What is the project?
Beyond Business is a social enterprise incubation programme supported by the financial services company Investec and run in partnership with the Bromley by Bow Centre, an east London community centre. Budding social entrepreneurs in the London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets receive intensive support in business planning, including access to expert advice. Successful candidates receive funding of up to £20,000 each.
How is the company involved?
Investec has been a partner of the scheme since 2008 and sole funder since 2011, when other funding was cut. Investec volunteers offer specialist training and support to the new entrepreneurs. The company also helps to market the programme, donates resources and secures external speakers and advisers, as well as running an online forum for members.
What has it achieved?
The programme has launched 55 social enterprises, of which 21 have been started since Investec took over as sole funder. Collectively, they have a combined turnover of more than £4m.
The local social enterprises launched by the programme have created more than 350 jobs in areas of poverty, as well as enabling people to provide solutions to local problems and change their communities for the better. The enterprises supported by the scheme have stood the test of time - 84 per cent have continued to trade beyond their third year.
What did the judges say?
Hassanul Hoque, projects and finance manager at Camden Town Unlimited, said: "Beyond Business is a very important project that is creating a significant impact on local communities."
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