Lekan Ojumu

Investment Manager

Charities Aid Foundation

Dragons' Den style funding opportunity delivers for exciting Welsh social enterprises

6 December 2019

Over £200,000 lent to 7 social enterprises in Wales in 2019

In July 2019 we opened our place-based SE-Assist Fund for applications from social enterprises in Wales and held our annual pitch day at the end of October.  This has been our 4th round of social investments in Wales where £572k has been lent, with an overall capital commitment of £1m across all regions of the SE-Assist fund.

The SE-Assist fund helps social organisations with a clear social or environmental impact that have an annual turnover of less than £500,000 and are working towards a sustainable business model. We offer interest free loans of up to £30,000 (interest bearing up to £60,000) repayable over 3 years to help social organisations with cashflow to build long-term sustainability or development finance to help them grow.   In addition to financial support, working with our local delivery partners, we offer our investees the option of an experienced business mentor. The investment decisions are made by a locally-based Social Investment Committee ensuring support is responsive to needs in the community. SE-Assist is privileged to have Business in the Community Cymru, Institute of Directors Wales, Wales Co-operative Centre, Welsh Government alongside, our founding partner and majority funder, Legal & General as members of our Social Investment Committee.  We are very grateful for these ongoing relationships. 

Social enterprise presentation

Overwhelming level of interest in 2019

We were delighted with the number of enquiries we received for funding this year; 67 in total. After analysis and further discussions with our team, 9 Wales based organisations applied for social investment.  Our investment officers helped each organisation to prepare their applications by getting to know them, their management and Directors with local visits.  The applicants also attended local workshops to prepare them for the final pitch-day.

At the pitch-day, hosted by Legal & General at their Cardiff office, 7 social organisations were successful in their applications for social investment totalling £205k.


A diverse range of social enterprises supported

Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership (WRAP), is a social enterprise delivering restorative justice services for public, private and community sector clients and a previous investee of the fund. A restorative approach is a way of working with conflict that puts the focus on repairing the harm that has been done. For example, restorative approaches can also be incorporated into public service delivery in schools, social services, and workplaces.  The organisation promotes the use of restorative approaches and the positive role it can play in transforming communities.  Customers include local authorities, schools, colleges, universities, social housing providers, youth services, probation, police and prison services. WRAP’s second SE-Assist loan will provide much needed additional capacity to help the organisation grow.

Inspire Alpine, is a social enterprise, based in Wrexham that offers inspirational talks, school visits and purposeful outdoor adventures in the UK and worldwide. The organisation was set up in 2018 with the mission of helping to close the attainment gap faced by disadvantaged young people. To fund their free services they generate income by organising paid talks, UK mountain experiences and overseas trekking expeditions.

We also supported a luxury wash and lifestyle social enterprise that produces 100% natural, vegan and eco-friendly products for hair, body and dogs.  All their products are sourced from only the very finest natural ingredients from land and sea.  They give 100% of their profit to local projects that improve the lives of animals and people in Wales.  To date they have funded a youth homeless helpline, a maternity unit at a homeless rescue centre for dogs and helped twelve people, who would otherwise be excluded, to completed training qualifications.

And another investee is a training and recruitment social enterprise working with people that need long-term help to get back into work. They have recently taken over a disused steel site and surrounding historical land to develop it into a hub for the local area.  The organisation is aiming to reduce the long-term poverty in the local area by creating a ‘Beacon of Hope’ for local communities, increasing opportunities for enterprise, jobs and education across a range of sectors.  

We look forward to getting to know these social organisations well over the next few years as they report quarterly to us on their social impact and financial progress.   We will share more stories of the impact they are having on people’s lives during the year.

We are proud that through our SE-Assist Fund we can offer social organisations affordable, flexible, repayable finance. This means that our investees can find new and better solutions for challenges within their local community, which results in stronger social organisations sustaining and growing their social impact on real people’s lives.


If you want to know more about a social investment from CAF Venturesome or want to use your philanthropic capital to support our fund, talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at venturesome@cafonline.org and we’ll be happy to help.