New £5.5m Northern Impact
Fund launches for social enterprises
A new £5.5m fund, offering grant and
unsecured loan finance to social enterprises has launched across the North of
England and the Midlands.
Key Fund, a long standing investor in community and social enterprises, is
delivering the Northern Impact Fund, aimed at new and early stage enterprises
who are seeking finance to support growth.
Matt Smith, CEO of the Key Fund, said:- "With this fund
we're offering finance of up to £150k, but typical investments will be around
£50k, with up to 20% of the amount available as grant. The Key Fund was one of
the early pioneers in this space, and our original model was based on a grant
and loan mix, so we're really excited to be going back to that original model.
It's long been our belief that grants can play a very important role in helping
new and smaller social enterprise become more robust."
The Northern Impact Fund is open to applications from social enterprises
operating in the Midlands, North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.
Matt said:- "We have always believed small organisations can deliver big
impact in disadvantaged communities. In this current economic climate, we are
seeing good businesses struggling and access to finance and support has never
been so crucial, so we're delighted to be delivering the Northern Impact Fund."
The grant is aimed to help cover the initial costs related to social impact,
such as investing in training for young people and staff, as the enterprise gets
up and running.
Key Fund has supported hundreds of social enterprises; businesses that put
people before profit; for over 15 years. 1 of its 1st grant/loan
investments was in Barnsley Community Build, which delivers training and
employment in the construction industry for young people and those disadvantaged
in the labour market. It was established in 2001 and with Key Fund's support,
has now evolved into a self sustaining social enterprise. It also provides
housing for vulnerable adults, and is a social landlord supporting a wide range
of charities in Barnsley, as well as running a community café with meals on
wheels for the elderly.
Matt said:- "Barnsley Community Build is living proof that passion and
determination, matched with the right blend of financial support, can and does
make a significant difference to the development of sustainable enterprises. Our
founding mission is to break down the barriers that hinder the growth of local
economies and communities, for a fair society."
The Northern Impact Fund has received support from the Growth Fund, which is an
initiative of Access; the Foundation for Social Investment. The Growth Fund has
been designed to increase the availability of small, affordable, unsecured loans
for charities and social enterprises. The Growth Fund totals £45m and provides a
blend of loan from Big Society Capital and grant from the Big Lottery Fund, to
social investors across England. This allows those social investors to offer
smaller loans and take much greater risk than some other lenders are able to.
Seb Elsworth, Access's Chief Executive, said:- "The blend of loan and
grant, which we make available to social investors, like the
Key Fund, means that they can provide
smaller loans on affordable terms with appropriate support. We are also
encouraging the development of partnerships which can help to open access to
social investment for more charities and social enterprises to help them to
sustain and grow their impact."