Launch a social venture

What is a social venture?

We define social ventures as businesses that:

  • have a clear social and/or environmental mission
  • generate the majority of their income through trade by selling goods and/or services
  • reinvest the majority of their profits back into their business or the community.


Why develop a social venture?

At UCLB we’re interested in impact. Sometimes innovations don’t make money but do have great outcomes that benefit society. If your research has the potential to make a difference to people’s lives, tackle environmental issues or meet community needs, we should be talking.

Social ventures benefit UCL researchers, the university and wider world:

  • They can help you deliver the ‘impact agenda’ by creating measurable socio-economic benefits from your academic research.
  • Publicity from innovative social ventures boost UCL’s reputation, helping to generate additional research and income.
  • They create clear, positive and practical outcomes that make a difference to issues people care about.

How can UCLB help with my social venture?

UCLB is proud to have pioneered technology transfer for social ventures. We were the first technology transfer office to appoint a dedicated business manager.

We offer social entrepreneurs a comprehensive service to take you from idea to social impact. We can:

  • assess your idea and help you develop a business plan
  • advise on contracts, company formation and intellectual property (IP)
  • help you measure your social impact
  • put you in contact with social investors
  • help you license your idea for social good.

Can I get funding to develop my social venture?

UCL staff and researchers can apply for up to £20,000 proof of concept funding and support to develop an entrepreneurial solution to a social problem.

Your product or service must have been developed through UCL research or involve UCL IP, and the project must be able to create social impact and have a clear plan for progression beyond the period of the award.

How to apply?

Complete the social ventures funding application form

“UCLB’s input and support have been invaluable. Professional, expert and a pleasure to work with.”

Professor Elizabeth Murray, Co-Director of the UCL eHealth Unit who developed HeLP-Diabetes.