WE’RE WORKING TO UNDERSTAND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

AND HOW BEST TO SUPPORT IT

We’re constantly striving to understand how our work impacts social entrepreneurs. We use this knowledge to create new ideas for how we work, advise others on their impact and contribute to the support eco-system.

To see our various publications, expand the links below.

OUR LATEST PUBLICATION

UnLtd Impact Report 2017
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VIEW OUR FINDINGS PAPERS >

Findings 10: Understanding social business models in the employment sector

Jami Dixon explores three common social business models used in the employment sector, and the associated risks and opportunities.

Findings 9: Shining Stars – Social entrepreneurship and place-based change

UnLtd’s Star People programme supports individuals in Big Local areas to develop solutions to need in the places that they live, work and volunteer. We call these individuals social entrepreneurs. Since it was launched in 2011, Star People has sought to show how working with individual social entrepreneurs can positively impact upon place and local areas.

Findings 8: The realities of early-stage social investment

The Big Venture Challenge offers a unique opportunity to understand the realities of social investment, one year on from deals being made. This paper reflects on the experiences of both social entrepreneurs and their investors, and looks at how their relationships work in practice, and the long-term impact on both. We hope these key findings and lessons can make a real contribution to improving the functioning of the social investment market.

Findings 7: Pushing boundaries

A growing number of social entrepreneurs are choosing for-profit legal forms for their social ventures. This report presents findings from research that explored social entrepreneurs’ motivations for setting up their ventures as companies limited by share (CLS), the ways in which they have locked in or demonstrated their social mission within this context, and their

Findings 6: Attracting Early-Stage Social Investment

The Big Venture Challenge offers a rare opportunity to understand the motivations of new investors in social ventures and the issues faced by ambitious social entrepreneurs, by tracking co-investment deals in real time. Its practical approach lends itself to experimentation and learning, through which UnLtd hopes to uncover the key drivers of, and barriers to,

Findings 5: Planning for Scale

The Big Venture Challenge kicked off in September 2011, when 25 social entrepreneurs with high potential to scale were selected from over 600 applicants. This paper shows what the selection panel were looking for: ‘proposition, people, performance and plan’.

Findings 2: Realising Success

What does success for social entrepreneurs look like? How do we work out who has and has not succeeded?

FEATURED FINDINGS REPORT
Featured research report

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VIEW OUR OTHER PUBLICATIONS >

Exploring: Scaling programmes

Exploring: Scaling programmes In our second Explore paper, in partnership with Footprints Africa and GSEN, we consider the key challenges and best practices when supporting social ventures to grow. This research aims to provide social entrepreneurship support organisations and practitioners with a practical understanding of good practice and challenges in setting up scaling programmes. We

Exploring: Social entrepreneurs and failure

Exploring: Social entrepreneurs and failure In the first of our Explore papers we consider what failure really means for social entrepreneurs and if support organisations can do more to support people through failed experiences. In recent years, open discussions about failure in social entrepreneurship have been actively encouraged. In the current framing of failure, it

Purpose, growth and impact: How to lock in your impact

Purpose, growth and impact: How to lock in your impact UnLtd has been testing the value of mission locks for social ventures looking to rapidly expand. Here we share some of the insights from working with our Big Venture Challenge Award Winners. Our accelerator programme Big Venture Challenge (BVC) is coming to an end. Over

From Innovation to Impact: Four years of the Big Venture Challenge

UnLtd’s accelerator programme, Big Venture Challenge, supported 120 social ventures over 4 years. Find out the incredible impact these ventures are creating

Mind the Gap: How the social investment market is failing to support early stage ventures

Mind the Gap! How the social investment market is failing to support early stage ventures Our flagship accelerator programme Big Venture Challenge (BVC) is coming to an end. This week we published two research papers based on our work:    Mind the Gap: Solving the challenges of accessing capital for early stage social ventures   Purpose, Growth,

How corporates can engage with social entrepreneurs – Collaborating to create impact

How corporates can engage with social entrepreneurs – Collaborating to create impact As the leading supporter of social entrepreneurs in the UK, UnLtd has worked with numerous corporates in recent years. We explore the different ways corporates have engaged with social entrepreneurs and sector intermediaries like us, and look at potential models to help corporates

UnLtd and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation – Solutions For An Ageing Society

UnLtd with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, want to launch a new programme which will help deal with the challenges faced by an ageing population whilst harnessing the experience, expertise and creativity of people of all ages, including older people.

New research shows British entrepreneurs’ appetite to run businesses with social purpose

Over one in four people starting their own business is motivated by a social purpose or cause, according to new findings from the National Enterprise Network in partnership with UnLtd.

UnLtd and housing associations are Building Futures

Building Futures: Learning and Impact, reflects on the achievements of UnLtd’s Building Futures programme during its pilot year, in which UnLtd partnered with 15 housing associations across the country as part of its mission to reach out to and enable social entrepreneurs.

Pioneering support for social entrepreneurs in further education

Research findings, revealed in a newly published report by UnLtd’s research team, highlights the role further education colleges can play in building the ecosystem of support for otherwise unsupported social entrepreneurs.

Join the SEE Change

UnLtd’s work in the Higher Education Sector in England is called SEE Change – Social Entrepreneurship in Education. It is a programme of support to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that enables them to rapidly progress their support to social entrepreneurs, and to become stronger ‘social institutions’. Today marks the launch of our 2015 prospectus aimed at UK HEIs, in order to inform them of our work and what we can offer.

Boosting Investment In Peer-To-Peer Support For Social Entrepreneurs In The UK

Peer support networks help social entrepreneurs problem solve, test ideas, share skills and support each other. That’s according to nearly seven in ten (69%) social entrepreneurs who have taken part in Spark, UnLtd’s peer support programme since its launch in 2013.

Report reveals UnLtd’s Impact in 2014

Report reveals UnLtd’s Impact in 2014 In 2014 UnLtd gave out a total of £6.1 million to 1,744 social entrepreneurs and offered £1.4 million in pro-bono support and resources, according to the UnLtd Impact Report 2014. The UnLtd Impact Report is a comprehensive overview of our performance and impact in the 2013-2014 financial year. More

Supporting Social Entrepreneurship in the Higher Education Sector

Supporting Social Entrepreneurship in the Higher Education Sector The HE Support Programme, which ran between 2012 and 2013, saw a third of the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England find, fund and support their staff, students and recent graduates to become social entrepreneurs. They did this with the support of UnLtd. This work followed on

Profit with Purpose Businesses

Report of the Mission Alignment Working Group of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8

Evolving the new awards : An evaluation of UnLtd’s Awards Products

Evolving the new awards : An evaluation of UnLtd’s Awards Products Four new Awards introduced by UnLtd last year are meeting the needs of social entrepreneurs, according to an independent report published today. The report by Renaisi, ‘Evolving the new awards – an evaluation of UnLtd’s award products’, finds that the Try It, Do It,

Evaluation of the Higher Education Support Programme: Final Report Part Two: Developing the social entrepreneurial capacity of staff, students and graduates

Evaluation of the Higher Education Support Programme Final Report Part Two: Developing the social entrepreneurial capacity of staff, students and graduates In the HE Support Programme UnLtd partnered with 56 HEIs to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs in their institution. An evaluation of the programme has been split into two reports. This second report

Building a social investment pipeline

Between 2011 and 2013, UnLtd observed changes in the numbers and demographics of people applying to the Big Venture Challenge, its investment readiness programme. This comes amid growing debate about why the sector struggles to find social entrepreneurs to take on the growing pool of social investment. As this debate continues, we are exploring the sources and flows of investments for the Big Venture Challenge (the investment pipeline) and its applicant pool.

Evaluation of the Higher Education Support Programme: Final report part 1, building HEI capacity

Evaluation of the Higher Education Support Programme: Final report part 1, building HEI capacity In the HE Support Programme UnLtd partnered with 56 HEIs to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs in their institution. An evaluation of the programme has been split into two reports. This first report focuses on capacity and culture developed at

More young entrepreneurs are starting up in business

More young entrepreneurs are starting up in business Young entrepreneurs are increasingly defying the tough economic climate and overcoming their fear of failure to start their own businesses. Over the past year there has been a significant rise in the number of young people in the process of setting up a business, according to the

RBS Enterprise Tracker

The way in which budding entrepreneurs are thinking about business is changing. The latest findings from the quarterly RBS Enterprise Tracker, in association with UnLtd, show there is a growing appetite for social enterprise amongst burgeoning entrepreneurs, with a fifth (19%) of people aiming to start up their own business and a higher proportion (22%)

How can we unlock local people’s potential to tackle local problems?

HOW CAN WE UNLOCK LOCAL PEOPLE’S POTENTIAL TO TACKLE LOCAL PROBLEMS? The Bradford Social Future Awards sought local people with an entrepreneurial solution to a current social problem. With public services being reformed to diversify supply, acquire greater powers from central government and engage local communities in their running, can more be done to unlock

“I Can Do Anything If I Can Do This”

Live UnLtd supports young people who want to start projects to make a change. It aims to give those aged 11-21 their first taste of leading a social venture. These reports describe what happens when we support these young people as they set up their ventures. They explore the economic and social impact of these

UnLtd Recommends, YSE Learning By Doing Policy

Findings Paper 3 generated several policy recommendations, set out in Young Social Entrepreneurship: A Vehicle for Skills and Social Development.

Sport Relief Make It Happen Research

Between 2009 and 2011, UnLtd supported over 300 young people to use sport and recreational activities to tackle issues of conflict resolution and community cohesion. A youth-led research project was set up to explore the impact of the scheme on young people and their communities.

Focus On… Survival of UnLtd’s Award Winners’ Ventures

After receiving an UnLtd Award, for how long do Award Winners’ ventures stay active? Our ‘Focus on…’ paper summarises the key findings from Durham University’s work and next steps for UnLtd.

UnLtd Engage: Interim Report

The Interim evaluation for the 2 year Engage programme which focuses on the support needs and support benefits of social entrepreneurs running ventures which address ageing issues.

BVC Baseline Report

UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge aims to support 25 social entrepreneurs to scale up their ventures and their impact rapidly. The programme is being evaluated over its three year duration by UnLtd Research. This first report sets out baseline findings of the Big Venture Challenge evaluation.

The Confidence Curve

Young people can lead initiatives to create social change – they just need the right tools, structures and resources. The Confidence Curve describes UnLtd’s learning from four years of working with Comic Relief to support young social entrepreneurs. It shows how support can be set up so that young people can really own social change.

Spaces 4 Change: Final Evaluation

Spaces 4 Change was funded by Channel 4 and supported social entrepreneurs to start and run social ventures that unlock unused or under-utilised spaces for young people aged 16-25. The evaluation shows how the awards were used to reinvigorate community spaces, giving young people ownership and control.

NOMS: Innovation Fund Evaluation Report

From 2011-12, UnLtd ran a programme with young people who had recently left youth custody or were at risk of offending. This final evaluation report explores the achievements, challenges and lessons learned through the scheme.

New Cross Gate: Supporting social entrepreneurs in a multiply deprived environment

UnLtd delivered a series of awards in New Cross Gate, a vulnerable community in South East London, between 2005 and 2008. The evaluation used innovative research methods, such as video letter exchanges between social entrepreneurs, to explore the programme and lessons learned.

Unlocking the potential of social entrepreneurship in Higher Education

Unlocking the potential of social entrepreneurship in Higher Education Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, UnLtd made awards to 200 staff and students in English Higher Education Institutions between 2009 and 2011. This final evaluation report explores how far the programme was able to help embed a culture of social entrepreneurship in

Sport Relief: Final Evaluation

UnLtd’s first programme in partnership with Sport Relief ran from 2007 to 2009. This final evaluation shows how time-bound, ‘big bang’ projects can help young people to get an experience of social entrepreneurship that helps them learn, while fitting around their other commitments, such as school.

UnLtd Engage: Social Ventures for Later Life Evaluation report

The two year Engage programme (April 2010 – April 2012) supported a cohort of 30 social entrepreneurs to start up, and four to scale up, ventures which address issues arising from a society which is living longer. The programme has demonstrated that social entrepreneurship can build much needed capacity for supporting the needs of older

FEATURED EVALUATION REPORT
Research documents

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