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Legal & General helping to fund Welsh start-up social enterprises

Social enterprises based in Wales will be able to pitch for a blended finance package (part interest-free loan / part grant) of up to £30,000, thanks to a new round of social investment launching at the end of June.

28 Jun 2021

The Social Enterprise Assist Fund (SE-Assist Fund), managed by CAF Venturesome, supported by Legal & General and the Welsh Co-Operative Centre, launches on 28th June with an opportunity to share plans and ideas with a local committee. (Applications close on 23rd July with committee presentations scheduled for 7th September).

While 2020 will be remembered as the year of Covid-19, it was also a year of solidarity, community spirit and co-operation. Social enterprises reached out to communities across Wales to support those who needed extra help and stepped in to supply vital resources and to raise money for our NHS. It was a year of enormous resilience and change for the sector.

“This is the fifth year that our SE-Assist Fund has run in Wales and one we feel is more important than ever,” said Holger Westphely of CAF Venturesome, the social investment team at Charities Aid Foundation.

 “Since launching in Wales in 2016 the fund has committed £570,000 to 22 wonderful social enterprises. These organisations are vital in supporting vibrant communities. They improve lives, create jobs and help to build a diverse and inclusive local economy.  From talking to our partners in Wales we know that that there is a need for a blended finance product to make the cost of social investment capital more affordable for social enterprises.”

To be considered applicants need to have an annual turnover of under £500,000, be working towards a sustainable business model, and demonstrate a clear social or environmental impact. Successful applicants will receive flexible, interest-free loans of up to £20,000 (interest bearing up to £60,000), repayable over three years, together with a grant of up to £10,000.

“We know that for many start-up social enterprises a loan is not always appropriate. This is why we want to offer a blended finance solution,” adds Westphely. “We invite all eligible Welsh social enterprises to apply by 23rd July. Applicants will work closely with Wales Co-Operative Centre which will support them to prepare their social enterprises for investment.”

Lynne Sheehy, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Legal and General said:

“Working in partnership with CAF Venturesome and the Wales Co-operative Centre we support start-up businesses in Wales through the SE-Assist fund.

We recognise and value the positive impact these small businesses have in the heart of our communities and the significant contribution they make to the economy.

We also know that social businesses will play a huge role in future efforts to build back our economy and communities in a way which is sustainable and fair”

The SE-Assist Fund is delivered by CAF Venturesome in partnership with Legal & General and the Wales Co-operative Centre; with the support of the Welsh Government, Business in the Community Wales and the Institute of Directors Wales.

For further information on how to apply and examples of past successful social enterprise loans, visit https://www.cafonline.org