Making inclusion a reality: lessons in equity from the Social Enterprise Support FundRead more
by Mathu Jeyaloganathan
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.
with the help of partners such as the National Lottery Community Fund.
more than ever
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
Supporting people to maintain their health and independence
Taking climate change seriously
Making a difference in under-served areas of the UK
We will need social entrepreneurs' resilience to build the future we want to see.
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.
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.
Their core mission is to be a hub for
women to learn new skills,
gain qualifications and start their
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
support and influencing others to do things differently
Together they will reach and benefit
creating 400,000 jobs and training opportunities, generating
in social value in the process
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.
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.
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
UnLtd has invested a total of...
What we'll do to achieve our ambitions for social entrepreneurs
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
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
Grant decisions will be taken with social entrepreneurs
Majority of our board will be social entrepreneurs and / or from marginalised communities
Our values brave, inclusive and accountable run through everything we do
Partners, funders, investors, suppliers are accountable to our inclusion charter
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:
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
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
Social entrepreneurs can expect that our tailored package of support will be transformational
Our support model for social entrepreneurs will:
Be personalised to equitably meet the needs of each social entrepreneur
Combine technical expertise with a personal approach, to accelerate impact
Support social entrepreneurs' wellbeing and authentic leadership throughout their journey
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
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:
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.
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
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
Our strategy asks some big questions, and we don't have all the answers yet. Explore more as it develops.
by Mathu Jeyaloganathan
by Rosalind Holley