Launching the Venture Studio from Crisis

Liz Choonara, Head of Entrepreneurship

Today, we launch Venture Studio from Crisis which will invest in, support, and create ventures to end homelessness. We want to bring together our expertise with the talent, technology, and agility of startups to end homelessness for good. In 21st century Britain, everybody should have a home of their own. We know that to end homelessness we need housing and forward-thinking policies, but we must also find innovative new solutions to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place and to tackle its consequences. 

What is it?

The Venture Studio will provide access to subject expertise, a test bed with experts-by-experience, funding, and a range of technical, business, and product support to accelerate businesses that are driven to end homelessness. We will work in areas such as prevention and affordable housing provision to develop our own ventures. We will scout for ventures with innovative technology that are in need of our support to shape solutions with dignity for those experiencing homelessness. We want to end the development of inappropriate and inhumane solutions created without a true understanding of homelessness and how to solve it for good.   

To guide our work the Venture Studio from Crisis is based on these founding principles: 

  • Members will be involved at every stage of the Venture Studio – they will lead its development, shape its offer and benefit from its resources   
  • We will establish and seek diverse-led ventures that embody our values, accelerate an end to homelessness and have the potential to generate new income for Crisis  
  • We will collaborate and share with the wider homelessness sector to increase the value of our work   
  • We will leverage the resources of our partners working across sectors to create a community open for all - united in a mission to end homelessness  

Why now and why Crisis? 

We know that more people are at risk of homelessness due to the current pandemic and we need to explore new ways of tackling the issues underlying homelessness. Earlier this year we saw the appetite of supporters internationally to work in sharing their innovation skills when we ran our Ending Homelessness Innovation Challenge with the Collective Foundation which saw 500 participants sign up from 74 countries to develop early-stage ideas to end homelessness. We know that there is demand from members to develop their own ventures and have seen through our Changing Lives programme, which gives grants for the development of business ideas, the transformative impact this can have. 

There is also a great opportunity now to leverage funding for startups working in this space. There has been a significant increase in the number of impact investors in recent years with the market now estimated to be $715bn. We want to shine a light on those that can help bring an end to homelessness and through our convening power ensure they get the right resources to scale fast. As well as the new solutions ventures can offer – there is also the opportunity for us to generate new income to fund our critical work at this time which we have demonstrated our ability to do through our existing enterprises.  

In living our values of adaptability and fearlessness through independence, Crisis itself has demonstrated itself to be a truly entrepreneurial charity in the wake of coronavirus. We quickly adapted our services to continue delivering support for those that need it most and through our, In this together grants scheme and now the Home For All grants scheme that is funding innovative work of smaller charities across the UK. We are well positioned to provide a trusted source of connection and advice for the right startups.  

Who do we want to work with? 

In launching today, we are calling for partners to join us in this new work. We are looking for partners in industry to share technical expertise and resources to help scale ventures. We are looking for partners in academia to help us in scouting for talent and technology. We are looking for fellow organisations in the homelessness sector to increase the impact of this work. We want investors to join us to fund and support the ventures we grow.  

We are on a mission to accelerate an end to homelessness through the Venture Studio and we would like you to join us.  

To find out more and to get in touch to see what role you can play in making this happen visit the Venture Studio from Crisis page

For media enquiries:

E: media@crisis.org.uk
T: 020 7426 3880

For general enquiries:

E: enquiries@crisis.org.uk
T: 0300 636 1967