Government launches £10m fund to back the social investment market

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, says the Social Incubator Fund will help social entrepreneurs find solutions to difficult problems

Nick Hurd
Nick Hurd
  • This story was clarified on 25 July - see final paragraph

The Cabinet Office has launched a £10m fund aimed at growing the social investment market.

The Social Incubator Fund will give grants to up to 10 intermediary organisations to invest in start-up social enterprises.

Intermediaries will be able to apply for between £50,000 and £250,000 a year towards their operating costs for up to four years and further grants of between £100,000 and £750,000 a year for their investment books, to be allocated over 12 to 24 months.

Two intermediaries taking part in the scheme are Emerge Venture Lab in Oxford and Bethnal Green Ventures in London, the Cabinet Office said.

The fund will be managed by the Big Lottery Fund, which will make grant awards to up to 10 intermediaries in three rounds, starting in January 2013 and with further rounds later in 2013 and 2014.

Launching the fund, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, 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."

Hurd said the fund would help create a route for social enterprises as they grew larger, by providing different funding streams at each stage of their development.

The fund forms part of the government’s two-stage Investment Readiness Programme, which also includes the £10m Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, which helps organisations that have moved beyond the start-up stage and was announced last summer.

It is expected that social enterprises that receive funding from the intermediaries will at some point become eligible to apply for funds from the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

  • Emerge Venture Lab in Oxford and Bethnal Green Ventures in London are not taking part in the scheme but are examples of the growing number of social incubators in the UK.

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