New £4.1million fund to grow social businesses

A first of its kind partnership is enabling savers in Greater Manchester communities to invest in local businesses that do good in their communities.

For the first time, a group of credit unions are joining up with social investors and local government to be able to lend money to social businesses in their areas.

A partnership led by GMCVO with the Greater Manchester Credit Union Consortium, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation have launched a £4.1million investment fund for organisations and businesses trading for social good. 

Organisations or social businesses working in Greater Manchester who are looking to grow their business activities can apply now to the Enterprising Communities Fund for an investment of up to £100,000. There is a grant element of an average of 20% of each investment to support applicants with specific issues identified in the application process, and for them to consider ‘net zero’ implications and energy efficiency as part of their idea. We are aiming to make a large proportion of investments in communities where the need is highest.

Social investment is a loan given to organisations and businesses who are trading for a social, cultural or environmental benefit to bring about positive change. This could include addressing social needs, strengthening communities, improving people’s life chances, enhancing culture or protecting the environment.

Find out more and apply for investment here

Here's what the partners have to say about this groundbreaking fund:

“The launch of the Enterprising Communities Fund represents a milestone for the development of the social economy of our city region; another solid step in Greater Manchester becoming the social enterprise capital of the UK. For the first time, the community wealth deposited in local credit unions will be invested in growing local social enterprises. Credit unions are natural investment partners as we also exist to serve local people and improve their life chances. 

I pay tribute to the GMCVO team for bringing this innovative fund to launch and look forward to working with them and my sister credit unions to deliver good outcomes together”. Sheenagh Young, Chair of GMCU, GM Consortium of Credit Unions and CEO of South Manchester Credit Union

“Credit unions have supported individuals in their communities for years and we are excited to be bringing together credit unions with GMCA to invest in voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations that are having a real impact in their communities - helping to create more good jobs, positive environmental impact and social change, all of which is important during this economic crisis.

The grant money provided by Access will help to improve the resilience of organisations in the early days of taking on the investment. This is the first time that this kind of partnership has come together, and we look forward to being able to evidence the importance of place-based investing using community wealth.” Cat Chrimes, Head of Social Enterprise and Investment at GMCVO

“Social enterprises play a vital role in Greater Manchester’s economy. Our city-region has a proud tradition of complementing enterprise with social progress, and that continues today through the many organisations that are driven by purpose as well as profit. We are pleased to be supporting the new Enterprising Community Fund to help those organisations grow, and we encourage social enterprises across Greater Manchester to get in touch with GMCVO to find out more.” Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester’s Economy Lead

"We are delighted to be supporting the Enterprising Communities Fund. Backed by Dormant Assets, the fund will enable GMCVO to continue to support the financial resilience of charities and social enterprises in Greater Manchester. We are excited by the innovative fund structure that GMCVO have created, leveraging investment from local Credit Unions for the first time." Seb Elsworth, CEO of Access - The Foundation for Social Investment

“The Enterprising Communities Fund will test a new catalytic approach to unlocking investment into communities in Greater Manchester. It will build confidence and resilience within the local Credit Unions and help community driven enterprises to grow, achieving wider impact for their communities. We’re delighted to be a partner in this exciting new initiative.” Gillian Dickson, Social Investment Manager at Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

Find out more and apply for investment here


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