Co-operatives UK announces winners of the £10k UnFound business accelerator

The funding will be shared between platform co-ops Deep Time, the Flower Grower Collective, Grassroots City and the Impact Collective

£10,000 in prize money was shared between the four teams who took part in Co-operatives UK‘s UnFound Accelerator live online pitch event, held last night (11 July).

The event marked the end of the first part of the UnFound Accelerator programme, which gives ethical digital enterprises training and support to help them develop their platform co-op business ideas.

Support on offer includes workshops on product development, business planning and strategy, branding and marketing. 

The event saw each team  pitch their business to an online audience, who then voted for their favourite idea. The votes determined how the £10,000 prize fund, provided by the Co-op Bank, was distributed.

  • The Flower Grower Collective received the most votes, taking away £4,000
  • Deep Time came second place receiving £3,000
  • Grassroots City took home £2,000
  • The Impact Collective was awarded £1,000

The Flower Grower Collective is a purchasing platform for wholesale cut flower and foliage sales, allowing small scale artisan growers to work together to access a wider market. “We are delighted to be part of the Unfound Accelerator,” said founder Debbie Scott. “Everyone has been very supportive, the Co-operatives UK team and the other participants and co-operatives have been inspirational.

“The funding will provide support to the Flower Grower Collective to launch the pilot this year and bring the focus to Locally grown flowers.”

Related: Co-op Bank invests £400k with Co-operatives UK to nurture ethical business

Deep Time empowers citizens to map archaeological sites and ecologies from satellite and LiDAR data so that the data can be used in the context of net zero and climate change. 

“We were so thrilled to have been included in the Unfound accelerator,” said founder and co-CEO Brendon Wilkins. “You’ve helped us turn the spark of a platform idea into a genuine ethical business. We can’t wait to launch our co-op into the world.

“This is a groundbreaking moment for archaeology. This will help us establish the world’s first digital co-op for archaeology, and our members will decide how to use the prize to continue the search for previously unknown archaeological sites in areas where we can support net zero climate goals.”

Grassroots City is a platform focused on rebuilding healthy communities of people and nature. Through facilitating opportunities for green social prescribing, the platform aims to support and scale grassroots initiatives working to improve green and blue spaces, increase biodiversity, and enhance nature-connectedness in the city. 

Co-Founders Rachel Morgan and Patrick Geoghegan said: “The UnFound Accelerator has been incredible for moving us forward in our mission to rebuild healthy communities of people and nature. It’s been a privilege to have been on this program with such impressive people.”

The Impact Collective platform supports sustainable place-based initiatives in remote communities, by connecting community members to relevant resources and people. 

Co-op member Nadia Laabs said: “It’s been really lovely being part of the UnFound Accelerator. Not just for getting dedicated support and time to further develop our platform and interacting with other inspiring organisations. We’ve learned more about co-operative structures, which showcase a way of working that’s truly collaborative and equitable, represent how all of the world should be to work together. and achieve the best outcomes, both socially and environmentally.”