UnLtd launches new strategy during Global Entrepreneurship Week

UnLtd – one of the leading support providers to social entrepreneurs in the UK – has launched a new strategy with the aim of taking social entrepreneurship into the mainstream during Global Entrepreneurship Week

At the first event as part of its Do It For Real initiative, which is focussed on supporting entrepreneurs aged 11 to 30, CEO of UnLtd Cliff Prior said: “At the moment there are tens of thousands of people starting something social every year in the UK – and that’s fantastic. 

“But at the moment it is unlikely that the general public really understand what you’re trying to do. If you’re starting something social you need supporters – staff, volunteers, customers, investors, accountants, lawyers. If they don’t understand what you’re trying to do it’s going to be a really hard job.”

UnLtd was set up in 2002 after successfully bidding for an endowment of £100m from the Millennium Commission. It published research recently that revealed 87% of entrepreneurs running a social venture felt social entrepreneurship needs to be better understood by the public. 

A tweet containing this statistic posted on the Pioneers Post Twitter account has been retweeted almost 700 times by users from all over the world, indicating the frustration felt about this lack of recognition. 

UnLtd’s Going Mainstream strategy identifies five key challenges for social entrepreneurs that need to be addressed and will be the focus of the organisation going forward:

  1. Finding sustainable revenue streams
  2. Making a living from a social venture
  3. Finding routes to sell in to the public sector
  4. Getting access to the right kind of finance
  5. Getting access to the right talent and skills

The Do It For Real initiative will play an important role in realising the aims of the strategy. Those selected to take part in this programme will receive a package of support including finance, expert help, mentoring, networking and access to pro bono advice. 

Joining Prior at the first Do It For Real event was Steffan Lemke-Elms, founder of Festival Reboot, which recycles wellies abandoned at the world-renowned Glastonbury festival. He told aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience that having received support from UnLtd last year he is to make the full time leap into self employment so that he can focus on developing his social venture. 

Providing the evening's entertainment was artist Ato Alexander, who is developing a social enterprise that gives aspiring musicians and singers from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to showcase their talent. 

The positivity and enthusiasm from attendees was more palpable than at other recent events in the social enterprise and social investment sphere; mixing up seasoned regulars with these energetic individuals looking for a break certainly made for an intoxicating atmosphere.


Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center