UnLtd helps raise £5 million of investment for entrepreneurs solving social problems

As one of the delivery partners for the Big Venture Challenge, we are pleased to share the news today that £5 million of investment has been secured 16 months ahead of schedule through the programme. The Big Venture Challenge is a three-year Big Lottery Fund programme, delivered by UnLtd, to support ambitious social ventures in England who are tackling some of the UK’s toughest social challenges.

One of those to benefit is Alice Lacey, an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of now>press>play. Her venture provides primary schools with an affordable learning resource that brings the curriculum to life through sound, story and movement, using wireless headphones.

“The way we teach our children has barely changed in 150 years,” says Alice. “I want to see an education system that meets the needs of children, and not the other way round.”

For more details see http://nowpressplay.co.uk/improving-literacy-gloucester-primary-case-study/

The Big Venture Challenge is delivered by UnLtd (The Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs) and expert partners such as impact angel investment experts ClearlySo. It is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and aims to find, fund and support social entrepreneurs like Alice and now>press>play. The programme helps social entrepreneurs to scale up their social impact; winning investment is an important part of this and the programme helps social ventures to secure this, matching up to £100,000 in the interests of scaled up social impact.

The Big Venture Challenge reached the milestone of £5 million of investment pledged 16 months ahead of schedule. This has been partly achieved by attracting new angel investors to the ‘investment for good’ space. The five millionth pound came from new social angel investor, Ian Vincent, as he made his investment in now>press>play.

“The concept of being a social angel investor truly appeals to me,” said Ian. “I am deeply drawn to ideas leading to social progress and know that I will be able to use my business skills to leverage scale with now>press>play.”

Julie Devonshire, Director of Ventures at UnLtd, said: “We had aimed to leverage in £5 million across three years and have pledges to achieve this ahead of schedule. This surely helps to prove the case for social impact investing. Bringing more and more new investors to the concept of ‘investing for good’ helps to build the ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in the UK and the ultimate social progress that will result.”

Intentionality has worked alongside the pilot Big Venture Challenge cohort, as well as the first two cohorts of the three-year Big Venture Challenge 2 programme, to provide expert advice and support in social impact measurement and reporting.  We’ve helped ventures increase their understanding of impact measurement, produce one-page impact reports, identify key outcome and impact metrics, and create Theories of Change.


Applications for the final cohort of the Big Venture Challenge (2015)  open today – if you’re an entrepreneur interested in applying check out: https://unltd.org.uk/bvc/apply