£600,000 bid to instill business values into social enterprises

First published in Business News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Business Editor

SOCIAL enterprises across the North East have received a funding boost in a bid to help them create jobs and become more competitive and sustainable.

The project, which has secured £592,065 investment from the European Regional Development Fund Competitiveness Programme 2007- 2013, will offer free support to social enterprises with the aim of instilling commercial and business-minded values.

Targets for the project are to:

• assist 300 social enterprise SMEs with business support aimed at helping them to become more sustainable and to grow;

• safeguard 100 jobs in social enterprises;

• create jobs in 50 social enterprises;

• support potential social entrepreneurs and the creation of at least 10 new social enterprises; and

• help 30 potential social entrepreneurs become ready to set up at social enterprise.

The project hopes to encourage organisations to take advantage of market opportunities and improve productivity, generating income and reducing dependence on grant income.

It is being led by the North-East Social Enterprise Partnership (NESEP) comprising a number of voluntary organisations including Locality, Community Ventures, Sustainable Enterprise Strategies CIC and New Leaf New Life with each partner also providing match funding.

Councillor Neil Foster, deputy chair of the North-East England Local Management Committee (LMC) which oversees the delivery of the region’s ERDF Programme, said: “The project will help social enterprises to become more business-like and consequently grow in size and turnover, becoming less reliant on grant income.”

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