Help your venture to Thrive.

Applications are now open for Thrive: Access to employment until 14th February 2019.

Thrive is our new social accelerator helping ambitious social ventures to scale.

We will support over 25 social ventures a year through Thrive. We will support two groups of social ventures developing solutions in two distinct areas:

  • Improving access to employment for those distant from the labour market
  • Developing products and services for an ageing society.

We combine six months of intensive support with the opportunity to secure investment of up to £50,000 for your social venture, either through UnLtd or our partners. This gives you the chance to grow your business, and ultimately deliver greater social impact.

Thrive builds on the learning from our Big Venture Challenge work, which supported 120 social ventures to collectively improve the lives of 1.24 million people in the UK and raise over £13m of investment to grow their businesses.

We know that social ventures face barriers as they look to scale. Our research tells us that the main barriers to growth are: accessing capital, establishing routes to market, finding talent, and measuring impact. We design our support around these, and other, areas that we know are vital to enable growth.

Each venture will get support from a dedicated venture manager (one of our experts in supporting social entrepreneurs to scale their impact and raise investment) as we know this hands-on consultative led approach is vital for ventures as they scale. Alongside this, we provide peer-to-peer networking opportunities, high level connections, and access to appropriate finance. We deliver our support in-house, or where required, bring in external expertise from trusted partners. Our support is tailored, but is built around:

  • Business planning, financial modelling & strategic advice
  • Raising capital
  • Developing routes to market
  • Accessing specialist advice
  • Developing governance
  • Evidencing impact and refining your theory of change.

Tailored support

You will have access to technical business assistance, connections and valuable peer-to-peer learning through UnLtd's expertise or trusted external consultants. We work with a pool of specialist consultants to meet the needs of individual ventures.

Connections and pro-bono support

We provide connections to mentors, coaches and supporters that suit your venture's needs. Our partners include strategy consultancies and PR agencies. You will also have access to Hogan Lovells legal support.

Access to finance

Where appropriate, we will support you prepare for investment, including the opportunity to secure repayable capital of up to £50,000 for your social venture. 

Tackling access to employment

Thrive: access to employment is our accelerator focused on improving employment opportunities for those distant from the labour market.

The steady drop in unemployment is a good news story for the UK. Not only does our economy thrive when more people are earning a living, but not being in work affects peoples’ income, health and happiness. Yet, not everyone with the desire to work is able to gain appropriate, meaningful employment.

Social ventures have innovative ideas for improving access to employment and we want to help them Thrive.

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

All three partners share UnLtd’s belief that social ventures can offer effective solutions to improving employment opportunities for those with complex lives or additional support needs.

  • UBS, funding four ventures hoping to improve access to employment in East London as part of East End Connect

  • Scope, who are funding eight ventures to improve employment opportunities for disabled people

  • Eight ventures building access employment to are being funded by a private family foundation

Apply now

Solutions for an ageing society

Thrive: solutions for an ageing society is our new accelerator supporting people in later life. The programme opens for applications from 30 July and will start in January 2019.

So, why are we launching it now? The UK is undergoing a demographic shift, with far-reaching consequences for society, the economy and public services. A vastly improved life expectancy is one of the great triumphs of the last century, and now presents both challenges and remarkable opportunities. By 2020, 12.5 million people will be over 65 years old, with people over 50 years old making up 47 per cent of the total adult population.

Crucially, living longer needs to go in hand with living well. The Government wants to ensure that by 2035 everyone can enjoy five more years of healthy, independent and active lives. Social entrepreneurs can make this happen.

This requires us all to radically reimagine how people in later life can contribute to their own and the country’s health, connectedness, social and economic wellbeing. Over one million British people in later life say they always or often feel lonely. More than 60 per cent of people in later life agree that age discrimination exists in their daily lives and 76 per cent feel that the country fails to make good use of their skills and talents.

Social entrepreneurs can offer innovative and inclusive solutions that contribute to aging well. We are looking for social ventures working to improve outcomes for our ageing society around independence, connectedness and health & wellbeing. We also interested in ventures having a positive impact directly for carers and the care system.

We know that social ventures have brilliant solutions to help support people in later life and we want to help them thrive.

Applications now closed


For solutions for an ageing society

  • Based in and delivering impact in the UK
  • Focused on solutions for an ageing society around independence, connectedness, health and wellbeing or carers/the care system
  • A social purpose organisation with a commitment to delivering social impact in this area
  • Have a trading and social impact track record of between 2 – 6 years
  • Any legal incorporated limited liability form. Companies Limited by Share will need to have clear mission lock in place or be open to including one as part of the programme.

For access to employment

You must be:

  • Based in the UK
  • Have a trading and social impact track record.

You must be working to increase access to employment and operating with any of the following:

  • School leavers and apprenticeships
  • Higher and further education
  • Unemployment and underemployment
  • Supporting those distant from the labour market

Legal structure

We are agnostic on legal structure, however, companies limited by shares must be committed to embedding an appropriate social mission lock, with our support, during the programme.

You can find out more about our work with social mission locks in our Spotlight paper Profit, Purpose, Impact: Mission locks insights from practice.

Apply for our support

Does your social venture have the ambition, ideas and passion to take impact to the next level? Apply today.

For more information on applying and to find out whether the support offer is right for you, get in touch with the Thrive team at UnLtd.

Solutions for an ageing society

Applications close 28 September with the programme starting in December.

Access to employment

Applications open 1st October 2018, expression of interest deadline 14th February 2019, application deadline 28th February 2019

Submit your application

Meet the Thrive social entrepreneurs

In 2018, Thrive: Employment backed 18 social entrepreneurs to tackle issues relating to access to employment. Find out about the social entrepreneurs and their ventures.

Thrive: Employment 2018

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