5 UK Funding Opportunities

Looking for funding and resources for your social business? Here are 5 foundations that can help!

by Emma Howard, January 3, 2018
5 Funding Opportunities in the UK

Finding funding and suppot to kick start a social business requires lots of hard work and perseverance. To help, we've profiled 5 UK-based foundations which offer a wide range of programmes to provide funding and resources to social enterprises.


Nesta is a global innovation foundation. It supports innovators by providing resources, funding, and general support to help them overcome common barriers. In particular, the foundation focuses on health, education, governmental innovation, arts and the creative economy, and innovation policy. Nesta’s ultimate goal is to develop powerful ideas that solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Promising social ventures and innovations are invited to apply for grant funding, direct investment, and challenge prizes. While Nesta only funds a small number of exceptional projects, they offer a variety of funding opportunities on an ongoing basis. Learn more about Nesta and check out their current programs.


UnLtd provides support to social entrepreneurs through its awards programme. Awards can take the form of resources, networks, funding, advice, and support. The organization supports individuals at a variety of stages in developing their innovations for social impact. Ultimately, UnLtd aims to make social innovation mainstream by identifying and addressing the greatest challenges that today’s social entrepreneurs face.

Currently, UnLtd is looking to support a variety of causes, from increasing support for the ageing population to finding purposeful uses for unused community spaces. Learn more about their current opportunities here.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the United Kingdom. It focuses on improving the quality of life in many communities across the UK. In particular, it supports organizations working in the arts, children and youth, the environment, and social change.

In 2016, the Foundation donated £42.4 million to 315 organizations. Learn more about what the foundation funds and how to apply.

Social Investment Business

The Social Investment Business provides loans, grants, and support to charities and social enterprises. It focuses on helping organizations become more resilient and sustainable so that they can maximize their impact and growth.

Current opportunities include the Big Potential Fund, which supports growing social enterprises for three years, and the Reach Fund, which provides investment readiness support. Learn more about the funds and services offered by the Social Investment Business.

Power to Change

Power to Change funds community businesses across the UK. It defines a “community business” as an organization led by people who are locally rooted, trade for the benefit of the community, and are held accountable by community members. Recognizing the broad impact that community businesses can have, Power to Change seeks to empower these organizations to make positive change.

A range of funding options are currently offered, including grants, blended funding and community shares. Support services such as resource articles and peer networking opportunities are also available. Learn more about Power to Change’s funds and how to apply.

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This article was originally published on October 4, 2017.