Big Issue Invest has come together with other organisations including The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd to deliver £18.7 million in grants, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka.
The Social Enterprise Fund will provide essential financial support between £10,000 and £300,000 to help social enterprises during COVID-19. The first round of applications closed on the 20th July but the second round will re-open on the 13th August.
This has been made possible thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises have been at the heart of community survival and recovery during this crisis, from making PPE for health workers, to providing food and connection in their neighbourhoods.
The Social Enterprise Support Fund responds to an urgent need in the sector to help social enterprises change the way they work, make their spaces COVID-secure, and manage liquidity during the next six months.
The fund is aimed at social enterprises supporting people at high health risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.
Vulnerable people need this support more than ever, but social ventures are struggling to make enough income to meet this need. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.
We welcome The National Lottery Community Fund’s recognition of the valuable contribution to our economy and society which social enterprises make, enabling a fund that will help critical businesses survive and thrive.
The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that the grants reach groups that are led by people from BAME communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and leaders with lived experience of the issues that the social enterprise is addressing.
Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest said: “As a BAME background Chief Executive Officer of The Big Issue Invest, I personally and we as an organisation are very aware of the challenges and disparities that many vulnerable communities and individuals will experience as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The recent #CharitySoWhite movement has bought to the public view the extent to which BAME organisations and individuals feel excluded by the current funding structures. The focus has been on philanthropy and mainstream charities, but Social Investment is a part of this funding environment too. We encourage social enterprises led by or focused on BAME communities or groups who feel marginalised by us as funders, to apply for this grant support.
“These are unprecedented times but the impacts are felt disproportionately by BAME communities and we need to support organisations reaching those hardest hit in our society.”