Lead the Change programme - See its impact in UnLtd's newly published evaluation report

UnLtd recently published their evaluation of the Lead the Change programme. It was a great programme to be part of and we’re excited to share their findings about the impact the programme had.

You can read the report here and find out more about the programme and our involvement below.


UnLtd launched the Lead the Change programme, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, in 2014 to develop a locally based, scalable and sustainable ecosystem of support for social entrepreneurs to help them to start up and thrive.

To achieve this, they partnered with GMCVO and 11 other not-for-profit community and voluntary organisations in the north of England, the Midlands, and Northern Ireland – primarily in areas of greatest disadvantage. These partner organisations were chosen for their established trust and reach into their local communities.

Key highlights from the programme:

  • 85% of Lead the Change social entrepreneurs created training, volunteering, or job opportunities.
  • 100% of partners reported having more capacity to support social entrepreneurs after partnering with UnLtd.
  • 57,405 people were helped by the Lead the Change social entrepreneurs during the programme
  • 239 social entrepreneurs were supported by UnLtd’s partner organisations to start up and grow
  • 76% of social entrepreneurs felt more confident to act for social benefit as a result of the award.

Feedback from a social entrepreneur we supported through the programme:
“I think the design of the programme with Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) really worked, because you were on my doorstep, I could receive face to face support and that’s really valuable.”
Michelle, social entrepreneur, 2016 Supported by GMCVO

Find out more about the ventures we funded here.

Lead the Change and GMCVO:

The learning, experiences and connections we gained through delivering Lead the Change had a significant impact on our journey of supporting social enterprises. While delivering Lead the Change, we began to develop the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Network with partners active in the city region's social enterprise movement and running thematic and geographically focussed social enterprise networks in GM.

We have since built on our experience of funding and supporting social entrepreneurs to begin delivering GM Social Investment, which offers social investment aimed at small and very small social enterprises and charities that trade, including new organisations. We have so far invested in ten organisations and you can find case studies about what they do and how they are using our investment here.

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