Would you describe Unforgettable as a social enterprise?

We classify Unforgettable as a “social business”. We place equal emphasis on social impact and financial returns.

How is that different from a social enterprise?

To me, the key difference is that a social enterprise is usually considered to have an asset-lock, which can often define the scale of a business. We needed a business model that could be social and scalable to attract investment, so we felt passionately about structuring ourselves as a ‘social business’.

In order for Unforgettable to work, we needed to be halfway between a charity and a business. We couldn’t be a charity as UK Dementia charities tend to be confined to one specific geographic area, eg UK-focused, whereas our business model only works on a global scale. Charities are also focused primarily on campaigning and awareness and don’t function as a commercial organisation as we do. However Unforgettable works closely with charities such as ADI and UK Alzheimers Society – we support and trust each other due to our ultimate shareholders being overwhelmingly charities, foundations and the government.

How did you first make contact with Impact Ventures UK?

I met Prince Max and his father about a year ago in Switzerland at a Conference – I really enjoyed meeting them. I initially contacted them for guidance, which eventually resulted in funding.

What have you learned or how have you benefitted from working with the fund thus far?

IVUK has helped us to find good people, recruiting through their networks and through ICATs global recruitment. We’ve only been officially launched for a few weeks, but in that time they’ve helped me find one of my most prized employees.

How would you describe IVUK to those interested in applying for funding?

I’d describe IVUK as intellectual, dynamic, quick to make investment decisions, flexible, forward-thinking and quick to recognise potential opportunities.

What advice do you have for social enterprises seeking funding from IVUK?

We presented to the investment committee in 2015. Based on that experience, I’d advise anyone looking to apply to present their business plan and model in a way that’s thoughtful, robust and addresses every question that the investors might ask. You’ve got to prove that you’re sustainable!

Profile

  • Impact Sector: Health
  • Founder: James Ashwell
  • CEO: David Lethbridge
  • IVUK Funding: £500,000
  • Number of employees: 10
  • Funding Date: September 2015
Unforgettable - Life-changing dementia products