Terms and Conditions

1. Eligibility: The Ignite competition, hereinafter referred to as “Ignite,” is exclusively designated for social entrepreneurs. All applicants must submit their applications as duly constituted organisations. Ignite is a competition for the rising stars in social enterprise, aimed at students and recent graduates who are actively engaged in social enterprise endeavours. To ensure fairness, transparency, and to verify applicants as social enterprises, specific eligibility criteria have been outlined. All applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria prior to application:

  • At least one team member must have graduated from a UK university in the past 3 years.
  • Applicants must represent an existing organisation.
  • Applicants must be able to provide demonstrable evidence of impact and commitment to social and environmental goals
  • Organisations applying to Ignite must have a turnover and/or previous funding of under £100,000.
  • Applicants must be available for a live pitching final in October based in London.
  • Organisations must have a plan to generate 50% or more of their income through trading within 3 years.
  • Applicants must be social enterprises built for impact with a legal structure to support the commitment to social change. This should include at least one of the following characteristics:
    • an asset lock,
    • a mission statement,
    • articles or a written commitment to impact,
    • a formal commitment to reinvest profits into the business, beneficiaries or community

All finalists will be subject to a due diligence check and will be expected to provide supporting evidence. In the event an applicant is found to have falsified information they will be disqualified from the competition.

2. Support: Ignite aims to create a supportive application process from start to finish to enhance the application experience and ensure that all applicants feel prepared and able to apply. This support encompasses various touchpoints throughout the application process, including pre-application, application, and post-event stages.

  • Application Support: Applicants are encouraged to seek support and guidance from their respective networks throughout the application and competition process. Ford Family Foundation will host a series of application webinars as to support application, and applicants are encouraged to attend for their opportunity to find out more and ask any questions. Ford Family Foundation will also make contact with all universities to ensure they feel able to effectively support their students.
  • Pre event support: All finalists will be provided with group workshop sessions and at minimum, one individual coaching session, as part of the Ignite program. These sessions are free of charge and designed to enhance participants’ readiness and performance during the live final event. Whilst these are not a formal requirement, we strongly encourage all finalists to attend.
  • Post-Event Support: All finalists shall have access to post-event support from the Ford Family Foundation and its wider network. This support aims to provide guidance, mentorship, and resources to help finalists continue their social enterprise journey beyond the Ignite competition. The Ford Family Foundation is committed to ongoing relationships with Ignite participants and supporting their long-term success in driving social impact.

3. Funding Structure: Ignite Impact Accelerator Grants are offered in the form of equity free grants, with a maximum award of up to £20,000. All finalists selected through the competition process will receive a portion of the total grant prize fund of £50,000. The funding will be allocated as follow: 2 x runner up’s at £5000, 3rd place £7,500, 2nd place £12,500 and a 1st place prize of £20,000. It is explicitly stated that these grants constitute unrestricted funding and may be allocated towards bona fide business expenses on the condition that these expenses directly result in delivery of greater social impact. These grants are intended to enhance the impact a social enterprise is able to deliver, with the explicit aim of facilitating maximum impact outcomes that deliver public benefit and act in accordance with the mission of the Ford Family Foundation.

4. Grant Agreement: Successful applicants are required to execute a legally binding grant agreement with the Ford Family Foundation. This agreement delineates the terms and conditions governing the utilisation of grant funds and serves as a safeguard against potential misuse of funding. Applicants, upon receipt of grant funding, shall be contractually obligated to provide impact data for a duration of 24 months post-allocation of funds, as stipulated by the Ford Family Foundation. This requirement is in alignment with the UK Charity Commission’s guidelines to ensure that the use of funding contributes to public benefit.

5. Impact Requirement: Ignite will consider all areas of impact, prioritising those social enterprises that demonstrate the most promise for authentic impact, including the greatest understanding of the problem they are trying to solve, provide the most effective solution, offer an innovative approach, and are capable of delivering impact at scale. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the impact their social enterprise has had and has the potential to deliver.

6. Due Diligence: The Ford Family Foundation shall undertake the responsibility for conducting a comprehensive due diligence process on all finalists selected to participate in Ignite. Applicants shall be required to cooperate with the Ford Family Foundation by providing any evidence or information requested during the due diligence process. This process encompasses a thorough examination of organisational structures, financial standing, legal compliance, operational history, and potential conflicts of interest. Such due diligence measures are undertaken to ensure the integrity and credibility of participants in Ignite and to meet the requirements of the UK Charity Commission.

7. Finalists’ Obligations: Finalists selected to proceed to the live final event must commit to attending said event in person. This may be attended by and individual or team but must include at least one team member who has attended a UK university within the last three years. Additionally, finalists are required to comply with any necessary due diligence checks and attend any prior meetings deemed necessary for the success of the event. The grant agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the funding shall be provided to all shortlisted finalists for full transparency. Finalists, upon receipt of grant funding, shall be contractually obligated to provide impact data for a duration of 24 months post-allocation of funds. Finalists are solely responsible for covering their own travel and associated expenses incurred in connection with attending the live final event.

8. Judging Process: The pre-screening and initial judging phases of Ignite will be conducted jointly by the Ford Family Foundation and an independent panel of experts. The final judging panel, which determines the ultimate winners, will be chaired by a designated representative of the Ford Family Foundation. The decisions reached by this final judging panel shall be binding and conclusive. The Ford Family Foundation reserves the right to amend any part of the judging process based on the volume and quality of applications to ensure the necessary quality in judging. Depending on the volume, a long and short list may be introduced to the process.

9. Follow-up Investment: Finalists in the Ignite competition are eligible for potential follow-up investment opportunities from the Ford Family Foundation subsequent to the conclusion of the competition should this be of interest to both parties.

10. Consent to External Communications and PR: By applying to Ignite, applicants hereby consent to the use of their organisation’s name, logo, images, and any related information provided in their application for external communications and public relations purposes. This consent includes, but is not limited to, press releases, public announcements, social media posts, and website features related to Ignite and the Ford Family Foundation. Applicants acknowledge that Ignite and the Ford Family Foundation will make reasonable efforts to ensure accurate representation of their organisations and their participation in Ignite. Applicants retain the right to request the removal of their organisation’s information from any communications or PR materials by contacting the Ford Family Foundation’s communications team.

11. Misuse of Funds: It is expressly prohibited for grant recipients to utilise Ignite funding for purposes other than those explicitly outlined in their grant agreement and in alignment with the objectives of the Ford Family Foundation. Any misuse or misappropriation of funds may result in disqualification from the competition and potential legal recourse for repayment of disbursed funds.

12. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Ignite is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment, and we strive to make the competition accessible for all participants. We recognise the importance of accommodating diverse needs and backgrounds. Ignite will provide additional support where required to ensure equitable participation. For any accessibility requirements or inquiries, participants can contact us directly at ignite@fordfamilyfoundation.org.

By participating in Ignite, applicants acknowledge and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. The Ford Family Foundation reserves the right to amend, modify, or supplement these terms and conditions at its sole discretion and without prior notice.