UnLtd to prepare social enterprises for funding

Capacity-building scheme from social business charity

A new service will help social enterprises attract investment from the growing number of funds dedicated to helping them.

UnLtd, a charity that helps social entrepreneurs grow new businesses, is putting the final touches to the capacity-building scheme, which is backed by an initial £250,000 investment from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.

Cliff Prior, chief executive of UnLtd, said the service would provide advice and development help for new social entrepreneurs in areas such as business and cash-flow planning.

Prior said UnLtd was launching the service because there were not enough investment-ready charities and social businesses to take advantage of the recent flood of investment funds into the social finance sector.

"There's been a long-term shortage of social investment capital, but there's now suddenly a lot of money coming in," he said. "But there are not enough investment candidates with the ability to use that money. This needs to change."

The scheme will be run initially as a two-year pilot programme. During the pilot, UnLtd will carry out research into the best methods to encourage entrepreneurs and organisations reach investment-readiness.

The organisation also intends to attract other investors to increase the amount of money going towards helping social enterprises become investment-ready.

Sue Cooper, deputy head of business banking at social lender Triodos, said there was a need for more help in this area.

"There are a lot of organisations out there for which good quality business support would be invaluable," she said. "At the moment, it isn't generally available."

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