A ground-breaking £2m fund has re-opened to entrepreneurs across the North.
The Social Incubator North scheme invites budding entrepreneurs to submit their business idea for its second round, with the chance of up to £25k loan investment and up to 80 hours of tailored one-to-one business support, peer learning, networking and access to business premises for the successful applicants.
All ideas must come with a social backbone, such as offering employment or training to vulnerable members of the community or delivering a service with green credentials.
Social Incubator North, which launched in May this year, received 170 enquiries in its first round, with 114 applications. Of those, 33 went on to receive a place on the programme with participants from the North East, North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.
The scheme, which is co-funded by the Cabinet Office through the Social Incubator Fund, aims to create 60 new investment ready businesses across all sectors.
Social Incubator North is led by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with the four Northern Social Enterprise Partnerships and Locality.
Sam Tarff, CEO of Key Fund, said:
The initial response to the programme was just incredible, showing there’s a real appetite for entrepreneurs who want to not only create good businesses but business that does good.
Key Fund has significant experience of successful investment, consortium management and business development for the social enterprise sector.
Mr Tarff added:
It’s an incredibly exciting concept as anyone with a competitive and brilliant idea can apply, it doesn’t have to be perfectly formed to start with. It goes to a grassroots level so really opens up the market to help ignite local economies. 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.