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Yorkshire venture philanthropy fund of £1.4m launched

Yorkshire venture philanthropy fund of £1.4m launched

News (UK)

A venture philanthropy programme, worth £1.4m, which targets investment at social enterprises, was launched November 8th in Yorkshire.

The Yorkshire Venture Philanthropy Programme, set up by Community Foundations in Leeds, Calderdale and South Yorkshire, will provide grants of up to £5,000 and grant/loan packages of between £5,000 and £100,000. The loans will be provided by Sheffield-based Key Fund. The programme also offers access to pro bono advice from a pool of business experts.

Predominately funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF), whose funding will last for three years, the hope is that the programme will ultimately act as a broker between social enterprises and private investors, who will receive a social, rather than a financial, return.

Sally-Anne Greenfield, chief executive of Leeds Community Foundation which wrote the successful bid for ERDF funding, said: “The aim of the programme is to stimulate growth in the fast growing social enterprise sector and channel investment and support from private sector companies and individuals into third sector groups who want to develop or expand social enterprise activity.”

Each area has a supervisory board and investment committee, with representatives from business and finance who provide strategic direction to the programme. The Leeds board includes Peter Yendell of Endless and Martin Allison a business consultant with PWC.

Greenfield added: “We know from some of the entrepreneurs we already work with that they want to support charitable causes with the potential to grow, become sustainable and provide a return. This venture philanthropy programme enables them to invest both money and expertise in developing social enterprises that could make a significant contribution to the regional economy. Locally-based companies are also keen to use the skills of their employees to provide advice to these enterprising organisations.”

The Annual Survey of Small Businesses UK 2010 estimates that 7% of SMEs are social enterprises, meaning there are approximately 68,000 social enterprises in the UK. Social enterprises are estimated to employ 800,000 people. In Yorkshire and Humber it is estimated there could be over 3,500 social enterprises plus many more charitable organisations which have some trading activity or commercial enterprise arm. For Leeds city region the estimated figure is at least 1,400 and for Leeds about 700.

  • Social investment
  • Venture philanthropy
  • UK