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29Jan

Charities Aid Foundation Offers Interest-free Loan Scheme to Social Enterprise Start-ups

John LowChief executive John Low says Social Enterprise Assist, which uses money from businesses, will help to develop partnerships.

The Charities Aid Foundation has announced a scheme that will offer interest-free loans of up to £10,000 each to help new social enterprises.

The scheme, called Social Enterprise Assist, has been set up to help social entrepreneurs gain access to early-stage funding and provide other business support.

CAF has secured £130,000 of funding from Legal & General and £200,000 from the local enterprise partnership Coast to Capital to fund the scheme.

It will be rolled out in Sussex and Croydon, with a view to expanding nationally, after a successful pilot involving social enterprises based in Brighton.

It will initially offer interest-free loans of up to £10,000 each over two to three years, plus the opportunity to tap into expertise from local business.

Interested enterprises in Croydon and Sussex can apply for support from the SE-Assist scheme from March.

Social entrepreneurs are struggling more and more to find early-stage funding as grants drop away and commercial lenders take fewer risks.

This is the perfect opportunity for big business to step forward and support innovation in their local communities. It would be great to see such partnerships between big companies and social start-ups become commonplace.

John Low, Chief Executive, CAF

Graham PreceyAfter such a successful pilot, we had no hesitation in being involved and offering further investment and ‘hands-on’ support on the wider roll-out of the scheme this year.

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Legal & General


27Jan

SE-Assist Roadshow – What is SE-Assist?

social enterprisesSocial enterprises are a key element of the future economy.

SE-Assist delivers support to social enterprises that have clear opportunities for success but require additional support that is not available elsewhere.

SE-Assist provides a blended package of support for social enterprises in Sussex and Croydon, which will include interest free loans, mentoring and access to expert business advice.

We are holding several roadshows across Sussex with the first one taking place in Brighton on the 29 January at the Social Enterprise Centre for Brighton & Hove. At the first event you can hear from Sarah Watkins, one of our SE-Assist 2013 winners from the award winning Parentskool.

Sign up to the free event on 29 January by clicking here.


7Dec

hiSbe Open the Doors to Their Ethical Supermarket

hiSbe Official LaunchToday saw Caroline Lucas officially open the Brighton Pilot Store for hiSbe.

Unique and vibrant small businesses such as hiSbe are vital to Brighton and Hove’s economy. As well as forming part of community life, they provide valuable services, and jobs for local people.

The official hiSbe launch took place on Small Business Saturday, a campaign that encourages people to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.

The campaign is supported by the Federation of Small Businesses, with Chairman John Allan describing it as “an excellent moment to celebrate the contribution that the smallest firms make to local communities and the national economy.”

We’re absolutely thrilled to be opening a supermarket which we hope is going to change people’s shopping habits in Brighton and beyond. The launch has been three years in the making and has come at the perfect time to coincide with Small Business Saturday.

We’re looking forward to meeting our new customers and people who have supported us, and can’t wait to offer fairly priced and fairly produced food.

Ruth Anslow, hiSbe co-founder


5Dec

The Big Lemon Wins Social Enterprise of the Year

big lemonLegal & General sponsored the inaugural award for ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ at the Sussex Business Awards.

The Sussex Business Awards celebrate business excellence across Sussex and 2013 marked the 25th anniversary of the competition.

The Big Lemon won the inaugural award with Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival being Highly Commended.

hiSbe Food CIC and and Young Start-Up Talent were the runners up.


13Nov

Sarah Watkins Goes into Battle and Wins

Sarah Watkins battled it out on the “dragons den” pitching against four other fabulous social enterprises, and won!

This Impact Den event was hosted by the amazing crew at the HUB Westminster, and the prizes include:

  • two months free unlimited membership at the Impact Hub Westminster (Value £790) for one individual
  • global visibility
  • free consulting on business model and messaging to help attract investors and customers
  • a half day branding and messaging consultancy from Mike Pitts – Founder of Marketing Fundamentals Limited
  • free attendance at invite-only networking events and Introduction to potential investors, including the Start Up Loans Company.