A new £5m scheme called Big Venture Challenge was announced last week with a view to funding and supporting social entrepreneurs, who often find it hard to access investment.
The scheme was founded by social entrepreneur network UnLtd and financed by the Big Lottery Fund and offers 30social venture start-ups access to business support, funding and mentoring.
Launching on January 8 next year, the Big Venture Challenge competition is open to ambitious social entrepreneurs with ideas to tackle a clearly identified social problem with a scalable, sustainable and disruptive solution. Their business must be in its early stages.
The Challenge is then an intensive 12-month programme that is designed to help these entrepreneurs raise external investment of between £50,000 to £250,000.
The Big Venture Challenge has pledged to run themed and regional cohorts every year in order to build deeper, more relevant strategic support networks around each cohort. In 2013 their themed cohort will be in Health and Social Care and their regional cohort will be in the North West of England.
The launch follows the success of the 2011 pilot scheme, which enabled 12 entrepreneurs to secure £1.2m investment for their social ventures, with two thirds receiving backing from private sector angel investors who were supporting social ventures for the first time.
Over the next three years, Big Venture Challenge expects to support 100 social entrepreneurs, as there will be further follow-up schemes launched in 2014 and 2015.
On Social Enterprise Day held last month, Business Secretary Vince Cable said that the growth of social enterprise will help promote long-termism and truly responsible capitalism.
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