SE-Assist wins prestigious national investment award

28 November 2014

A pioneering scheme providing support to social enterprises has won a prestigious national investment award.

Social Enterprise Assist (SE-Assist) led by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and Legal & General, was named Best Investment Project at the Investment Week Sustainable Investment Awards.

Under the scheme, established businesses support social enterprises in their local communities with investment and support.

The programme provides investment to a wide range of start-up businesses who may currently be struggling to raise capital or lack the expertise or experience to get off the ground.

SE-Assist opened for applications from social enterprises this March in Croydon after gaining the support of Croydon Council and the Coast To Capital Local Economic Partnership, as well as in Brighton and Hove, where the programme was piloted last year. The aim is to roll the scheme out to more cities and regions across the UK so more social enterprises may benefit.

The social entrepreneurs are offered a unique package comprising of an interest free loan of between £10,000 and £30,000, mentoring and access to an investors network to receive expert consultancy.

In last year’s pilot, SE-Assist helped to support three social enterprises in Sussex, one of which was the ethical supermarket HiSBe which opened its doors in Brighton last month after receiving a loan and expert consultancy. This year, SE-Assist supported a further eight social enterprises across Sussex and Croydon.

Klara Kozlov, Head of Corporate Clients at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that SE Assist developed by CAF and our Venturesome social investment arm in partnership with Legal & General, has been recognised with this prestigious national award.

“This scheme brings together the funding and business expertise which social entrepreneurs need to establish innovative projects that can help to build local economies and infrastructure.

“Thanks to the support  of our partners Legal & General, Coast to Capital LEP and Nesta, we have been able to support some fantastic projects and show how social investment can really deliver for local communities.”

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