Press release

Regional social enterprises to receive support from £10 million government fund

Funding for two new incubators will offer intensive support to social enterprises in London, West Midlands and the North.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


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The latest recipients of the Government’s £10 million Social Incubator Fund have been announced. ‘Hub Launchpad’ and ‘Social Incubator North’ will be the next projects to receive over a million pounds each in backing.

The fund is designed to provide investment into ‘social incubators’; organisations that will offer a period of intensive support to social enterprise start-ups. This will help turn early stage ideas into successful businesses that change lives, by giving social entrepreneurs access to the resources they need to get their ventures off the ground.

Whilst ‘incubators’ might usually be associated with high-tech businesses in pockets of London, these new organisations will take their work across the country.

Social Incubator North, which has been set up by the established social enterprise Key Fund, will work in collaboration with four regional Social Enterprise Partnerships in the north of England.

Hub Launchpad will create four 7-month incubator programmes in Birmingham and London which will focus on public service innovation, finance innovation and future manufacturing.

Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said:

Social entrepreneurs across the UK are bursting with the ideas and talent to create successful businesses that improve lives and these incubators are no exception. The Social Incubator Fund is another great example of the UK leading the world in the social investment market - enabling our charities and social enterprises to do more.

Ann Oldroyd, CEO of Key Fund, said:

The Key Fund is delighted to be in partnership with the Government in offering a new support programme to help even more social businesses in the North. At the Key Fund it’s never business as usual, but business with northern soul and heart. We have over a decade’s experience nurturing new enterprises with a social conscience, and so we’re absolutely thrilled to lead this national initiative for the North. Together with our delivery partners we can really make a hugely positive impact to support and nurture positive enterprise across the region.

Dr Chris Handy OBE, Accord Group Chief Executive said:

We are delighted to be co-investing in Hub Launchpad to help scale its impact and contribution to the growth of the open & social start-ups. We believe Housing Associations have an increasingly important social investor role to play as engines for economic growth, deploying their skills and resources to help nurture local people and communities and grow the good economy. This opportunity will enable us and our partners to provide world class support measures at the pre start up stage so that we can scale the numbers of disruptive social entrepreneurs, innovations and open ventures emerging from Birmingham, The Black Country and London.

The next round of the Social Incubator Fund, delivered by Big Fund on behalf of the government, will launch in May 2013 and will be open to applications from newer social incubators. Those interested in applying for funding can register their interest by Tuesday 9th April 2013 at

Notes to editors

  1. The Social Incubator Fund aims to help drive a robust pipeline of start-up social ventures into the social investment market, by increasing focus on incubation support, and attracting new incubators into the market. It is being delivered by Big Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society (OCS). The first recipients, Wayra UnLtd and Bethnal Green Ventures, secured £2,119,006 of support in February 2013. Round two of this fund will launch in Spring 2013 and will be open to applications from newer social incubators. If you are interested in applying for funding you must attend a briefing event. To register your interest and secure a place at the event, please email Big Fund at by Tuesday 9th April 2013.

  2. Social Incubator North has been set up by Key Fund, a social enterprise Community Development Finance Institution, and Locality, a Network of Community Lead organisations. They have received £1,065,000 from the Social Incubator Fund and over the next four years the programme will invest in and support 50 organisations, with a further 50 receiving support but no investment. The aim of the project is to create a specific North of England Incubator. Delivery will take the shape of a three stage combined business growth and investment programme, spotlighting quality and sustainability, built on enterprise and geographic expertise. The project will generate 200 applicants through a competitive process, from which 100 will be taken forward into a formal support process. A second stage will hone the client group to an investment cohort of 60, with an expected final beneficiary group of 50 being supported through the full business development and investment process. They will use a mixture of one to one support, group e-learning sets and targeted events and seminars for mutual support groups that group beneficiaries by industry theme and geographic location. Investment will take the form of loans, on average £21,500.

  3. Hub Launchpad will be led by Hub Westminster – Membership organisations of social start-ups providing a range of services to social businesses, In partnership with ‘The Long Run Venture’, an LLP which helps businesses and technologies deliver long run returns as well as measurably improved impact in the short term, Accord Group, a not for profit registered social landlord and provide housing and social care in the West Midlands and ‘00:/’ (zero zero) - a Hub design & development practice spanning research, project development and design. They have received £1,489,500 from the Social Incubator Fund. Over four years, Hub Launchpad will create four 7-month incubator programmes in London and Birmingham, focused on public service innovation, finance innovation and future manufacturing.

Published 2 April 2013
Last updated 5 April 2013 + show all updates
  1. Closing date added.
  2. First published.