Friday, November 4, 2016

News: £2.4m plan to support social enterprise in Sheffield city region


Social Enterprise Exchange - a new initiative to support social enterprise across the Sheffield city region - has recently launched.

The project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will provide specialist business support, access to start-up and development finance, and a programme of events to promote social entrepreneurship.

Social enterprises are alternative businesses which address social or environmental objectives. The Government is working with Local Enterprise Partnership (LEPs) across England to establish a network of private sector-led Growth Hubs connecting businesses to the right support including access to local and Government funded support services.

The Sheffield City Region Growth Hub acts as a gateway for businesses to access specialist support. It is working with, and will be signposting to, industry experts, including successful companies, consultancies, universities, Chambers of Commerce and local authorities, and national provision such as Innovate UK, UK Trade and Investment and a wide range of other business support partners.

Steve Buckley, coordinator of the initiative, said: "There is a strong tradition of social enterprise in our region but the number of business start-ups is below the national average and people with great social enterprise ideas often face challenges turning them into viable business projects. Social Enterprise Exchange will address these issues by providing specialist advice and mentoring, and by assisting with access to finance."

The project has been developed by a consortium of community-based partners and will operate in collaboration with the Growth Hub.

Project partners include CM Solutions, Groundwork South Yorkshire, Cultural Industries Quarter Agency, Sheffield Live, South Yorkshire Community Foundation, Voluntary Action Barnsley and CVP Bolsover.

A roadshow event is being held in Rotherham on November 14 as an opportunity to find out more about Social Enterprise Exchange, to discuss the challenges and opportunities for social enterprise, to hear about local social enterprise success stories and to network with peers and social enterprise supporters.

Social Enterprise Exchange website

Images: Social Enterprise Exchange


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