A six-month programme culminates in pitch day, with three winning ventures awarded in the the DIF-Allia Accelerator Challenge.
Winning prize shared between ventures at the DIF - Allia Accelerator Challenge final pitch day
GrandNanny, a social enterprise that matches working families with midlife+ neighbours to provide rewarding jobs and reliable childcare, has been awarded £10,000 by DIF Capital for winning the DIF-Allia Accelerator Challenge, with Greater Change and Appt also being awarded £7,500 each.
The three social enterprises were selected by Allia in 2020 to receive mentoring from DIF Capital UK teams, with the intention that one successful venture would receive a final prize fund of £25,000, to help finance the future growth of its impact mission.
Yet, after six months of intensive support and mentoring from volunteer teams from different business departments at DIF Capital, such strong relationships were built with the founders of the three ventures that the company chose to allocate the full prize fund to them all.
The ventures were: GrandNanny, which recruits and trains job-seeking midlife people and connects them with local families who need childcare support; Greater Change which helps tackle UK homelessness by enabling cashless donations direct to individuals to help their long-term goals; and Appt that helps patients access vaccines and preventative healthcare programmes that screen for long-term illness and chronic diseases, saving time and money for GPs and the NHS.
All three were selected by Allia from its wide network of impact ventures, and all were in different stages of growth and facing different challenges. The mentoring from the DIF Capital teams offered the founders bespoke, in-depth help with their businesses; providing investment experts to evaluate their financial strategies, marketing to help them develop compelling messaging for future investment rounds, plus risk analysis and strategic management advice from experienced professionals.
Emma Mee, Programme Manager at Allia said “We never really know the level of detail and the value that our founders will get from any new programme until it gets underway, but from the start the DIF Accelerator Challenge felt different. The level of detail that the mentoring teams got into, the time and energy that went into each venture and the goodwill that will continue well beyond this prize has been second-to-none. Everyone has really enjoyed doing something different that has had a direct impact both on the ventures taking part and the positive impact that they themselves are having ‘on the ground’. I know it’s something everyone is very proud to have been part of”.
Andrew Freeman, Head of UK at DIF says “We were excited to work with these three social enterprises from the very start, after selecting them from a large group of strong applicants. We felt they were different in many ways, both in the sector and impact they were addressing, and the stage of the business and the challenges they were facing. The programme has brought another dimension to our internal teams that has used their existing skills in a novel way that has provided developmental opportunities for everyone involved. We want to congratulate GrandNanny for winning the top award, but also applaud all of the enterprises for the work they have put in and the progress they have demonstrated. We hope to stay in touch with all of these founders”.
"GrandNanny has benefited immensely from being part of the DIF-Allia Accelerator. Winning this prize means we're another step closer to our mission of seeing grandnannies at every school gate across the UK. We truly believe intergenerational childcare can help create better connected communities and increase age-empathy whilst supporting more older adults into rewarding work.
For an organisation like ours, winning this grant provides a huge boost on top of the support we had already received from our fantastic DIF team and allows our community of parents, children and grandnannies to continue to benefit from the support we give them. We'd also like to celebrate and commend the brilliant work and proven impact of Appt and Greater Change." - Sarah Vick & Adele Aitchison, GrandNanny
It is hoped that the next round of the Accelerator Challenge will launch later this year when Allia and DIF Capital will be on the lookout for three more exciting impact ventures to benefit. Visit DIF - Allia accelerator challenge | Allia Future Business Centre to find out more.
If your business would like to discuss running your own Accelerator Challenge to help support impact ventures to grow and achieve greater positive change, please contact Andrew.Brisbin@Allia.org.uk
Allia is a not-for-profit organisation that supports businesses - through flexible workspace, social finance and free business support - so that they can grow and create positive impact, on their communities and on the planet.