What is the project?
The social enterprise incubator Beyond Business, delivered by the Bromley by Bow Centre, launches five or six social enterprises each year in the deprived London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney. The centre receives more than 200 applications annually. Applicants benefit from business planning advice and signposting to further support, and those on a shortlist of about about eight budding entrepreneurs are given bespoke planning and business start-up support over a four-month period. After presenting to a Dragons' Den-style panel, five or six receive capital of £17,000 each.
How is the company involved?
The financial firm Investec has supported a range of different programmes at the Bromley by Bow Centre since 2008. When other sources of funding disappeared in 2011, Investec stepped up its support to keep Beyond Business open. Investec volunteers sit on the Dragons' Den panel and the company hosts a launch and networking event for successful candidates. Volunteers from Investec provide training and give successful entrepreneurs access to expert advice on areas such as organisational development, IT, the law, human resources, business development and marketing. Investec hosts an online LinkedIn forum to strengthen the networks between Beyond Business alumni and volunteers.
What has it achieved?
Since 2008 Investec has contributed £1,414,158 to the Bromley by Bow Centre. So far, Beyond Business has set up 67 new social enterprises, which between them generate an annual turnover of more than £5m, and has created more than 350 new jobs in east London.
What did the judges say?
"A great partnership that provides funding and opportunities to raise awareness, engages staff and builds new relationships," said Aoine Wilson, freelance fundraising and sponsorship consultant.
Wesleyan with Birmingham Children’s Hospital