BIG VENTURE CHALLENGE
About the Big Venture Challenge:
The Big Venture Challenge is a three year programme, funded by Big Lottery Fund, to find and support 100 ambitious social entrepreneurs with access to finance, business support and powerful connections to help them raise investment and scale their ventures.
Each entrepreneur selected onto the programme receives 12 months of support from an UnLtd Ventures Manager, a Clearly So Investment Manager and a Shaftesbury Partnership Networks Manager and an external social impact evaluator.
Match-funding of between £25,000 and £100,000 is available from Big Venture Challenge if a co-investor is prepared to invest an equal or greater amount during the 12 month award period.
The Big Venture Challenge will support 30 social entrepreneurs in 2013/14, 30 in 2014/15 and 40 in 2015/16.
UnLtd has four core outcomes it seeks to achieve through Big Venture Challenge 2:
- To find, support and grow the pool of talented, high potential social entrepreneurs to tackle increasing social problems amongst disadvantaged communities.
- To enable ambitious social entrepreneurs to breakthrough the barriers to growth and deliver social impact at scale.
- To stimulate the early stage social investment market and plug the ‘missing middle’ gap in high risk capital.
- To deepen the understanding across the sector of models that successfully scale up social impact in communities across England
How UnLtd support our clients:
Tailored one to one support
Our support is underpinned by the trusted, valued & reciprocal relationships we develop with social entrepreneurs. It is tailored to reflect the diversity and needs of entrepreneurs, their organisations and their stage of development. Support provided can be categorised into four key areas:
: we believe that people are the most important resource for an early stage venture – the entrepreneur, their team, board, supporter network and partners. We provide on-going coaching and mentoring to the founding entrepreneur and introductions and connections to influential networks to develop the strategic leadership capacity within the ventures.
: we work with expert partners in legal, finance and marketing to provide support to defining organisational structures, revenue models, defining the value proposition and theory of change.
we provide hands-on support to assess, enhance and evaluate both social and financial performance of the company. This work includes analysis of marketplace dynamics as well as dedicated resources for financial management and social impact monitoring and evaluation.
development of a viable, robust, scalable growth strategy incorporating processes and infrastructure related to operations, marketing & sales, organisational development, human resources and IT systems. We also provide investment readiness work and introduction to investors and angel networks in order to secure growth capital.
Our support focuses on bringing together the right people and the right resources at the right point in time. We are driven by the needs of the social entrepreneurs & their organisations, but seek to provide highly professional advice and support as well as constructive challenge to them. We set clear expectations with our clients and are aligned to outcomes over outputs – maximising our clients’ impact and minimising their longer term dependency on us so as to ensure a successful exit from UnLtd support.
Access to finance
Much of our support is focused on getting early stage, ambitious social entrepreneurs and their ventures ready for more significant financial investment for capacity building and growth. To meet the needs of our clients and to address a current gap in the funding market, UnLtd Ventures
The Big Venture Challenge, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, has already made a significant contribution to stimulating the early stage social investment market and supporting ambitious social ventures to scale up.
Access and Introductions to influential networks
UnLtd Ventures is committed to developing a highly engaged & effective network which can offer both finance & skills to accelerate the success of our entrepreneurs. This network of mentors and specialists provide best-in-class support to supplement the skills/capacity of the in-house Ventures team.
Individual approach, matching needs with experts: whether it is a subject-matter expert, a mentor, a board member, or someone that can open doors/broker contacts with key influencers or provide finance, UnLtd Ventures has developed a substantial network of individuals and organisations that are able and willing to support our clients, both with skills, introductions and finance.
Events: we aim to help our clients build strong networks of support and run lively networking events, smaller group events, roundtables, workshops etc.
A key role of the Ventures team within UnLtd is to show what success at scale can look like, to inspire other Award Winners and UnLtd staff to aim high and also to understand the pipeline of start up social entrepreneurs coming through and how they are best supported to reach scale. Skills exchange, dissemination of learning,
£34-37,000 (+ pension contribution)
Start Date: April 15th 2013
Head of Ventures
Open – one of our offices (London, Birmingham, Bradford) or field based, assigned to an office hub
Key Roles & Responsibilities
- Working with 10 social entrepreneurs in a cohort to accelerate their growth over a fixed 12 month period of time using a variety of skills and techniques, enabling them to deliver sustainable social impact at scale for the long-term
- Initially to build a trusted relationship with each entrepreneur, to assist in diagnosing the strategic challenges and opportunities for their businesses and to document an initial support plan for growth
- In some instances, these cohorts will be themed by a sector. In year one, one sector will be Health and Social Care. In years 2 and 3 this may be other sectors, for instance possibly ‘education’, ‘employment’ or ‘criminal justice’. There is also an ‘Open Cohort’ each year – i.e. ventures from any sector.
- Working with the cohort of 10 winning entrepreneurs to implement the support plan, focusing on building a viable growth plan and investment proposition
- Providing personal support to the founding entrepreneur – acting as a critical friend and sounding board
- Working in collaboration with internal teams – specifically UnLtd Connect – to broker support from corporate partners of UnLtd including legal, financial and marcomms.
- Feeding into design and implementation of a wider support offering – including designing bootcamps, workshops, round-tables
- Working closely with the Networks Manager from Shaftesbury Partnership and Investment Manager from ClearlySo for each dedicated cohort
- Providing full quarterly reports, including agreed ‘indicators’ and performance metrics
- demonstrable experience and proven success in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial business environment
- in-depth understanding of the enterprise-related issues that fast-growing businesses will face, particularly those around investment-raising, replication models, detailed financial planning, operational growth and staff management.a structured thinker with an ability to analyse and resolve issues effectively
- strong coaching and relationship building skills
- able to communicate effectively with people at all levels including Award Winners, government, corporate partners and the media.
- experience in training and facilitating personal development
- experience in running promotional events
- excellent organisation and planning skills, ideally project management planning
- all the basic IT skills, especially MS Office and cloud-based CRM systems
Desirable (but not necessary) experience/skills:
- personal experience of starting up or running your own business or social enterprise
- have worked with social entrepreneurs
- an academic qualification in Business or Management
- experience working as a management consultant and/or in project management roles
- experience managing diverse portfolio of clients
- in-depth knowledge of the political, economic and legal context that social entrepreneurs are working in
- You are motivated, committed and have a deep empathy with the Big Venture Challenge objectives
- You have high personal integrity and professionalism
- You are a self-starter who takes initiative, is results focused and delivers high-quality & timely results
- You can inspire others, especially our Award winners, and coach them through difficulties
- You are able to relate to different types of people and build effective and valued working relationships. In doing so, you provide constructive & sometimes difficult feedback and a wide-range of support.
- You are confident in taking decisions based on your own judgement
- You are able to balance the role of an individual with considerable initiative, with the need to work as a team-member of a national organisation
- You have a flexible approach to the job combining energy, enthusiasm and a will to succeed, to make our support a best-in-class service
- You are creative, resourceful and a good negotiator
- You are methodical, well-organised and efficient in your working practices
- You are willing to travel regularly across the UK