Social enterprise scheme launching in Croydon

Croydon Guardian: Vidhi Mohan Vidhi Mohan

A Government-backed scheme providing support to social enterprises will launch for the first time in Croydon this year.

Social entrepreneurs will have the chance to get their businesses off the ground with the help of the scheme, which will provide funding and support from businesses in their local communities.

The scheme, Social Enterprise Assist (SE-Assist), led by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF),will work with established businesses in Croydon to support a number of local social enterprises.

A social enterprise is a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose, rather than to maximise profits for external shareholders.

SE-Assist will open for applications from social entrepreneurs in Croydon this March after gaining support from Croydon Council.

There is £150,000 available to invest in a range of social enterprises in Croydon to support their development.

SE-Assist will also re-launch in Sussex where the programme was piloted last year.

Between Sussex and Croydon the scheme currently has £330,000 in funding. £100,000 has been contributed by Legal & General, which is in addition to the £30,000 they have already invested, and £200,000 by the Coast to Capital (C2C) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The programme has the potential to deliver millions of pounds of investment to a wide range of start-up business who may currently be struggling to raise funding or lack the expertise or experience to get off the ground.

CAF and Legal & General are calling for other businesses to join the scheme and make capital, expertise, and time available to help grow businesses in their local communities.

The social entrepreneurs will be offered a unique package comprising of an interest-free loan of up to £10,000, mentoring, and access to an investors networks to receive expert consultancy.

Coun Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development, Croydon Council, said: "SE Assist is a fantastic scheme and having seen the kind of businesses they have helped to grow in Sussex, we are delighted to welcome it to Croydon. Like all businesses, social enterprises create jobs and boost the economy, but they also strengthen communities by giving something back.

"This is a real opportunity for anyone who has a business idea with a social purpose, to get some advice and backing to get their scheme off the ground. I’m really looking forward to seeing some inspirational new enterprises make a difference in our borough."

For more information visit the SE-Assist website at https://se-assist.co.uk

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