Cause UK client, The Key Fund has launched a ground-breaking £2m incubator fund offering 0% interest loans to social entrepreneurs across the East Midlands and North of England.
The second round of Social Incubator North will see the best business ideas receive up to £25k interest-free loan investment with up to 80 hours of tailored one-to-one business support, peer learning, networking and access to business premises.
Social Incubator North is led by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with the four Northern Social Enterprise Partnerships and Locality.
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.
Sam Tarff, CEO of Key Fund, said: “A Social Business is one with enterprise and social impact at its heart, meeting social need and establishing a platform for ethical business, whether it’s a private or social enterprise.”
The first round of Social Incubator North – which is co-funded through the Social Incubator Fund (delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society) – launched in May 2013.
It received 170 enquiries, 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, aims to create 60 new investment ready businesses across all sectors.
Deadline for applications for Round Two is Friday 28th February 2014
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. 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.”
Applicants are invited to visit www.socialincubatornorth.org.uk to find out more about how to apply.