Thrive: a Social Accelerator Helping Ambitious Social Ventures to Scale

UnLtd launches a new UK accelerator with a focus on improving access to employment for those distant from the labour market.

by Anastasia Sauer, January 24, 2018
Thrive Social Accelerator

UnLtd just launched Thrive, a new social accelerator helping ambitious social ventures to scale. 20 social ventures will be supported a year through Thrive. In the first cohort, UnLtd and its partners UBS and Scope are seeking ventures that are improving access to employment for those distant from the labour market.

Thrive offers a combination of bespoke business support alongside potential to access finance, either through UnLtd or their partners. This gives your social venture the chance to grow your business, and ultimately deliver greater social impact.


Thrive builds on the learning from the Big Venture Challenge work, which supported 120 social ventures to collectively improve the lives of 1.24 million people in the UK and raise over £13 million of investment to grow their businesses.


It is well known that social ventures face barriers as they look to scale. The main barriers to growth are: accessing capital, establishing routes to market, finding talent, and measuring impact. UnLtd designs their support around these, and other, areas  that are vital to get enable growth.

Each venture will get support from a dedicated Venture Manager as we know this hands-on consultative led approach is vital for ventures as they scale. Alongside this, peer-to-peer networking opportunities, high level connections, and access to appropriate finance are provided. UnLtd delivers their support in-house, or where required, bring in external expertise from trusted partners. The support is tailored, but is built around:

  • Business planning, financial modelling & strategic advice
  • Raising capital
  • Developing routes to market
  • Accessing specialist advice
  • Developing governance
  • Evidencing impact and refining your theory of change.

Tailored support

You will have access to technical business assistance, connections and valuable peer-to-peer learning through UnLtd's expertise or trusted external consultants. They work with a pool of specialist consultants to meet the needs of individual ventures.

Connections and pro-bono support

Connections to influential mentors, coaches and supporters that best meet your venture's needs are provided. UnLtd's pro bono partners include lawyers, strategy consultancies and PR agencies.

Access to finance

Where appropriate, social ventures will be supported to prepare for investment, including potential direct investment into ventures. This support has helped 120 ventures over the past four years raise in excess of £13 million in investment through the Big Venture Challenge programme.


Thrive launches with a focus on improving access to employment for those distant from the labour market.

The steady drop in unemployment is a good news story for the UK. Not only does our economy thrive when more people are earning a living, but not being in work impacts on peoples’ income, health and happiness.

Yet, not everyone with the desire to work is able to gain appropriate, meaningful employment. Social ventures have innovative ideas for improving access to employment and UnLtd wants to help them Thrive.

Thrive is being co-funded by three expert partners who will each help develop a cohort of social ventures:

  • UBS, funding four ventures hoping to improve access to employment in East London as part of East End Connect;
  • Scope, who are funding eight ventures to improve employment opportunities for disabled people;
  • Eight ventures building access employment to are being funded by a private family foundation

All three partners share UnLtd’s belief that social ventures can offer effective solutions to improving employment opportunities for those with complex lives or additional support needs.


To apply you must be

  • Based in the UK
  • Focused on employment or employability
  • Have a trading and social impact track record.

Access to employment

You must be working to increase access to employment and operating with any of the following:

  • School leavers and apprenticeships
  • Higher and further education
  • Unemployment and underemployment
  • Supporting those distant from the labour market

Social impact

We are agnostic on legal structure, however, Companies Limited by Shares must be committed to embedding an appropriate social mission lock, with our support, during the programme.

For more information on applying or whether the support offer is right for you, get in touch with the Thrive team.


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