The Government has announced the North of England will receive over £1m from its Social Incubator Fund to nurture social businesses across the regions.
‘Social Incubator North’ will be led by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with Locality, The North East Social Enterprise Partnership and three other regional social enterprise partnerships in the north of England: the government funding will be matched with another £1m from the delivery partners. The £10m Social Incubator Fund launched last year is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society.
The funding will enable Social Incubator North to provide investment into local social start-ups or expanding businesses and offer a period of intensive support. This will help turn early stage ideas into successful businesses that change lives, by giving entrepreneurs access to the resources they need to get their ventures off the ground. Key Fund is the only regional social business specific community development finance institution in the UK. It has significant experience of successful investment, consortium management and business development.
Ann Oldroyd, CEO of Key Fund, said: “We have over a decades’ experience nurturing new enterprises with a social conscience, and so we’re absolutely thrilled to lead this initiative for the North. Together with our delivery partners we can really make a hugely positive impact across the region.”
Social Enterprise Yorkshire and the Humber (SEYH), North East Social Enterprise Partnership (NESEP), Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM), Social Enterprise North West (SENW) and Locality are the delivery partners.
Each partner is a membership body responsible for directing growth in their particular region. Locality is the national membership body at the forefront of locally led community development and a longstanding partner of government in establishing and leading the growth of regeneration methodologies such as asset transfer and community share issues. It is intended that the programme will launch very quickly, in the next month or so.
Karen Wood, Chief Executive of NESEP said: “It’s a Northern alliance at work. We understand the market conditions at grass roots and together are best placed to interpret and react to the characteristics of our region’s economy. It’s an exciting initiative for the North. Social business can be any kind of model as long as it aims to have a positive social or environmental impact and there’s market demand for it. We really want to inspire people to come forward who have a passionate idea but just need the right support and access to finance to make it happen.”