New round of Plymouth’s innovative social enterprise fund now open


Social enterprises across Plymouth are being invited to submit applications for a share of a £875,000 pot of loans and grants to help their business flourish over the next two years.

The Council is launching another round of its innovative Social Enterprise Investment Fund and the successful bidders will be able to join a growing rank of organisations who have received capital investment to turn cracking ideas into businesses that help the people of Plymouth.

The funding, worth £2.5 million over four years, is designed for organisations and businesses which back the city’s growth ambitions as well as make Plymouth a better and fairer place to live.

So far 21 businesses have benefitted from the fund, which is helping to create 130 full time jobs and has levered in over £5 million of match funding.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing said: “We know there is a lot of demand for support in the form of grants, loans and bespoke support for businesses where the profits are not about money in banks, but about what they contribute to their communities.

“We believe we are the only Council to have such a fund and have designed it to be flexible and accessible to enterprises. This is about helping enterprises that have already got off the ground take the next step.”

Successful recent applicants include:

  • Bespoke Engaging Education Services Limited – £84,000 for its allotment facility offering educational services for young people, mainly post 16. BEES have a wide range of projects and courses to match career path. It has two sites, Plymstock and Plympton which host animal care courses. The fund has enabled the organisation to buy equipment to generate additional funds.
  • the Barbican Theatre – £80,000 towards their Basement project to turn two unused restaurant units in Bilbury Street into rehearsal studios, a stage and costume construction workshop as well as start-up offices with toilets and reception area.
  • St Saviour’s – £13,977 to enable the community interest group to install smart radiators to the long hall and host an exhibition and craft fair. They plan to use the rest to support a Heritage Lottery bid to restore the handsome Victorian building to make it fully accessible to the public.

Plymouth has around 150 social enterprise organisations employing an estimated 7,000 people. It covers larger ones such as Plymouth Community Homes and Plymouth University (the world’s first university to get the Social Enterprise Mark) to theatre groups, art organisations and skate parks.

A mixture of capital loans and grants is on offer for organisations and businesses hoping to create work and boost prospects in neighbourhoods where there are fewer opportunities.

Applications are also welcome to fund feasibility studies. For more information contact Jane Hunt, Economic Development Officer Jane.Hunt@plymouth.gov.uk or visit http://bit.ly/1WJV9z6