UnLtd's mission is to reach out and unleash the energies of people who can transform the world in which they live. We call these people social entrepreneurs.
UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey with advice and resources. We help them whatever their background, wherever they are in the UK and at most ages, with our youngest Award Winner aged just 11.
UnLtd aims to get young people involved in social entrepreneurship and to increase their skills, confidence and aspirations to create social change. We do this mainly by giving Awards directly to young people. 'Award Winners' are given cash and one-to-one support for about 12 months to help them start up and lead their own social projects.
There are signs that the UK economy is strengthening and unemployment is falling. Yet young people still face massive challenges.
The percentage of 16 to 24 year olds who are unemployed compared with 25 to 64 year olds:
Source: Labour Force Survey 1984 - 2013
Source: Labour Force Survey 1984 - 2013
37% of people on zero-hours contracts are aged 16-34.
Around 1.1 million young people are paid less than £7 per hour.
Politicians and business leaders say it's because of a lack of skills and 'work readiness'.
Politicians, business leaders and other supporters of young people have advocated two types of opportunities to help young people address these issues.
Young people lack the opportunities and resources to act on what really motivates them.
Too many young people still don't feel a sense of belonging and 'stake' in their communities.
Too much existing support for young entrepreneurs focuses only on the idea, not the person behind it.
Too few young people are exposed to and involved in social action.
All of this paints a gloomy picture for the current generation of young people.
Over the past five years there has been unprecedented interest and active support for young social entrepreneurs and their ventures in the UK. UnLtd supports people to go a step beyond donating and volunteering for others to lead their own solution to solve a social problem.
The need to support talented young people who have the potential to change their community for the better has never been greater. Though the challenges facing young people are significant, so are the opportunities.
We look for inspiring individuals with the ideas and determination to solve a social problem. These are young people with:
Vision, passion, ideas and a can-do attitude
To their cause and/or local area, and good connections
In their own abilities, risk-taking and resilience
In age, educational and ethnic backgrounds
Different skills, attributes and motivations
WE HAVE PLACED OVER
INTO THE HANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE, EITHER DIRECTLY OR VIA OUR PARTNERS
We are continuing to work with young people and our new strategic programme will drive forward innovation and continuous improvement in how they are supported. Our aim is for enterprising young people to have the inspiration, confidence and support they need to grow their social ventures, and to make an impact on their own lives, communities, education and career prospects.
We've found that there are many young people who would like to set up their own business .
Over a quarter of young people who are interested in setting up a business want to establish a social enterprise (27%) and are significantly more likely to want to do so than the general population (source).
27% OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A BUSINESS WANT TO ESTABLISH A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
Yet young people are much more likely to perceive barriers to starting a new business than the rest of the population.
Their biggest worries are:
A fear of failure – not being able to get start-up money
The riskiness of start-ups
The current economic environment
Starting up a business not being considered a serious career goal
Through our Awards we offer young people a dedicated advisor to provide support and guidance on their project, as well as cash to get it off the ground.
The key outcome of an UnLtd Award for most people, young people especially, is increased confidence.
83% of young people develop improved confidence as a result of their UnLtd Award.
This happens as they negotiate the challenges of setting up and running their own project and as they develop skills and abilities.
Our Award Winners are nurtured by the one-to-one support they receive from a dedicated Award Manager.
Typically most young people want someone to listen to them and help them put their ideas into action. This role has been taken up by UnLtd staff and the mentors who offer up their time and expertise.
The creative and practical learning environment helps young people to develop new skills, and to apply the skills they have learned through formal education in a meaningful way.
An UnLtd Award lets young people lead and take ownership of their own idea, and to 'learn by doing'.
The Award has symbolic value. It shows that UnLtd believes in the young person and brings validation and credibility.
Alongside our direct Award-making, we are delivering events to build and strengthen networks, and developing campaigns to generate more support for young social entrepreneurs.
UnLtd Living It Festival 2014
We believe promoting young social entrepreneurship could help tackle some of the key issues facing young people and wider society by helping them:
Helping young people to develop skills that employers need, particularly 'soft skills' that are key to employability.
Providing an opportunity that gives similar benefits to work experience.
Helping some young people progress directly into self-employment.
Building the confidence and 'character' of young people, and improving their resilience.
Helping young people feel part of their communities, through supporting young social entrepreneurs to set up peer-led projects that benefit other young people and give them a 'stake' in their communities.
Through our Awards we provide young people with the opportunity and resources they need to take social action.
WE HAVE SUPPORTED...
YOUNG SOCIAL ENTREPRENUERS
Gender(Based on data for 5,232
Ethnicity(Based on data for 3,522
Between 2006 - 2008, UnLtd and partners delivered the Big Boost programme. From 2009 - 2014 UnLtd then delivered the Live UnLtd programme. Both of these contributed to a greater number of Awards for young social entrepreneurs.
Alongside a growth in confidence, one of the strongest findings from our work with young people is how an Award helps them to learn, develop and apply the skills they need for other parts of their lives.
improve their skills
see social entrepreneurship as a future option for them
feel more employable
Was the Award a positive learning experience?(Based on data for 76 Award Winners)
Do I feel more employable as a result of the Award?(Based on data for 80 Award Winners)
The personal change in the young social entrepreneurs we support provides the foundation for them to go forward and create positive social change in their communities. Some of them go on to reach hundreds or thousands of other people through the events, services or products they provide. Most start and stay working at a local, community level. All have the potential to effect real change.
WE ESTIMATE THAT, TO DATE, OVER...
PEOPLE HAVE DIRECTLY BENEFITED FROM OUR 5,755 YOUNG SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS' PROJECTS - AN AVERAGE OF 40 PEOPLE PER PROJECT
UnLtd and many other organisations are working in the UK and beyond to embed the social into entrepreneurship.
Our future focus will be:
To mainstream our work by building partnerships with other organisations who can find, fund and support young social entrepreneurs.
To enable young social entrepreneurs to thrive and grow their ventures quickly.
To help build a huge ecosystem in which all our partners come together to offer a UK-wide network of support for young social entrepreneurs.
We are always looking for new ways to support young social entrepreneurs and share knowledge of what works.
We will work alongside others to significantly expand the support available to young social entrepreneurs.