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A quarter of a million pound fund supports growth of social enterprises in Sussex

8 May 2015

Social enterprises in Sussex now have the opportunity to apply for a package of support aimed at transforming their business as well as supporting their local community.

Successful applicants will be offered an interest free loan of between £10,000 and £30,000, mentoring and access to a bank of experts.

The multi-award-winning scheme*, now in its third year, connects local social enterprises with larger companies in the local area and as a result injects prosperity into local communities. Leading insurer and Sussex employer Legal & General which has an office in Hove, the Charities Aid Foundation, (CAF) and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, have provided the funding to help  businesses get off the ground, thrive and drive regeneration in Sussex.

Sussex social enterprises such as hiSbe, Parentskool, SCIP, The Bevy, Purple Playhouse,  Ecological Land Co-op, SHIKA are all part of the SE-Assist story, and now, with further funding available and with the first loans being repaid, SE-Assist can offer more social enterprises an opportunity to grow. Sixty four jobs have been created as a result of the success of businesses that have been funded.

Businesses interested in more details and how to apply can find out more on the Social Enterprise Assist, (SE-Assist) website. Applications open on 27 April and close at 9am on Monday 8 June 2015.

Klara Kozlov, Head of Corporate Clients at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to be rolling-out the scheme again in Sussex to support even more local social businesses. Social enterprises can make a huge difference to people in the community.

“There is a great spirit of innovation visible at the moment, but forward-thinking entrepreneurs are struggling to find the funding and the support they need to enable them to get their ideas off the ground. It’s great that we are able to provide local social businesses in Sussex with an additional source of valued support, thanks to the help of Legal & General and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

“It would be great to see these kinds of partnerships between big companies and social enterprises become commonplace, so more local communities can enjoy the benefits that thriving local social businesses can bring.”

Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Legal & General said: “We are so pleased to be supporting the SE-Assist scheme in Sussex again this year. We had no hesitation in being involved and offering further investment and ‘hands on’ support after two successful rounds already.  The employees based in our Hove office who are already involved with the scheme understand just how fantastic it is when the vision of a local business becomes a reality, with their help and our financial support. There is such a sense of achievement and pride working so closley with local businesses who in turn provide great benefits to the community. It will be wonderful to see more local businesses have this exciting opportunity.”

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Charities Aid Foundation Press Office,
Tel: 03000 123 286

Richard King
Head of Group Corporate Communications
Legal & General
Tel: 07515 324001 / 07515 324001

Notes to editors

Social Enterprise Assist: SE-Assist is an innovative scheme to support social enterprises that are anchored in communities, contributing to local economic regeneration. The scheme is funded and delivered through a partnership between Legal & General, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Croydon Council and Coast to Capital, Local Enterprise Partnership (C2C LEP).

The fund, which started in Sussex, has also supported social enterprises in Croydon, and will expand to include Wales in 2015. 

Social enterprises are a key element of the future economy. SE-ASSIST delivers support to social enterprises that have clear opportunities for success but require additional support that is not available elsewhere. SE-Assist provides a blended package of support for social enterprises in Sussex and Croydon, which will include interest free loans, mentoring and access to expert business advice.

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.

It will have a 'social mission' so it will be clear about what difference it is trying to make, who it wants to help and how it will to do it.

It will bring in most or all of its income through selling goods or services and it will reinvest its profits to further the 'social mission'

Social enterprises range from large national and international businesses to small community based enterprises.

Well documented examples of social enterprises include the Eden Project in Cornwall; Jamie Oliver's Fifteen; Netmums; Divine chocolate, The Big Issue. For case studies of social enterprises previously supported by the SE-Assist scheme in Brighton visit the SE-Assist website.

Legal & General: We know that financial services organisations have to show and understand their economic impact, social value and environmental efficiency. As a socially useful company, we play a wide role in providing financial services to our over 7 million customers at the most exciting, critical or difficult moments in their lives, and by providing investment and associated growth for the wider economy, through our CSR work in many of the communities in which we operate. We have a number of UK hubs, (Birmingham, Cardiff, Kingswood, in Surrey, Central London, Ipswich, Hove in Sussex, and Edinburgh , as well as, Netherlands, France and the USA. In those offices are employees who live and work in those communities and know best on the local community issues and inequalities that we can contribute to fixing through funding, volunteering and gifts in kind typically within 10 miles of those offices.

Legal & General has been working with the Charities Aid Foundation and the Cabinet Office to set up the programme and was the sole supporter of the pilot scheme. Legal & General and their staff provided a package of mentoring, finance and consultancy for the social enterprise businesses who were successful in their applications in the Brighton area.

About Coast to Capital: Coast to Capital is the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Brighton and Hove, Croydon, Gatwick Diamond, East Surrey, Lewes and West Sussex. It takes a strategic lead in ensuring that the infrastructure and conditions for economic growth are in place across its diverse region.  Formed in 2011 as one of the UK's new Local Enterprise Partnerships, its dynamic team is focused on delivering growth for one of Britain's most economically important areas which includes the airport economy surrounding London Gatwick. Coast to Capital represents a population of 1.6 million people, more than 79,000 businesses supporting more than 721,000 jobs and 131,000 self-employed individuals.

*SE-Assist won the "Best Investment Project" in the Investment Week Sustainable Investment Awards November 2014 and an award for Community Investment at the National CSR Awards in March 2015.

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