Social entrepreneurs will be able to apply for a share of an £18.7 pot to help them adapt their business models in the wake of Covid-19.
Recognising the vital role many of these organisations have played in responding to the crisis and ongoing work with communities and marginalised groups, the Social Enterprise Support Fund will provide grants of between £10,000 and £300,000.
It aims to meet an urgent need in the sector to help social enterprises change the way they work, make their spaces Covid-secure, and manage liquidity during the next six months.
The grants are available for social enterprises supporting people at high health risk from coronavirus, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of the pandemic.
Resonance, a social impact investment company with offices on Redcliff Street, along with Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd are the five key partners that have collaborated to deliver the fund, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka.
Daniel Brewer, the CEO of Resonance said: “This funding is crucial – Covid-19 has hit many social entrepreneurs hard, both operationally and financially, it’s important to remember that these entrepreneurs are supporting some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in society, many of which are based in marginalised communities across England.
“In conjunction with our partners, we are committed to ensuring that this funding reaches those entrepreneurs in real need.”
The funding is available thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund and recognises that vulnerable people need support more than ever, but may social enterprises are struggling to make enough income to meet this need.
Those delivering the grants say inclusion is at the heart of the fund and they want to ensure money reaches organisations and groups led by people with disabilities, as well as those from black and ethnic minority communities, LGBTQ+ and leaders with lived experience of the issues that the social enterprise is addressing.
The support agencies delivering the Social Enterprise Support Fund have come together around a common purpose and shared principles of fairness, flexibility, inclusivity, accountability and transparency.
Danyal Sattar, the CEO of The Big Issue Invest, said: “As a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background CEO, I personally and we as an organisation, are very aware of the challenges and disparities that many vulnerable communities and individuals will experience as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The recent #CharitySoWhite movement has brought to the public view the extent to which BAME organisations and individuals feel excluded by the current funding structures. The focus has been on philanthropy and mainstream charities, but social investment is a part of this funding environment too. We encourage social enterprises led by or focused on BAME communities or groups who feel marginalised by us as funders, to apply for this grant support.
“These are unprecedented times, but the impacts are felt disproportionately by BAME communities and we need to support organisations reaching those hardest hit in our society.”
Mark Norbury, the chief executive of UnLtd, added: “We understand that disproportionately affected communities require disproportionate relief.”
The fund is for social enterprises in England, with an annual income between £25,000 and £1.5 million before Covid-19.
Applications are open and the deadline is Monday, July 20. Further information on how to apply is available via www.socialenterprisesupportfund.org.uk.
All photos courtesy of Resonance
Read more: Sector spotlight: social enterprise