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Thursday 13 July 2017

Great British Scaleup Unilink: A prison success story!

Unlink logoPrisoner self-service and offender management specialist Unilink Group took part in our Little British Battler programme in 2016 – see Little British Battler Report 8 – and has grown so quickly that it was selected to be part of our inaugural Great British Scaleup event, run in association with ScaleUp Group and Cogeco Peer 1, just a year later.

Group revenues have almost doubled over the last twelve months, thanks in no small part of a significant new contract with the UK’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on the Digital Prisons project. The contract was secured through G-Cloud in September 2016 and represents a step change for the SME. Until this point, Unilink was working with all 17 private prisons in the UK (and others in Australia, New Zealand and Europe) but struggling to break fully into the UK public sector prison market.

GBS logoWe met CEO and founder Francis Toye and Head of Business Development Zaneta Whitworth for an enjoyable Great British Scaleup session earlier this month. Their passion for the sector remains palpable and it’s clear that Unilink’s software, prisoner self-service kiosks and now prisoner tablets, have quantifiable benefits for both prisoners and prison staff above and beyond improving the efficiency of prisons and saving money. A study by York University found that by automating processes such as meal choices and visit requests, Unilink’s offering reduced prisoner frustration which in turn made prisons safer, increasing the rehabilitation success rate and reducing staff sickness by as much as 12%. We particularly liked Unilink’s latest initiative, which sees prisoners building the custom-made kiosks that run the software themselves.

As for Unilink’s plans to scale up further, having successfully secured the MoJ contract with English prisons we expect it to turn business development attention to Australia and then continental Europe - both of which present significant opportunities - and to continue expanding its product set, adding capabilities in online education for example.

Needless to say, we look forward to following the progress of this Great British Scaleup - and of all the other fast growing companies we have met during this inaugural session of the GBS programme - over the coming months.

Posted by Tola Sargeant at '08:39' - Tagged: justice   scaleup