The £10m investment-readiness fund Big Potential Breakthrough has been extended to the end of the year after the amount awarded in grants ended up lower than originally forecast.
Big Potential Breakthrough, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and managed by the Social Investment Business, offers grants to charities and social enterprises that are considering social investment to help them decide how it could work for them.
The fund specifically targets organisations that want to take on social investment for the first time and are considering raising investment of up to £500,000.
The fund, which is part of the three-year, £20m Big Potential fund, previously called the Investment Readiness Fund, was due to close in April, but will now close at the end of 2017.
A spokesman for the Social Investment Business said that the average grant amount requested had been lower than originally forecast, which meant there was enough money available to extend the fund’s lifespan.
So far, about £6m of grant funding has been awarded to 212 organisations by the fund.
Since the launch of Big Potential Breakthrough, more than 800 organisations have used the fund’s diagnostic tool to help them understand their investment-readiness needs. About 600 of those organisations have then chosen to meet with a specialist adviser with a view to applying for an investment-readiness grant.
Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of the Social Investment Business, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to extend Big Potential Breakthrough so that more charities and social enterprises can access the grant funding they need to get investment-ready.
"We have already seen how Big Potential has helped organisations improve their sustainability, capacity and scale, and we are looking forward to seeing even more access this vital support in 2017."