By Andrew Holt

The Big Lottery Fund is today announcing the launch of Big Potential, a £10million fund to help charities and social enterprises get investment ready.

The ultimate aim of the fund is to improve the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations so they can deliver greater social impact.

The Big Lottery Fund has chosen the Social Investment Business in partnership with Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, Locality and the University of Northampton to deliver the much needed support to the VCSE sector.

The programme is aimed at VCSE organisations at the beginning of their social investment journey and has been designed to complement a range of other initiatives including the Cabinet Office’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund, also managed by the Social Investment Business.

Eligible VCSE organisations will be able to access specialist one to one support from the Big Potential programme partners before making an application for grants between £25,000 and £75,000 to undertake more in-depth investment readiness work with one of Big Potential’s approved providers.

Providers of specialist investment readiness support can now apply to become an approved provider. Voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations can now register interest in the fund and will be able to apply for funding from next month.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England chair, said: “Providing support for charities and social enterprises to help them access finance is a key priority of our social investment strategy in England and very important in these difficult times.

"With this appointment we are glad to be in a position to offer support to VCSE organisations, that want to scale up and become more sustainable so they can better serve those most in need.

“The Social Investment Business have a proven track record of supporting VCSE organisations, via their general investment work and more recently in the delivery of the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

"Along with their Partners, they offer true national reach and further, they all understand both the challenges facing the sector and also what investors are looking for in propositions and so we are delighted to be working with them in delivering Big Potential.”
Jonathan Jenkins, chief executive of the Social Investment Business, added: “I am delighted that, through working with the Big Lottery Fund and our partners, the Social Investment Business will be able to expand our work in helping the sector to become investment ready.

“We have seen the impact that this combination of financial and business support can have in helping charities and social enterprises develop their business models, and it is good for the sector that more organisations will now be able to access this kind of support through the Big Potential programme.”

As part of the Big Lottery Fund’s continued commitment to the development of the social investment market in England, Big Potential will provide much-needed support to help organisations achieve their full potential for growth by helping them secure investment.

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