Wednesday 12 March 2014

The University of Northampton is proud to be joining prestigious private sector partners and Higher Education institutions in supporting six new start-up business incubators, as part of a £10m Social Incubator Fund (SIF).

The project, which aims to develop the UK’s rising social investment market, is being delivered by Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the Cabinet Office. The Social Incubator Fund provides grants to establish social incubator units, supporting the growth of social enterprises in their early phases when they need the most intense support. The incubators enable businesses to develop their ideas and take advantage of social investment opportunities. First launched in 2012, the fund today releases £10m as the next wave of capital.

The University of Northampton is a key partner in the Corporate Social Venturing fund, led by Big Issue Invest. The £1m funding stream will invest in high quality, sustainable social ventures, some of which will be established by staff, students and partners of the University. The University will provide mentor matching and business support, leading to both placement opportunities and career opportunities for graduates within new social ventures and PLCs.

The Social Incubator Fund has the support of Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd, who commented: “Britain is blessed with fantastic social entrepreneurs. More than ever we need to back their desire to find better solutions to our social problems. That is what the Social Incubator Fund is for” .

Private sector companies including Barclays, UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Janssen Healthcare Innovation are just some of the businesses match-funding investment, with support from the University of Northampton, UCLB, Cambridge Judge Business School and Plymouth University.

The six new social incubators receiving funding today cover sectors such as education, health and technology and they also cover a wide breadth of locations around the UK. The first round of the SIF has already helped a number of incubators to support new social ventures expand their business and generate new employment.

The University of Northampton’s Inspire2Enterprise service provides practical support to over 6,000 social enterprises in the UK and Ireland. In addition to this, University of Northampton staff carry out extensive research into the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

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