Cabinet Office
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£10 million social incubator fund launches

Start-up social ventures will now be able to access intensive support through the new £10 million Social Incubator Fund, which was launched recently by Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd.

Big Society Capital, which was launched in April 2012, provides significantly improved access to capital for more established social ventures. The Social Incubator Fund will strengthen the growing social investment market by providing start-ups with intensive support to enable them to take advantage of social investment opportunities so they better serve communities and people most in need.

To help grow the market and support smaller organisations the Government has introduced the Investment Readiness Programme to support social ventures. This programme has two elements:

  • the £10 million Investment and Contract Readiness Fund (managed by The Social Investment Business), which will help more established social ventures access social investment of at least £500,000; and
  • the £10 million Social Incubator Fund (administered over the next three years by Big Fund), which specifically targets social incubators to help them provide investment and support to early stage social ventures.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:

We want to help social entrepreneurs to create innovative solutions to difficult social problems. The Social Incubator Fund will significantly increase the number and quality of early stage social ventures in the UK.

"This fund strengthens our commitment to the social investment market by generating a credible pipeline of social investment opportunities for the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund and eventually Big Society Capital.

"The Fund will be administered by the Big Lottery Fund and will make grant awards to up to ten organisations over three rounds of awards. Grants for the first round will be awarded in January 2013; subsequent rounds will be launched in 2013 and 2014."

Nat Sloane, Big Fund England Chair, said:

The Big Lottery Fund’s knowledge and experience as a key funding distributor will prove vital in delivering the Social Incubator Fund, leading to a more streamlined approach to social investment and therefore making it easier for budding social entrepreneurs to bring their fantastic new projects and ideas to life.

Notes to editors

  1. There are two elements to the funding available, and we expect the incubators to apply for both:
    • between £50,000 and £250,000 per year towards operating costs, for up to four years;  and
    • between £100,000 and £750,000 per year to contribute to Incubators’ investment books, to be invested over 12 to 24 months
  2. The deadline for applications is on 21st September 2012 after which short-listed incubators will be invited to secure match funding. Announcements about successful applicants will be made at end of January 2013.
  3. Grant-making decisions will be made by an Advisory Board (chaired by the Cabinet Office). The other members of the Advisory Board are Big Lottery Fund, Big Society Capital and The Social Investment Business.

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