UnLtd is staying true to its mission
UnLtd notes an article in Third Sector Online today, which is based on a critical press release from CAN and Senscot. The article refers in particular to our stewardship of the Millennium Awards Trust. The article includes some major inaccuracies and we wish to set out the facts.
UnLtd runs the Millennium Awards Trust, and has also drawn in substantial additional resources to support more social entrepreneurs. We help them start and thrive on their journey, and we are working with many partners who in turn can reach more people who want to start something social, wherever they are.
What UnLtd is about:
UnLtd is the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs. Our aim is to support social entrepreneurs to start up and thrive. We help them to develop as social leaders, and to create positive social impact. We support them to turn their own ideas for social benefit into reality, and to make their models of delivering social impact succeed.
The facts – Millennium Awards Trust:
UnLtd runs the Millennium Awards Trust (MAT) scheme and other programmes funded externally.
MAT Awards are made to individuals and small groups. Very few of our Award Winners have created any kind of formal organisation at the point of their Award. MAT Awards are for people just starting out and at early stages.
Based on an analysis of application data, since 2006/7 only 30 MAT Award Winners out of 5,000 had a Company Limited by Shares legal form at the point of their Award. That’s 0.6 of 1%.
The statements made in the CAN/Senscot press release regarding the MAT are therefore mistaken.
The facts – our other programmes:
UnLtd draws in substantial resources from all sectors, including corporate funds and pro bono support, to meet the growing demand from people wishing to start a social venture. We also assist social entrepreneurs to secure investment for their work on an ever-increasing scale, including engaging with private angel investors.
We deploy much of the external resources we raise through a growing network of organisations who want to support social entrepreneurs in their “constituency”: currently we channel funds and provide coaching and support to 170 organisations which then provide cash and support to social entrepreneurs; these organisations range from colleges and universities through to housing associations and grassroots community groups, as well as social entrepreneurs who have achieved success and who are now helping the next generation. Our aim is that support to start out as a social entrepreneur should be easily accessible from people you trust in your area or field of interest.
UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs on their own ideas and models for delivering social impact. We support people who are developing voluntary programmes, charities, mass movements, mutuals, social enterprises and social businesses: whatever works for their intended social goal. We are not fixated on any specific model, but on developing social leaders and helping them achieve social impact.
UnLtd’s support offerings, funded outside of the MAT, have various different objectives and criteria. For example, our Big Venture Challenge programme seeks to support social entrepreneurs to scale up their social impact through their social ventures. Each entrepreneur’s social impact is scaled up by seeking investment for their venture, by identifying new revenue streams and routes to market, by clarifying and improving their enterprise models, and by meeting new stakeholders who may be able to help add to the social impact.
We have observed a continuing trend among social entrepreneurs to be interested in models which lock in social mission but don’t lock in profits. Social entrepreneurs who choose this model see it as the best way for their social venture to maximise their social impact, allowing them to achieve scale.
Where social entrepreneurs develop enterprises which are not profit-locked, we work with them to ensure the social mission is fully locked in for the long term.
We recognise that this is a new approach, an experiment which needs to be carefully monitored. Through our research we have published four findings reports to date, covering the intentions and results from two perspectives – the social entrepreneurs and the investors. We will continue to monitor how this approach works in practice.
We have discussed this trend very publicly through articles and at events, our Board has discussed it regularly, our Protector has approved our approach, and we have contributed in terms of policy and mechanisms for mission-lock.
UnLtd has worked hard on the development of regulatory and reporting arrangements for social entrepreneurs and the different kinds of ventures they create. We have lobbied successfully for better regulations for Community Interest Companies, as well as on the Social Investment Tax Relief. Most recently, we have worked with an international collaboration to design a legal and reporting system for ‘profit-with-purpose businesses’, to attract more entrepreneurs into social mission and lock this in for the long term.
Everyone at UnLtd is delighted by the amazing talent of people stepping forward as social entrepreneurs and achieving ever greater social impact and sustainability.
From innovative new social movements, voluntary organisations and charities, through to social enterprises and profit-with-purpose businesses, they are the future for the social and economic recovery we all wish to see. Our job is to help them on their way.
We are always open to debate and challenge on what is in reality the single, biggest discussion point in the social economy across the globe.