The £10 million Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, being delivered by The Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society will enable social ventures to access new forms of investment and compete for public service contracts.
Grants of between £50,000 and £150,000 are available on a rolling basis to ambitious social ventures who need at least £500,000 investment, or who want to bid for contracts over £1 million. It is hoped that the grants will enable smaller social enterprises to scale up and bid for public service contracts.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:
"We want to make it easier for charities and social enterprises to access capital. This fund is for ambitious organisations who want to access social finance but know they are not yet investment ready. It allows them to get the support they need."
The Fund is focused on enabling social ventures to access specialist support from an approved investment/contract readiness provider with a track record in helping organisations secure social investment or win contracts.
An engaged Investors Panel, including CAF’s Director of Social Investment Stephanie Sturrock, sits at the heart of the Fund, deciding the kind of support that social ventures applicants need to really scale up their operations and impact.
Ventures will need to work in partnership with an approved provider to submit an application to the Fund. The approved providers for the programme so far are ClearlySo, Locality, Resonance and Social Finance. Additional providers are still welcome to apply to participate in the programme.
The Social Investment Business’ Chief Executive, Jonathan Jenkins said:
“The Fund aims to complement the work of Big Society Capital and catalyse a more vibrant impact investment market in the UK. We want social ventures to collaborate with trusted, experienced providers whose work is deemed “investment grade” by our expert panel. We want to encourage both providers and ventures to develop high quality investment / commissioning grade proposals and have dispensed with traditional sector funding windows to allow organisations the opportunity to submit primed proposals on an on-going basis.”