Social enterprises come in many shapes and sizes from large national and international businesses to small local community based enterprises. The term ‘social enterprise’ also includes co-operatively run businesses as they have implicit social enterprise values and principles at their core. The main characteristics of social enterprise is that they:
- Are businesses that aim to generate their income by selling goods and/or services
- Have social and/or environmental aims
- Are owned by members
- Reinvest the profits they make back in to their social mission
Social enterprises are a very important element of our economy providing a large number of benefits including making a direct contribution to the economy through job creation and business turnover. A classic example is
Shepshed Carers Co-operative, the brainchild of two women, Pauline Graves and Sarah Pollard, who set up a
small business offering domiciliary care in Shepshed, near Loughborough in 1993. The co-operative received coaching and mentoring from Dorothy Francis, of CASE and successfully secured a small grant of £1000 which made a significant difference to the start up finances and which was used to register their business and towards other start-up costs. 18 months after start up the business was employing over 30 members and today the co-operative now employs over 100 members.
In recent years cutbacks have led to grant funding pots decreasing by almost half. And whilst businesses are
encouraged to not depend on such funding they often need small grant support to get off the ground.
Fund My Venture is a local social enterprise set up to address this. Founded by Aashish Parmar in 2010, the
business works with local charities, community groups and social business to source, develop and write grant
applications. Fund My Venture provides a comprehensive range of services to help organisations develop sustainable projects including assistance with turning ideas into viable successful projects.
Aashish and his team have worked with a number of co-operatives and social enterprise businesses that are
CASE clients, including:
- 2Funky Arts who secured a £10,000 Art Council England grant to deliver a one-day music festival, “2Funky Festival” to promote art and culture cohesion. Fund My Venture also helped 2Funky to secure a £30,700 Heritage Lottery Funding grant to deliver a project exploring the impact of Black music on Leicester’s communities, which is 2Funky’s biggest funding success to date.
- Key Roots Formation who successfully secured a £10,000 Awards for All grant to continue their work of
helping deprived communities affected by changes to the recent benefit systems.
- The Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan Trust to raise a £10,000 Awards for All grant towards a community-based
employability and skills development scheme aimed at disadvantaged women, helping to prepare them for entry into employment, self-employment, volunteering and/or training.
- ADHD Solutions CIC secured a three year grant of £418,845, being one of Fund My Venture’s biggest successes to date. The funding will be spent on hiring six staff members to deliver vital support programmes for young people. 11,850 children living across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are affected by ADHD and but there is no other support available in these localities. ADHD lost their statutory funding due to austerity measures and was facing some very tough decisions. This funding will
provide some security for the next three years, and will allow them to develop a self-sustainable model going forward.
Since inception, Fund My Venture has helped more than 15 social enterprises to raise almost £1 million in funding – view successful groups on the Fund My Venture website www.fundmyventure.co.uk
If you would like to add your co-operative or social enterprise to the list of organisations that have been
successfully assisted by Fund My Venture, contact the team on 0843 28 91 797 or send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and quote CASE.