Down Barriers

UnLtd's 2025 ambition
for social entrepreneurs

Photo of three bakers smiling, packing flatbreads for Step and Stone social enterprise.

We are UnLtd. We find social entrepreneurs with bold solutions to today's challenges.

Through funding and support, we help them realise their potential and create lasting change. We have built our understanding, expertise, and impact over 20 years with more than 20,000 social entrepreneurs.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, social entrepreneurs have been at the heart of their communities, making change. They did this while continuing to plan for their own futures and experiencing their own pandemic losses.

A young person cleans soft play equipment, wearing the uniform of Radiant Cleaners, a cleaning social enterprise.

with the help of partners such as the National Lottery Community Fund.

We need

more than ever

A laptop displaying the pink website homepage of Women With Wings Community Interest Company, which features a group photo of Black and Asian women smiling, holding certificates.

Combatting social injustice, inequality and tackling the climate crisis are the critical challenges of our time

Social entrepreneurs have compelling answers. We know that they lead from lived expertise and are:

Creating meaningful jobs

Joyce Addai-Davis, a young Black social entrepreneur smiles, using a sewing machine.
A baker from social enterprise Step and Stone assembles packaging for flatbreads in a commercial kitchen.

Supporting people to maintain their health and independence

Taking climate change seriously

A blonde social entrepreneur smiles outdoors wearing an orange t-shirt and holding a branch and a plant trimming tool.
Ricky Perrin, a social entrepreneur using a wheelchair sits wearing blue sportswear holding a basketball, with a serious facial expression.

Making a difference in under-served areas of the UK

We will need social entrepreneurs' resilience to build the future we want to see.

Cecil Adjalo, a Black social entrepreneur smiles in conversation, wearing a black t-shirt branded with the white Foundervine logo.

This is a future where leadership comes from all parts of society, and those who have been historically marginalised are treated with equity.

Four members of social enterprise Greenstream Flooring sit on a stack on carpet tiles, smiling.

A future where a thriving economy means good jobs, wealth flowing back into places, and social value at its heart.

A future where everyone can live safely and sustainably on our planet.

Stories of change

Women with Wings, founded by Jasmin Bakhre, played a critical role in community responses during the pandemic.

In Little Hulton they delivered essentials such as food and medicines to people who were shielding, supported families with home schooling, and stayed connected with other community champions to make sure all the support being offered was united.

A laptop displaying the pink website homepage of Women With Wings Community Interest Company, which features a photo of an ethnically diverse group of women smiling, holding certificates.

Their core mission is to be a hub for
women to learn new skills,
gain qualifications and start their
own businesses.

Headphone icon and the cover artwork of the “Changing Places” podcast series - including the episode title “South Wales Valleys” and purple and white speech bubbles on a lilac and orange background.

Katie Hadley, founder of family and early-years support venture, Little Lounge, transformed their community space and provided food to meet the changing needs of local people during the pandemic.

Hear their story in the South Wales Valleys, on the Changing Places podcast

The No.1 Befriending Agency, founded by Audrey Mutongi, is supporting socially isolated and lonely people to find connection in their local community, improving their mental health and wellbeing through befriending.

Tablet screen showing a photo of Audrey Mutongi and an older person smiling together at a No.1 Befriending Agency meet up.

During COVID-19 the social enterprise strengthened existing support and onboarded new Befriending volunteers.

Looking forward, they hope to build intercultural and cross-generational dialogue, welcoming more and more older people from diverse backgrounds and creating accessible matches to reduce their isolation and loneliness.

This is why you start an enterprise in the first place. You realise something needs to be done so you just act... You act in response to things, and this [COVID-19] is just one of the things you're responding to.

—Audrey Mutongi

Founded by Kathryn Pierce, Somewhere EDI CIC provides a platform for positive LGBTQ+ culture, learning and activism.

Their quarterly magazine, Somewhere: For Us, co-founded in 2020 with Somewhere co-Director Thomas Anderson-Thatcher, showcases Scottish queer arts, culture, heritage and enterprise.

Photo of a stack of “Somewhere: for us” magazines which feature illustrated cover art depicting ethnically diverse people eating, chatting and making music.

A fifth of membership income from the magazine's subscription is reinvested into supporting emerging LGBTQ+ creatives and businesses to thrive. Meanwhile, the social enterprise

through its pioneering Rainbow Enterprise Network, the first of its kind in Scotland.

A social entrepreneur with long red hair and a beard uses a drill in a wood workshop.

Despite rising demand for businesses to put purpose first, social ventures aren't valued enough for the good that they do.

By 2025, UnLtd aims to change that by ensuring all social entrepreneurs can realise their potential. We will:

Break down the
barriers that social
entrepreneurs face,
providing direct
support and influencing others to do things differently

A social entrepreneur with long red hair and a beard uses a drill in a wood workshop.

Together they will reach and benefit

creating 400,000 jobs and training opportunities, generating

in social value in the process

Stories of change

MELIOR creates employment for people with disabilities. Founded by Diane Cheung, they prioritise people and planet with their environmentally-friendly cleaning product range

The social venture introduces innovative science tech to household cleaning, producing low-waste non-toxic products that give back.

MELIOR are also committed to being an inclusive employer and have created a workplace where everyone's skills and strengths are valued, challenging prejudices that contribute to the disability employment gap.

Photo of social enterprise Melior's spray and concentrate bottle of the “Stain Remover Hero” product. Both products feature sage green label design with “You, Me and the Planet” text.

Camden Disability Action, founded by local Disabled residents to enable the Disabled community and those most marginalised within it, to lead the way in building a Camden that works for everyone.

Anna Alston, a member of Camden Disability Action social enterprise smiles, using a wheelchair and wearing a red mauve puffer coat with a matching handbag.

Through providing advice, support, training programmes and their community journalism platform, they are amplifying Disabled People's voices to make a borough that works better for all.

The multi-media community journalism platform, Camden Disabled People's Voices, is already helping to make public spaces more accessible by making sure Disabled People's perspectives are seen and heard by local service providers.

Over the past 5 years, UnLtd has distributed

Social entrepreneur Mona Shah smiles, making chocolates in a commercial kitchen. wearing blue vinyl gloves, a black chef jacket and a hair net.

Since 2017,
UnLtd has invested a total of...

Young Black social entrepreneur Marvin Onu smiles on a grass football pitch, holding an orange patterned football.
A social entrepreneur tunes a stringed instrument.

What we'll do to achieve our ambitions for social entrepreneurs

A person with a baby in a sling stands up, knotting and weaving threads in a workshop.

Social entrepreneurs will set our ambitions alongside us, working together on our governance, support, and influence. In the past we built systems and processes that were designed for us first. We treated social entrepreneurs as a homogenous group, not recognising or responding to their diverse needs. We were 'for social entrepreneurs', but we held all the power.

We've made a determined shift to work with social entrepreneurs, prioritising the perspectives of those from marginalised communities.

We will ensure that our systems, processes and support are designed by

A person with a baby in a sling stands up, knotting and weaving threads in a workshop.

This means social entrepreneurs sitting on our decision-making panels, being involved in our staff recruitment, and designing our support and application processes. Our campaigning and influencing work will be grounded in social entrepreneurs' voices.

We trust their leadership and vision in their ventures; now we're applying that trust to how UnLtd works too.

Our strategy and support offer will be designed and delivered with social entrepreneurs

Fatou Gassama, a Black female social entrepreneur leans in to look at a piece of paper held by a Black person at an outdoor workshop.
Sonny Thaker, a social entrepreneur wearing a blue shirt, grey flat cap and rainbow striped stud earring smiles, typing on a laptop.

Grant decisions will be taken with social entrepreneurs

Majority of our board will be social entrepreneurs and / or from marginalised communities

Indie Gordon, Head of Programs at Foundervine is in conversation on a roof terrace. She is Black, has long brown hair and wears a black and orange floral dress.
Two people smile in conversation in the office of social enterprise Radiant Cleaners.

Our values brave, inclusive and accountable run through everything we do

Partners, funders, investors, suppliers are accountable to our inclusion charter

A person with a shaved head wearing a blue tracksuit sits in conversation with a colleague at a table with a mug of tea.

Funding for impact

We will work with social entrepreneurs with the most potential for impact in communities across the UK, who embody our values and principles. We will support a diverse group of social entrepreneurs who share an ambition to create sustainable social ventures, committed to inclusion and lasting impact.

We will focus resources, funding, and support on those whose potential has not yet been recognised, taking risks and supporting social entrepreneurs' growth. We'll be supporting social entrepreneurs that can demonstrate at least two of these requirements:

An older person with black braided hair wearing glasses, a sunflower lanyard and a navy fleece stands in a community garden.
Meeting high levels of social need Ambitious about making long-lasting change, and tackling the root cause of problems Designing and delivering effective interventions with a strong business model

This definition will inform and strengthen all stages of a social entrepreneur's journey with us. We will always ensure that


of our grant funding, investment and support goes to social entrepreneurs from marginalised communities

The social entrepreneurs we support will reach another 1.4 million people thanks to our support

CEO of Foundervine, Cecil Adjalo, is smiling and gestures with his hands in conversation. Cecil is a young Black man with a short beard.
A young person with long straight dark brown hair smiles in a workshop.

They will create 400,000 jobs and training opportunities, supporting people and places that need it most

At least 1000 social entrepreneurs we support will be from marginalised communities, backing those with lived experience

A social entrepreneur lifts a tray of chocolates in a commercial kitchen. She wears gloves, a black chef jacket and a hairnet.

Support that's market leading

Social entrepreneurs can expect that our tailored package of support will be transformational

Tom McDonough, Engagement Officer at Camden Disability Action smiles. Tom has brown hair and stubble and is wearing a purple jumper.

Our support model for social entrepreneurs will:

Be personalised to equitably meet the needs of each social entrepreneur

Adé Adéniji, a Black social entrepreneur with a shaved head and short beard, wearing glasses and a smart jumper smiles, sitting with a colleague in an office.
Faye Savory, BearHugs social enterprise founder smiles with another colleague. Faye has long brown hair and wears a floral dress.

Combine technical expertise with a personal approach, to accelerate impact

Support social entrepreneurs' wellbeing and authentic leadership throughout their journey

Close up of a hand using a metal tool to shape a long piece of wood against a fast-moving mechanical wheel.

We will continue to experiment and adapt to social entrepreneurs' needs, whether, for example that's through working with eBay to provide an ecommerce package in 2022, providing support for an inclusive recovery with Comic Relief, and by pursuing new partnerships to continue to learn and improve the impact of our support

We'll provide accessible and responsive support, alongside finance, for social entrepreneurs, from...

start-up to scale-up

social entrepreneurs will feel more confident and able to act for social change, having improved their knowledge, skills and networks

fuelling another £100 million in the economy

Social ventures will generate up to

£2.4 billion of social value contributing to the

long-term wellbeing and resilience of individuals, commuinities, and society in general

Campaigning for a just world

We will make it easier for all social entrepreneurs to create positive change in the world. We need policymakers, business and society to get behind social entrepreneurs, and their vision of a world where people and planet are put first.

This means breaking down the barriers to impact, growth, and sustainability they face. We will:

An older person with short grey wavy hair smiles, using an embroidery hoop.
Create more equitable access to finance from start-up to scale-up Create better access to the right markets and customers

We will do this in partnership with social entrepreneurs and other allies by:

Producing evidence to show what social entrepreneurs achieve when these barriers are broken down

Calling out discriminatory practice in ourselves, partners and others

Influencing business and government to level the playing field through policies, practice and resources

We will work alongside social entrepreneurs and partners, including the Diversity Forum, the Social Economy Alliance and others to campaign for finance and better trading support for social entrepreneurs

We will design and deploy a ~£25 million fund backing diverse-led social enterprises tackling structural inequality.

Two bakers from social enterprise Step and Stone smile together in a commercial kitchen. They wear blue gloves and aprons and black chef caps.
Close up of a Black person's hands using an electronic tablet and stylus.

We will create a thriving community of over 150 social entrepreneurs who are using online sales to drive social change.

We will bring more policymakers, businesses and buyers behind social entrepreneurs and the change they create

A person with dark curly hair wearing a plaid blazer talks to two colleagues.

This is what your support will help us achieve - we can't do it alone

We need the expertise, knowledge and experience of change makers like you to stand with us and build a powerful ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurs.

Whether you are a social entrepreneur, peer, partner or policy maker; a corporate organisation, a trust or foundation - come with us on this journey. With your backing we can give social entrepreneurs the opportunity to flourish, and have the greatest impact imaginable

Learn more about the change we can make together.

An older person with short grey hair wearing a floral shirt and glasses smiles, looking at a piece of paper on the table.

Working out loud

Our strategy asks some big questions, and we don't have all the answers yet. Explore more as it develops.

A child in a blue raincoat holds a mini trowel in a community garden.

Making inclusion a reality: lessons in equity from the Social Enterprise Support Fund

Read more

by Mathu Jeyaloganathan