FAQs

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Got a question about our Do it For Real Programme? Then have a look through our Frequently Asked Questions for all the answers you need!

UnLtd is the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, a UK registered charity set up in 2002. Our job 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. Social entrepreneurs seek to solve social problems through entrepreneurial solutions. This can be anything from improving your community, breaking the cycle of re-offending, closing the attainment gap in education, solving health issues we face as a nation, or reducing isolation amongst the elderly. UnLtd helps social entrepreneurs at the early stages of their journey.

Our vision is for a world in which people act to make it better. We believe social entrepreneurs are one of the keys to solving some of the biggest problems faced in society. Backing social entrepreneurs on their own ideas not only leads to social impact, it develops social leadership in society, strengthening and deepening social progress. Our charitable purposes are a balance of education through developing social leadership and community benefit through delivering a wide variety of social impacts.

Social entrepreneurs are wonderful people who seek to solve social problems through entrepreneurial solutions – maybe you are one of them. They come from all kinds of backgrounds and are seeking to deliver social solutions in many different ways. We often find that those who have experienced a problem are more likely to see a solution and commit to solving it. They are people who are passionate about tackling a problem in society, have an idea for a solution, and the determination to make that solution happen. Read some of our stories to find out how people from all walks of life are coming up with social solutions.

UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs at the early stages of their journey, from the very first steps, to starting to build an enterprise and a team. Social entrepreneurs come from all kinds of backgrounds and are seeking to deliver social solutions in many different ways. Whatever their background, one thing unites them, a passion to solve a social problem, and an entrepreneurial flair to make it happen.

UnLtd works in many different ways to support social entrepreneurs.

Since 2002 UnLtd has provided Awards, which are a package of early stage funding and support to individuals at the idea stage, backing thousands of people on their own ideas, and helping some to achieve big impact. Our support now includes finance, one-to-one support, networking and access to pro bono expertise, such as legal advice.

In 2010 we started to share our model with a range of partners with the aim of reaching far more people than we could alone, building a strong “ecosystem of support”. We now have a large number of partners who find, fund and support social entrepreneurs – partners like universities, colleges, community groups and housing associations.

We also do research, policy and advocacy work, to understand and develop a supportive environment for social entrepreneurs to start and thrive.

Do it for real is a three year programme starting in 2015 in partnership with Comic Relief, Spirit of 2012 and UnLtd. This campaign will mobilise young people across the UK to build on the spiritedness of the 2012 Olympics and create social ventures which lead to social action and volunteering. There will also be events across the UK which young people in the UK interested in Do it for real can sign up and attend for free. Together, we will empower young people to realise their potential and contribute both to their communities and their own futures.

There are two stages:

1) Comic Relief are supplying youth groups with the tools they need to help them set up their own community events through Red Nose Day 2015. Then encouraging those who want to continue or grow their idea to apply to develop it further by applying for Awards via UnLtd.

2) Awards (cash and support) will be available to young people across the UK from 13th March 2015, who have a social action idea which will benefit themselves and their community. There will be three types of Award available.

  • Test it Award – UnLtd will unlock young people’s potential by providing Awards of up to £500, together with a package of support and guidance, to 200 young people to run their own projects which improve their communities. To apply for the Test it Award all you need to do is fill out the application, submit it and we’ll get back to you with a decision.
  • Do it Award – UnLtd will work with local partners to boost the social impact of these projects by providing Awards of £2500 and £5000 to 90 young people to develop further their social action ideas for the benefit of the wider community.
  • Build it Award – UnLtd will scale up success by providing Awards of £15,000 to 10 young people who are ready to build their ideas into sustainable social ventures to create impact quickly. To apply for a Build it Award you’ll need to submit an Expression of Interest, if you meet the criteria then we’ll send you an application form
Expressions of Interest received on or before: Final submission date for application documents: Final decision meeting week commencing:
24th April 2015 5th May 2015 29th June 2015
19th August 2015 1st September 2015 26th October 2015
27th November 2015 7th December 2015 23rd February 2016

No. If you have taken part in Red Nose Day, Great! Tell us about it and expand your idea through an Award. If you didn’t take part in Red Nose Day and you have a great idea for a social action venture you can still apply. We want to hear from you.

Award application is open until early 2017 but the number of Awards is limited. So we advise you to get your application form in as soon as possible after Red Nose Day.

An Award is a sum of money to finance a well-planned social action venture which has the potential to make a positive difference to society and the person starting it. UnLtd will give the sum of money to young social entrepreneurs. UnLtd will support ideas for social action ventures not charity fundraising activities. The Test it Award and the Build it Award mentioned above are for individuals or small groups (up to four in a group) it is not for organisations, so we will not pay Award money into a school or youth club bank account, but directly to the individual leading their social action idea. The Award also consists of support from a dedicated Award Manager.

The cash part of the Award is put into the Award Winners bank account. Many Award winners set up separate accounts for their ventures so they can keep their venture money and personal money separate. Awards to those under 16 can be paid into an adults account if necessary and if all parties agree.

Not unless the Award money has been misspent. The money must be spent on the venture as agreed at the start. An Award Manager can approve changes to original spending plan, but changes must be agreed before you spend on something different.

It is not a loan, we do not want the Award money back if you spend it on your venture, and no interest is charged.

The person given the Award will read and sign the UnLtd terms and Conditions, payment schedule and BACS form. This is to make sure all parties understand what the young person will do with the Award and to ensure UnLtd can pay the Award money in to the young person’s bank account. Click here to see UnLtd terms and conditions.

That’s up to you; it could be 6 months or 12 months. It depends on what you and your venture need.

If the venture ends and didn’t go how you expected, that’s OK as long as you didn’t break the terms and conditions. You’ll learn from it and move on to the next idea! Award winners and/or supporters who contribute their own time and money towards a venture, do so at their own risk. Award winners must arrange appropriate insurance, licences, permissions, health and safety checks etc. UnLtd can advise on what might be needed. But it is your venture, you make the decisions. UnLtd will advise at every stage and will try to flag up potential problems before they happen. Even so, unexpected difficulties or disappointments might arise. We’ll discuss such issues during and after the Award, and talk things through with Award Winners

In a word: reciprocity. This means we want Award Winners to share their experiences and help us advise future Award winners.

View our Do It For Real Award page and pick from Test It or Build It, whichever one best describes you and follow the instructions on how to apply.

If you are applying for a Test it Award (up to £500) the criteria is

  • We support individuals who are:
  • Aged 11-30 and living in the UK
  • Not part of an established organisation

To be eligible your idea must:

  • Have a real social impact
  • Fulfil a clear need and demand
  • Have clear outputs and goals
  • Provide a learning experience or opportunity

Ideas and ventures are not eligible for an Award if they:

  • Are part of your paid employment
  • Involve political or religious campaigning
  • Involve activities outside of the law or against public policy, or anything that encourages ethnic, religious or commercial disharmony
  • Involve employing people other than yourself to carry out most of the work
  • Are mainly for people to achieve academic qualifications
  • Are to fund living expenses

If you are applying for a Build it Award (up to £15,000) the criteria is the same as a Test it Award and….

  • You have a proven, scalable model to help solve a social issue
  • You are experienced , ambitious and capable of growing your venture
  • You have already achieved a compelling performance in your venture
  • You have a realistic growth plan to scale nationally or internationally
  • You are committed to working full time in your social venture
  • Your venture is ideally less than 5 years old
  • Your venture targets beneficiaries predominantly based in the UK

If you are applying via a partner for a Do it Award they will let you know how to apply.

If you have had your transition meeting and your previous Award has finished. Then yes you can apply for an Award via Do it For Real.

These partners will be announced in July 2015.

The UnLtd Award Manager will provide personal contact details so you can contact them, or if your Award was given via a partner, there will be a designated staff member for you to contact. If you haven’t been Awarded and the question is not answered above you can email doitforreal@unltd.org.uk and someone from UnLtd will get back to you within 72 hours.