Social Issues

Tackling the world’s most pressing social challenges – The London School of Economics and Political Science

Social venture founders from 100x Impact Accelerator’s inaugural cohort

LSE partners with UBS Optimus Foundation to scale high-impact ventures tackling major global social challenges

The 100x Impact Accelerator at LSE is partnering with UBS Optimus Foundation, which is contributing £5 million to support high-impact ventures tackling some of the world’s most pressing social challenges. 100x was established in 2021 through a transformational gift from philanthropist Sir Paul Marshall.

UBS Optimus Foundation is providing access to experts from within its network in addition to the follow-on funding to be deployed to selected ventures to accelerate them on their journeys to solving some of the world’s most urgent problems. 

The 100x Impact Accelerator was established to foster and turbocharge high-potential social enterprises. It launched its first call for applications in January 2023, attracting over 1,300 aspiring social ventures from 96 countries, of which eight were selected to join its inaugural cohort. In addition to a no-strings-attached £150,000 grant from LSE, the ventures in the accelerator benefit from bespoke support and mentoring during a 12-week Impact Accelerator programme. 100x has scope to support up to 20 social enterprises every year, aiming for 70 per cent of these to come from emerging markets.

Tom Hall, Global Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy, UBS, said: “Identifying and scaling impact ventures could have a positive impact on the planet and people around the world but one of the biggest barriers facing impact venture businesses today is securing finance to develop their ideas. That’s why we are excited to be working with the 100x Impact Accelerator to support high-impact ventures tackling some of the world’s core environmental and social challenges.”

Professor Eric Neumayer, Interim LSE President and Vice Chancellor, said: “I am delighted that LSE is partnering with UBS Optimus Foundation on our 100x Impact Accelerator, providing critical capacity for high-potential social ventures with the vision to scale proven solutions to global challenges. LSE’s world-class research has always focused on those challenges and now the 100x Impact Accelerator will lead our efforts to grow social enterprises with the promise to address them. I look forward to seeing the ventures funded through this partnership delivering outsized impact.”

Professor Stephan Chambers, Director of the Marshall Institute, LSE added: “The 100x Impact Accelerator at LSE provides an essential platform for identifying, investing in and scaling the impact of the most promising solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. It is wonderful we are partnering with UBS Optimus Foundation. Not only will 100x and the social ventures it supports benefit from their generous funding, but we will also gain a huge amount from their experience and expertise. We look forward to working closely with the Foundation to further boost the support, guidance and expertise that we can make available to promising social enterprises, enabling novel approaches that will create positive impact on the scale of billions.”

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