Social enterprises showcased at launch of next round


Social enterprises in Plymouth can pitch their great ideas to scale their business, create jobs and help the city’s residents in the next round of Social Enterprise Investment Fund.

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.

The funding, worth £1.8 million over three years, is from the Council’s innovative investment fund, which is designed for organisations and businesses which support the city’s local growth ambitions as well as help make Plymouth an even better and fairer place to live.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives and Housing, who was at today’s launch of the next round which took place at Prime Skate Park said: “Plymouth’s reputation as a Social Enterprise City is growing. We’ve got some amazing enterprises doing incredible work here in Plymouth and are delighted to be able to give them a leg up – whether this is in the form of grants or loans or tailored advice.

“This is about investing in local economic growth, investing in companies and businesses which are locally-owned, who create employment and give back to the local community.”

The first round was oversubscribed, but 15 organisations received financial support to help them with projects that are expected to generate at least 63 jobs. The fund also helped attract over £400,000 in match funding.

Successful applicants included the RIO Column Bakehouse at Devonport Guildhall, Bikespace, Plymouth Energy Community and Millfields Community Economic Development Trust.

Plymouth has around 150 social enterprises employing around 7,000 people. They range from huge organisations such as Plymouth Community Homes and Plymouth University (the worlds’ first university to get the Social Enterprise Mark) to smaller ones such as childcare providers.

Other social enterprises in the city that have received funding include:

  • Prime Skate Park – £29,000 for additional facilities, ramps and obstacles at the indoor park in Cattedown
  • Bespoke Engaging Education Services Limited – £77,050 for its allotment facility offering educational services for young people
  • Stiltskins Creative Arts and Theatre – £10,000 for feasibility work on the former changing rooms in Devonport Park they plan to turn into a children’s cultural hub for children and their families
  • The Alamo Project – £10,000 for its studio in Millbay providing incubation  space for up and coming artists
  • Iridescent – £16,000 to develop its social enterprise business advice company.

Applications will be assessed under criteria including the number of jobs created, whether the scheme brings empty buildings back to life as well as the potential to lever in other funds. Successful applicants have accessed legal, finance and business development support specifically designed for social enterprises.

Councillor Penberthy added: “It’s fitting that this event is taking place during Cooperative Fortnight.

“As a Cooperative Council we are committed to being fair, responsible, democratic and working in partnership – this capital fund is about helping businesses and organisations who share those values and want to make a difference to the city and its residents.”

A social enterprise is defined by Social Enterprise UK as ‘a business that trades for a social and/or environmental purpose’. They come in many shapes and sizes from large national and international businesses to small community based enterprises but they are all:

  • businesses that aim to generate their income by selling goods and services, rather than through grants and donations
  • Are set up to specifically make a difference
  • Reinvest the profits they make in their social mission