 people in Hackney.

Read more: Hackney Connected

We got curious

From Exploring Failure to locking in impact, we shared some of the things we’ve learned in 2017.

In early May following the end of our Big Venture Challenge accelerator, we shared our insights on the social investment market based on our experiences of working with 120 social ventures over four years.

We followed this by sharing what we learned from supporting social entrepreneurs to use mission locks to secure their social impact for the long term.

Our Exploring Failure paper in August, co-authored by UnLtd and researcher Roxanne Persaud, considered what failure really meant for social entrepreneurs.

Launching Transform Ageing

In the spring time, we launched Transform Ageing –  a collaborative approach to inspire innovation in the health, wellbeing and social care sectors to achieve better outcomes for people in later life. 

We partnered with the Design Council, the South West Academic Health Science Network and the Centre for Ageing Better, and are funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

The launch saw us support Design Council to run a series of events around south-west England, and work with people to design innovation briefs that directly responded to some of the most pressing social problems for people in later life.

The programme saw a fantastic response from social ventures throughout the UK when we opened up applications too. Brilliant to work with partners to innovate and deliver systemic change.

Forming the Inclusive Economy Partnership

In September, we started work in a new partnership that brought together government, business and civil society organisations. UnLtd plays a key role in the Inclusive Economy Partnership Champions Group.

Together, we play a key role in tackling some of ten most pressing social challenges facing the UK. It bringhs together some of the most influential voices from the worlds of business and vicil society.

It is focused on:

  • Transition to work: Young people in the UK are over 2.5 times less likely to be employed than the average for the working age population
  • Financial Inclusion and Capability: 10 million working people who are financially struggling or lack access to affordable and high quality financial services
  • Mental Health: One of the largest public health challenges facing the UK – one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Unequalled support: Launching the UnLtd Impact Fund

In November we launched the UnLtd Impact Fund, to address one the key challenges for early stage social ventures: getting to access to capital, specifically the “missing middle” of financial support for social ventures looking to grow.

The UnLtd Impact Fund will provide expert support and appropriate finance to social ventures

The Impact Fund will deliver large-scale social impact, initially focused on creating jobs and employment opportunities.

We were delighted with the response from social ventures in and around our sector – read more about the Impact Fund.

A new way to explore Spaces4Change

November saw UnLtd debut a new way to inspire social entrepreneurs of the future – the Spaces4Change Explore day.

This saw UnLtd lead a group of young social entrepreneurs on a tour of some of East London’s most remarkable examples of community change.

2018 is set to be just as busy as our social entrepreneurs continue to come up with innovative ways of improving people’s lives and communities across the UK.



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