UnLtd launches Thrive – access to employment, offering expert support  for ambitious ventures looking to grow

UnLtd launches Thrive – access to employment, offering expert support for ambitious ventures looking to grow

Thrive is our new social accelerator and will offer ambitious social ventures six-months of intensive support. Thrive is initially open to ventures with the potential to grow and who are working to improve access to employment.

Built on the success of the Big Venture Challenge, Thrive’s accelerator support will involve a specialist Venture Manager working directly with ventures to cover business and financial modelling, operations; governance and impact measurement.

Thrive is being co-funded by three expert partners who will each help develop a cohort of social ventures:

  • Building on the impact of Hackney Connect, UBS, the global financial services firm, are funding four social ventures hoping to improve access to employment in East London as part of East End Connect
  • Scope, are funding eight ventures to improve employment opportunities for disabled people as part of their ambitious and innovative new strategy to tackle the disability employment gap;
  • A further eight ventures are being funded by a private family foundation.

The fund will offer repayable finance which will be relatively flexible and based upon the needs and plans of each social venture to facilitate growth. Investment will be offered directly after six months of in-depth accelerator support when the ventures have built up their financial health and operational capacity.

The decision on who to fund, how much and what terms will be made by the investment panel and ventures team. The investment panel will include partners, funders and other key stakeholders. The amount will vary between £25,000 and £50,000.

Where possible, this capital will be used to leverage in further external investment. We plan to establish this an evergreen fund to deliver on-going capital for social ventures delivering impact.

Mark Norbury, UnLtd CEO said: “Access to meaningful employment is a vital part of our society becoming fairer and more dynamic. Social ventures have shown that they are ideally placed to offer innovative and effective employment solutions. Thrive’s distinctive blend of tailored expertise and affordable finance will help these ventures maiximise their potential social impact. We will combine this impact with our partners’ expertise and influence, research, policy work and campaigns to bring about systemic change.”

Nick Wright, Head of Community Affairs, EMEA at UBS, said: “For early stage social enterprises securing financial investment can be a barrier to growth and achieving scale.  Through holistic accelerator programmes such as these that incorporate training, mentorship and funding support provided by UnLtd these ventures are given the opportunity to thrive and ultimately deliver greater impact.”

Mark Atkinson, Chief Executive of Scope, said: “Finding new innovative ways to get things done is at the heart of Scope’s radical new strategy. The fact that there are still one million disabled people in Britain who can and want to work but who are being shut out of the workplace because of barriers in the workplace and negative attitudes shows that old approaches to employment just aren’t working. That’s why we’re delighted to support new approaches to tackle the issue and ensure that disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

Applications to Thrive are now open. 


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