Pioneering Fund Reopens to Provide Critical Financial and Business Support for Social Enterprises in Wales

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.

21 Apr, 17

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.

The multi-award-winning Social Enterprise Assist (SE-Assist) scheme, first piloted in Brighton & Hove in 2012, connects local social enterprises with larger companies in the local area and as a result injects prosperity into local communities. This innovative initiative is funded by Legal & General and managed by CAF Venturesome to help social enterprises get off the ground, thrive and drive regeneration in Wales. The SE-Assist Fund was created in partnership with the Welsh Government, Wales Co-operative Centre, Business in the Community Wales and the Institute of Directors Wales. Last year, following a record number of applications and rigorous due diligence process, offers of support were made to six social businesses across Wales:

  • Antur ‘Stiniog promotes local tourism through a downhill mountain bike and tourist information centre based in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
  • Book of You trains nursing home carers in Denbigshire on how to use a web app to deliver multimedia reminiscence therapy.
  • Canolfan Beaumaris is a leisure centre providing sports, health and community services to the residents of Anglesey.
  • Elite Paper Solutions provides training and employment to disabled people through a document storage, scanning, and recycling business in Merthyr Tydfil.
  • The Llanhilleth Miners Institute near Abertillery is a listed building and a centre for community engagement.
  • The Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership, based in Cardiff, promotes the use of restorative approaches in dealing with human conflict.

Businesses interested in more details and how to apply can find out more on the SE-Assist Wales website at https://se-assist.co.uk/wales/. Applications open on 21 April 2017.

“We are delighted that the SE-Assist Wales fund is being opened again for a second round of investment. The social business sector in Wales is flourishing, and is worth an estimated £2.37 billion to the Welsh economy. The support that SE-Assist can provide to early stage social enterprises will help to grow this even further.

“The return of the SE-Assist Wales fund is welcomed by us because the fund provides vital help to fledgling social enterprises so they can get a sustainable footing within their sector and access growth opportunities.

“Social businesses are providing jobs, training opportunities and economic activity in local communities across Wales. We are looking forward to working with our partners again on delivering SE-Assist Wales, and helping more Welsh social businesses to realise their growth potential.”

DEREK WALKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE WALES CO-OPERATIVE CENTRE

“We are delighted that the Legal & General SE-Assist Fund has been such a success and as a result we are now able to offer a second round of investment to support a number of local and varied enterprises across Wales – we are very excited to be involved in their development and help them progress.”

GRAHAM PRECEY, HEAD OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AT LEGAL & GENERAL

“We are thrilled to be opening SE-Assist for a second round of investment in Wales to help early stage social enterprises thrive. Social enterprises can make a huge difference to people in the communities where they operate and create significant social impact.

“As one of the UK’s longest standing social investment funds, CAF Venturesome is excited to work with our partners to grow access to finance and business expertise for early stage social enterprises in Wales.

“These forward-thinking entrepreneurs often struggle to find the right kind of financing and support they need to enable them to get their ideas off the ground. SE-Assist focuses on channelling resources for growth, allowing social enterprises to flourish.”

HOLLY PIPER, HEAD OF CAF VENTURESOME AT THE CHARITIES AID FOUNDATION