Big Issue Invest

Fund reopens to continue to deliver much needed grant funding to social enterprises

The Social Enterprise Support Fund is now open for applications, continuing its focus on social enterprises supporting their communities to recover from the pandemic.

  • Social Enterprise Support Fund is now open to provide £16.3m of grants to social enterprises in England to support those impacted by COVID-19
  • The fund will provide grants of between £10,000 and £100,000
  • The fund launched in December and saw over 800 applications, and a request for funding of over £37m
  • The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that at least 50% of grants reach groups that are led by: people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; LGBTQ+ communities; disabled people; and/or leaders with lived experience of the issues their social enterprise is addressing.
  • Money for the fund comes from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK

The Social Enterprise Support Fund is now open for applications, continuing its focus on social enterprises supporting their communities to recover from the pandemic.

This follows the first round of applications received in December, which saw over 800 applications from enterprises across England, requesting grants to the value of over £37m. These applications are currently being assessed and enterprises notified.

The fund is available to social enterprises if most of their beneficiaries are in England, and their annual income has been between £20,000 and £1.8m in either of the last two financial years.

Five social enterprise support agencies have come together to deliver the fund, which will help social enterprises across England rebuild and grow their income from trading, enabling them to support their communities to recover from the crisis. Big Issue Invest, Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs and UnLtd will jointly deliver the grants, aiming to help 500 enterprises. Money for the fund comes from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The COVID-19 crisis continues to disproportionately hurt communities who already experience social and economic inequalities. The fund will support social entrepreneurs who help these communities, including leaders with lived experience, and ensure they can put their solutions into practice to help people most impacted by the crisis. The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises will be at the heart of community recovery from this crisis. Social enterprises create economic growth while helping people in need or improving the environment

The economic and social impact of COVID-19 has laid bare structural inequalities in our society. People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, disabled people, people with lower educational outcomes, those on lower incomes, and the young have been hit the hardest by the crisis. Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have also been more affected by business shutdowns and suffered a drop in earnings nearly three times larger than their white counterparts.

The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that the at least 50% of grants reach groups that are led by: people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; LGBTQ+ communities; disabled people; and/or leaders with lived experience of the issues their social enterprise is addressing.

Welcoming the reopening of the fund Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd said: “It has been fantastic to be able to support so many applications in the first round of our Social Enterprise Support Fund – and yet we know it can still be so challenging for social enterprises. If you’re a social entrepreneur and need funding to realise the impact you could create, then please apply for this the final round of the Fund. We particularly welcome applications from communities most affected by the pandemic – at least 50% of our grants will go to Black, Asian, minority ethnic and or disabled entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are vital to a society where everybody can thrive. This is why we’re offering this fund – so we can together transform our world for good.”

Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest, said: “This has been a great programme to deliver once more with our four partner organisations, thanks to the support of The National Lottery Community Fund. The demand for grants from social enterprises and enterprising charities has been unsurprisingly strong once again. We have a second round of funding opening, which gives even more excellent organisations an opportunity to apply for funds in order to restart and recover from the negative effects of the pandemic.”

Daniel Brewer, CEO, Resonance said: “We have unsurprisingly seen a massive demand for grants from a wide range of enterprises in Round 1. We know that social enterprises are at the heart of communities and at the heart of the recovery from the pandemic, especially for those communities that already face social and economic inequalities. We are looking forward to receiving even more applications from those enterprises who are led by: people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities; LGBTQ+ communities; disabled people; and/or leaders with lived experience of the issues their social enterprise is addressing.”

For more information and to apply social enterprise should visit  http://socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk/.

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Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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