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20Apr

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.

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.

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, Wales’ National body for co-operatives and social businesses

Graham PreceyWe 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


26Jan

Pioneering Fund Provides 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.

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. Leading insurer and Welsh employer Legal & General, which has a 1,300 employee strong office in Cardiff, has provided the funding to help social enterprises get off the ground, thrive and drive regeneration in Wales. The SE-Assist fund sits alongside Legal & General’s recent £400m investment into Cardiff’s Central Square property redevelopment project, the largest investment of its kind ever made in Wales.

The Welsh Government has committed to a secondment to support the development of the fund in Wales. Founding partners the Welsh Cooperative, Business in the Community, the Institute of Directors, and the Charities Aid Foundation have joined forces to develop and launch SE-Assist in Wales.

Since the launch of its initial pilot, SE-Assist has successfully supported 16 social enterprises in Sussex and Croydon. Previous examples of social enterprises include ethical supermarket hiSbe, dementia interventionist Engage & Create, and sustainable farming cooperative Ecological Land Co-op. They are all part of the SE-Assist story, and now through SE-Assist Wales, SE-Assist can offer more social enterprises nationally an opportunity to grow. Over ninety jobs have been created as a result of the success of businesses that have been funded to date.

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 29 January 2016.

The number of social enterprises in Wales has grown rapidly in recent years, with 19% of social enterprises established within the last three years and a prevalence of social enterprises in the leisure, education, environment and health sectors.

However, mature social enterprises are more like to receive donations or to trade with the public sector than young social enterprises, with organisations commonly citing lack of access to finance and cash flow issues as barriers to sustainability.

The SE-Assist Wales fund is welcomed by us because it exists to plug this gap in support to help fledgling social enterprises get a sustainable footing within their sector and access growth opportunities.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, Wales’ National body for co-operatives and social businesses

Graham PreceyLegal & General is pleased to bring this award winning new Social Enterprise Assist fund to Wales. So far, compared to the other regions where we’ve provided this fund to in Croydon and Sussex, we’ve been hugely impressed at the amount of social impact and job creation that social enterprises have the potential to create here in Wales.

Alongside our work as a major employer in Wales and as a major investor, recently announcing our £400m investment in Cardiff regeneration, it seems only natural that we should bring our social investment fund to help the Welsh social economy to thrive. Not only will we be putting capital into the fund we will be bringing our employees mentoring skills too.

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Legal & General

We are thrilled to be bringing SE-Assist to Wales to support early stage social enterprises to 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


26Aug

SE-Assist Wales Currently in Development

We are excited to announce that we are currently developing SE-Assist Wales, with a launch provisionally planned for winter 2015/16.

Social Enterprises

Following the announcement made on 29th September 2015 at the Social Enterprise Awards Wales, we are on the look out for ambitious social enterprises looking to scale their impact. SE-Assist provides interest free loan finance between £10,000 – £30,000, dedicated mentoring from a corporate partner and access to business expertise to support social enterprise growth aims.

We are currently accepting Expressions of Interest from social enterprise who might be interested in applying to the scheme, with a full application round scheduled to launch in the winter 2015/16.

Partners

SE-Assist is an innovative scheme that has successfully launched in two regions. SE-Assist has already supported 10 organisations across Sussex and Croydon, helping social enterprises to thrive and creating over 60 new jobs. We now plan to expand this to Wales.

To date, Legal & General has committed £100,000 and mentors to start the SE-Assist Wales fund, and Business in the Community and the Institute of Directors in Wales have been fundamental to bringing together Welsh business to support the scheme.

The Welsh Government has committed to a secondment to support the programme’s roll out. We continue to look for partners to support local regeneration through support for social enterprises. If you are a company, entrepreneur or philanthropist interested in growing the social economy in Wales, we want to hear from you.

Click here to email us if you would like to partner with us.