Coalition of companies offers £10m service to encourage social enterprise growth

The Social Business Trust will provide cash and staff time to about 20 social enterprises

Adele Blakebrough, chief executive, Social Business Trust
Adele Blakebrough, chief executive, Social Business Trust

A coalition of six companies has launched a £10m service aimed at helping social enterprises grow.

The new venture, called the Social Business Trust, will provide about 20 social enterprises with cash and staff time from the management consultants Bain & Company, the legal firm Clifford Chance, the investment bank Credit Suisse, the accountants Ernst & Young, the private equity company Permira, and the media company Thomson Reuters.

It will operate over the next three to five years and the £10m figure includes the value of staff time as well as cash.

Adele Blakebrough, chief executive of the trust and a serial social entrepreneur, said a lot of social enterprises reach a certain size and stick there.

"What social enterprises often lack when they have the opportunity to grow is good processes and infrastructure," she said. "They also lack development finance. They can't get angel investment because they can't offer the returns those investors need.

"The partners in this programme can provide those things. All of their staff can get involved, too – not just frontline staff but support departments, including HR and IT. Social enterprises often need help with these services too."

She said organisations such as Venturesome and the Impetus Trust already provided some of the services social enterprises needed to grow, but that more players were needed for similar services.

She added that the trust had already identified several potential partners to support. The first partner is expected to be announced at the end of January.

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