A new fund on the block for 2014, supported by Centrica through their Ignite Social Enterprise, the money available is to support entrepreneurs in the energy sector.
Do you have a sustainable energy idea, the delivery of which can change and sustain communities? Whether you just have an idea, or are already seeking capital investment for your product or service, the Ignite fund is worth a look.
Centrica are providing funding of £10 million over the next ten years. The fund is seeking to make investments of between £50,000 and £2 million.
Your project must have clearly identifiable social aims, with clear outputs and goals and be energy sector facing. Your engagement with the Ignite fund may be as equity or as debt.
Ignite…driving innovation at every point of the energy chain – from sourcing and generation through to supply, service and saving energy. And by investing in social enterprises we’re making a positive impact on employment, income, housing and local communities.
The Social Investment Business have indicated they may be getting ready to launch funds that serve social businesses outside the charity and traditional social enterprise sector.
Jonathan Jenkins of the The Social Investment Business, the UK’s largest social business lender, indicated at a recent speech, at a Somerset House Big Society Network event, stated that his organisation was looking at securing funding for businesses that have with-profit profiles, that could benefit from finance streams that are different from SIB’s core government funds.
This is an interesting development in the sector, with a major player in social finance now looking to support a wider category of socially minded businesses that value their social bottom line, as well as generate shareholder value.
In a sophisticated social business support landscape, this is a timely indication that the sector is moving towards a wider recognition of enterprises with ‘community sensibility’, but who can still perform and deliver within a more traditional business matrix.
To endorse this view Big Society Capital, at the same Somerset House event, opined that perhaps eight new funds of substance, based on these wider application criteria, might appear in the marketplace in 2014.
‘Power to Change is a new initiative which will invest up to £150 million to support the development of sustainable community-led enterprises across England. It will be delivered by an independent Trust established next year’…The Big Lottery
A new Trust will be formed to deliver the Power to Change programme, which should become active in the Autumn of 2014.
This new fund represents a refreshed recognition that it is community enterprise which can play a key role in the regeneration of localities.
Whether you and your community are looking to develop pop-up shops, reclaim that closed library or to re-energise a community centre this new fund could be for you.
The new fund is an injection into the community business sector, much to be welcomed. As always, Oh that the pot was even bigger!