Minister pledges finance research for social enterprises

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will help organisations find ways to raise capital

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will carry out research into how social enterprises can access more private sector capital, according to a junior minister.

Ian Lucas, under-secretary of state for business and regulatory reform, told Third Sector that social enterprises often had trouble raising capital in the same way as conventional businesses, and that he was interested in finding alternative ways to support the model. He said it was not yet clear, however, what steps the department would take to research the problem.

Speaking after holding meetings with several development trusts, Lucas said he believed one way to encourage investment would be for councils to transfer land permanently into the ownership of development trusts and other community enterprises, rather than offering long leases, which is often the practice. "This would make it easier for these organisations to attract investment," he said.

BIS was also interested in promoting social enterprise business models to potential entrepreneurs, he said.

"There should be information on these alternative business models," Lucas said.

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