Pioneering fund provides critical financial and business support for social enterprises in wales.

29 January 2016

Team from the social enterprise TheBevy (photo)

Social enterprises in Wales now have the opportunity to apply for a package of finance and support aimed at transforming their business as well as supporting their local community.

Successful applicants will be offered an interest free loan of between £10,000 and £30,000, mentoring from corporate supporters and access to a bank of experts.

Connecting social enterprises with larger companies to benefit local communities

We first piloted the multi-award-winning Social Enterprise Assist (SE-Assist) scheme in Brighton & Hove in 2012, connecting local social enterprises with larger companies in the local area, and as a result inject prosperity into local communities.

We have provided the funding to help social enterprises get off the ground, thrive and drive regeneration in Wales.

Commitment from the Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has committed to a secondment to support the development of the fund in Wales. Founding partners the Welsh Co-operative, Business in the Community, the Institute of Directors, and the Charities Aid Foundation have joined forces to develop and launch SE-Assist in Wales.

Now offering more social enterprises nationally

Since the launch of its initial pilot, SE-Assist has successfully supported 16 social enterprises in Sussex and Croydon. Previous social enterprises have included ethical supermarket hiSbe, dementia interventionist, Engage & Create, The Bevy (pictured) and sustainable farming co-operative Ecological Land Co-op. They are all part of the SE-Assist story, and now through SE-Assist Wales, SE-Assist can offer more social enterprises nationally an opportunity to grow. Over ninety jobs have been created as a result of the success of businesses that have been funded to date.

Businesses interested in more details and how to apply can find out more on the SE-Assist Wales website.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, Wales’ national body for co-operatives and social businesses, said: “The number of social enterprises in Wales has grown rapidly in recent years, with 19% of social enterprises established within the last three years and a prevalence of social enterprises in the leisure, education, environment and health sectors. However, mature social enterprises are more like to receive donations or to trade with the public sector than young social enterprises, with organisations commonly citing lack of access to finance and cash flow issues as barriers to sustainability. The SE-Assist Wales fund is welcomed by us because it exists to plug this gap in support to help fledgling social enterprises get a sustainable footing within their sector and access growth opportunities.”

Graham Precey, our Head of Corporate Responsibility said: “Legal & General is pleased to bring this award winning new Social Enterprise Assist fund to Wales. So far, compared to the other regions where we’ve provided this fund to in Croydon and Sussex, we’ve been hugely impressed at the amount of social impact and job creation that social enterprises have the potential to create here in Wales. Alongside our work as a major employer in Wales and as a major investor, recently announcing our £400m investment in Cardiff regeneration, it seems only natural that we should bring our social investment fund to help the Welsh social economy to thrive. Not only will we be putting capital into the fund we will be bringing our employees mentoring skills too.”

Lynne Sheehy, CSR Manager for Cardiff

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