Key Fund announced as UK Social Enterprise Awards

Cause UK is delighted its client Key Fund has reached the UK Social Enterprise Awards finals.  The national competition, now in its 15th year, recognises the work and achievements of Britain’s most…

Cause UK is delighted its client Key Fund has reached the UK Social Enterprise Awards finals.  The national competition, now in its 15th year, recognises the work and achievements of Britain’s most inspiring and successful social enterprises. There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK.

 Key Fund is a finalist in the Overall Social Enterprise of the Year category.

Key Fund is Britain’s biggest regional investor in the social economy market. It offers finance in the form of loans, grants and equity packages to other social enterprises and not-for-private-profit organisations across the North of England, investing over £29m to date.

Ann Oldroyd, CEO of Key Fund, said: “We are extremely proud to be finalists in such prestigious national awards. The social and environmental impact Key Fund has supported in the form of thousands of social enterprises in the last decade has been remarkable. Our success proves that social enterprises can and do transform the lives of the most disadvantaged in society. We are passionate about nurturing positive social impact at the heart of all business.”

Key Fund helps charities, voluntary groups, community interest companies and social entrepreneurs finance their ventures when they’ve been turned down by mainstream banks and lenders, it works closely with their business plans to ensure the future is sustainable.

The awards are organised by Social Enterprise UK, the national body for social enterprises, businesses that reinvest their profits for good, benefitting people and planet.

Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: “We received hundreds of entries this year and the quality of the finalists is outstanding – the judges are going to have a really tough job choosing the winners. The awards are a celebration of Britain’s very best social enterprises, businesses that are making a positive difference here in the UK and abroad. Social enterprises are businesses that put people and planet first – when they profit, society profits.”

The UK finals will be held in London on 27th November, hosted by comedian and television presenter Sue Perkins of The Great British Bake Off.

The Social Enterprise Awards are sponsored by The Independent on Sunday, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, BP, Landmarc, PwC, Nuffield Health, InterContinental Hotels Group, SITA UK and Santander.


Social enterprise facts and figures (from The People’s Business report, published by Social Enterprise UK, July 2013)


  • There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing 24 billion to the UK economy and employing 1 million people.
  • Social enterprises are much more likely to be led by women than mainstream businesses – 38% of social enterprises have a female leader, compared with 19% of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and 3% of FTSE 100 companies.
  • Social enterprises are very heavily concentrated in the UK’s most deprived communities – 38% of all social enterprises work in the most deprived 20% of communities in the UK, compared to 12% of traditional SMEs.



For more information, please contact Ann Chadwick at Cause UK or ring 07534892715 or the Social Enterprise UK press office on 020 3589 4951 / 4949.

Notes to Editors

About the Key Fund

South Yorkshire was facing a grim future with the downturn in the steel and coal industries and the scourge of long-term unemployment was a black cloud over its future. In 1999 the Key Fund was born by a group of entrepreneurs from Locality (formerly the DTA, South Yorkshire Community Foundation) and the Sheffield Community Enterprise Development Unit.

They pooled their experience and skills from working in the Third Sector with a philanthropic impulse to meet the glaring needs of budding social enterprises and community organisations.

In 2002, the Key Fund escaped a culture dependant on grants and made its first loan.

Their objective remains the same as it did when it began: to remove the barriers within society and the financial markets that help propagate poverty and disadvantage.

Today, the Key Fund is a market leader in innovation recognising the nature and environment within which social businesses operate, namely; disadvantage and market failure.

The Key Fund in Statistics


Loans, grant and equity investments from £5,000 to £150,000 totalling over £29 million.

254% increase in investments (£800,000 in 2002 to £2.8million in 2012).

1679% increase in loans only (£112,000 in 2002 to £1.9million in 2012)

2,000+ organisations supported.

1,800+ jobs created or preserved.

175 business start-ups funded.

14 industry sectors supported.

£342,000 average loan value.

12.4% APR typical price (36 month term).

7.4% bad debt & write off.

For much more about Key Fund

About Social Enterprise UK

Social Enterprise UK is the national body for social enterprise. Social enterprises are businesses that exist for a social or environmental purpose. When they profit, society profits. Together with our members we are the voice for social enterprise in the UK. Our members are local grass-roots organisations and multi-million pound businesses that operate internationally. What unites them is their commitment to changing the world through business.  For more information, visit