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Supported by The Co‑operative Bank

Applications open for the Unfound Accelerator to support start-up platform co-ops

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11th January 2022
Last updated
12th January 2022
Co-op development
UnFound Accelerator – your route to an ethical digital business

The search is on for a new cohort of inspiring entrepreneurs who want to develop a digital business in a more collaborative and equitable way. 

The search is on for a new cohort of inspiring entrepreneurs who want to develop a digital business in a more collaborative and equitable way. 

After successfully supporting six platform co-ops in 2021, the UnFound Accelerator is rolling out again in spring 2022. 

The accelerator is open for applications from aspiring UK-based digital businesses that want to set up as a co-op. The free programme supports founders in turning their pioneering ideas into successful platform co‑ops. 

Platform co‑ops are democratically owned and controlled businesses that use an online platform or mobile app to trade, connect people and pool resources or data. They are built on co-operative principles and values that ensure the business truly responds to the needs of its community. The co-op model also keeps control away from external profit driven investors.

The UnFound Accelerator is a 10-week business development programme delivered by Co-operatives UK and supported by The Co-operative Bank. It draws on an extensive network of experts to help platform co-ops plan their businesses and develop their products, strategy, branding and marketing.

The programme also helps participants find the right co-op model for their digital business and take them through the steps to launch it. With weekly workshops, regular check-ins and tailored one-to-one sessions, aspiring entrepreneurs will go from idea to a viable an operating business.

At the end of the 10-week accelerator, teams are invited to pitch their idea to a live audience and have the chance to win a share of a £10,000 prize fund, provided by The Co-operative Bank.

Got an idea for an ethical digital business?

Find out if you can apply to the UnFound Accelerator – the deadline for applications is 6 March 2022
UnFound Accelerator live pitch event – July 2021
The moment the winners of the 2021 UnFound Accelerator LIVE pitch event were revealed

Last year’s online pitch event was attended by more than a hundred members of the public who voted to decide how the £10,000 prize was distributed.  

Red Brick Language School came out top. A teacher-owned online English language community, Red Brick Language School offers clubs and courses in English as a Foreign Language (EFL). It was founded with the aim of creating a community where teachers are valued, paid, treated and supported fairly – and where students are listened to and taught with their best interests at heart.  

Red Brick founder Bernie Kennedy said, “We learnt so much over the ten weeks about co-operation and many aspects of running a worker collective. As teachers, we've broadened our skill set hugely. It has been wonderful to get to know the rest of the cohort – they are truly innovative ideas.” 

In second place, Dopo, was created to offer holistic abortion support that includes access to trained practitioners and self‑care resources. Co-founder, Zachi Brewster, said, “We are so very grateful to have been part of this cohort of the UnFound Accelerator! These 10-weeks with the UnFound team and our fellow platform founders have been invaluable in moving us from an idea to a growing community. And now, with access to this funding, we will continue building our platform based on this upgraded approach to support.” 

Third placed Wings is a food-delivery service in North London. Wings was created in direct response to the gig economy in which riders’ earnings are unpredictable and often below the minimum wage. It pays riders a guaranteed London Living Wage and provides them with job security, sick pay and benefits.

Wings – London’s ethical food delivery platform
Wings – the ethical food delivery platform in North London ©

Former Deliveroo rider, Rich Mason: “Being owned and run by the riders is essential to this mission. For them, this is about taking back power. For customers, we’re offering the best of all worlds – a way to enjoy their favourite food with none of the guilt.”  

Do you have an idea of an ethical digital business? 

To apply for the UnFound Accelerator visit The deadline for applications is midnight 6 March. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed at the end of March. The UnFound Accelerator will run from 27 April to 29 June with the pitch event in July. 

Visit to learn more about platform co-ops and the UnFound programme. 

Keep up to date on the Accelerator or other opportunities relating to platform co-operatives by signing up to the UnFound newsletter

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