A ground-breaking £2m ‘incubator’ fund designed to unlock northern business soul has been launched.
Budding entrepreneurs from across the north of England are invited to apply for Social Incubator North. The fund is expecting over 200 applicants, of which it hopes to create 60 new investment ready businesses.
Successful applicants will not only receive up to £25k investment but 80 hours of tailored one-to-one business support alongside peer learning and networking and access to business premises.
All ideas however must come with a social backbone. The enterprises must deliver more than the financial bottom line, creating positive social or environmental impact, such as offering employment or training to vulnerable members of the community or delivering a service with Green credentials.
Jonathan Straight, founder of Straight Recycling Systems, who helped launched the scheme at Sheffield University, said: “My business was built on improving the environment, but it’s also hugely successful. You can build fantastic businesses with good intentions at their heart. Improving the world we live in is one of the richest gifts entrepreneurs can offer. I’m delighted to back this new fund and encourage anyone with a great business idea to come forward.”
Jonathan holds the prestigious national title of Quoted Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Other high profile entrepreneurs, including Secret Millionaire Carl Hopkins, also supported the launch. The co-funded Government initiative aims to offer meaningful futures across all sectors of industry.
Social Incubator North is led by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with four regional Social Enterprise Partnerships and Locality. Key Fund has significant experience of successful investment, consortium management and business development for the social enterprise sector.
Ann Oldroyd, CEO of Key Fund, said: “It’s an incredibly exciting concept because it goes to a grassroots level. It really opens up the market to help ignite local economies across the north. Unlike other funds, it’s geared up to deliver that practical, hands-on support to take ideas step-by-step into reality, so these new businesses have solid foundations from which to fly.”