Business Enterprise Fund L-R: head of marketing Nicolas Kendall, chief executive Steve Waud and head of investment Simon Jackson
A Yorkshire-based social enterprise has secured £15m of funds to support businesses in the post-industrial areas of the north of England; the first of several planned funds.
The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) has received an initial £7.5m cash boost from Big Society Capital, a major social impact investor which works with Social Investment Scotland to connect investment with SMEs and social enterprises throughout areas that need it most.
Chief executive of BEF, Steve Waud, said the organisation wants to increase its funding support in these post-industrial areas in which it works. He explained: “It has taken a long time to secure this social impact funding and our ‘fund for the North’ is the first of its kind.
“We are currently developing additional social impact funds and hope to announce a further £15m early next year – this is all part of our continuing growth plans to help the North’s economy through supporting SMEs, where for every £1 we lend, over £4 is added to the local economy. In the next couple of years, our impact is set to equate to nearly £0.25bn.”
In its 2018 social impact report, BEF outlined plans to weave into the fabric of its operations, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on reducing inequalities and making these post-industrial areas more resilient and sustainable.
“By 2022 we want to have a 5% year-on-year increase on lending in the north of England – which is especially necessary in the current volatile economic environment - with this additional £15m funding we’re on track to do just that,” said Steve, who has headed BEF since it was established in 2004.
Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: “The impact BEF is making on its communities via the businesses it’s helping is very exciting to us; we’re looking forward to working with them in the future and seeing how the £15m is distributed to organisations supporting disadvantaged areas.”
The UK Social Entrepreneur Index, sponsored by UBS, is a celebration of social entrepreneurship across the UK.
Open to social entrepreneurs tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale, entrants will act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact.
For more info visit www.socialentsindex.co.uk.
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