A menu of support

Our strategy for providing enterprise development support to the sector from 2018-23

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Based our key design principles, we intend to develop a broad menu of support for charities and social enterprises who wish to develop earned income which will include:

Type of support


Diagnosis and review 

A best-in-class diagnostic process, combining an online self-assessment questionnaire, peer-led reflection and independent review, to lead organisations to identify strategic priorities, opportunities for enterprise and support needs.

Information and guidance

Building on the approach of Good Finance, Access will support the development of an open, integrated information base to support enterprise in the social sector. This will include: clear, accessible information about successful business models, market intelligence and research by sector and region, ‘self-service’ guides, and sources of advisory support and investment. This information and knowledge will have various homes depending on the best place to reach different parts of the social sector.

Peer Support/

Throughout all aspects of the support offered, engagement with peers will be an expectation for all involved. This will principally be enabled through resourcing and strengthening existing networks, and may also include ‘cross-network’ matching services to ensure that the best fit can be achieved for both individual connections and cohorts.

Learning opportunities

Learning opportunities will be made available to individuals and groups to help start the journey towards enterprise development, to gain inspiration from others who have been on the journey and key skills to understand the impact on the organisation.

Organisations working in the Youth or Homelessness sectors have applied to take part in Enterprise Learning run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Find out more.  

Peripatetic expertise

We will explore developing approaches to funding specific transformational roles in organisations, for example an interim finance director to work as part of the team one day/week for 6-12 months. Their contribution will be targeted and time-bound, with the objective of transferring responsibility and capability to the internal team over the course of their engagement.

Feasibility grants

Small grants of around £10,000, principally for internal capacity, will be provided for organisations to investigate and develop an enterprise proposition from the very earliest stage into a proposed delivery plan.

As part of the Enterprise Grants programme, organisations working in the Youth or Homelessness sector can apply for Feasibility grants. Find out more.  

Development grants

More substantial grants of around £50,000 will be available for organisations which have a developed enterprise proposition where there is a potential requirement for investment. These will be spent on a mixture of internal capacity and external expertise, to develop, test and refine a proposition, including starting or growing trading activities.

As part of the Enterprise Grants programme, organisations working in the Youth or Homelessness sector, can apply for Development Grants. Find out more.

Investment readiness grants

Following the success of the first two years of The Reach Fund, we have committed a further £7m of funding over the next three years, to continue to offer investment readiness grants to organisations with a well-developed enterprise model and who need specific help to secure investment, via our network of Access Points.

Organisations will not be expected to make a linear progression through these options; rather support will be tailored to the specific needs of organisations.

This menu of support covers a range of intensities of interventions, from relatively inexpensive, light touch, one-to-many learning opportunities to high contact, high value one-to-one consultancy. As a general rule, the greater the value of the intervention, the closer we would expect the organisation to be to using social investment as a tool to help grow their enterprise activity.

Over the next five years, we aim to support up to 10,000 organisations through accessing information, guidance and tools which can help them to begin considering how they may be able to become more enterprising.

As the interventions we support become more expensive we will be more targeted in the organisations which our programmes support. For example we estimate will fund around 1,000 feasibility grants and 400 enterprise development grants between 2018 and 2023.

You can find the latest updates on our progress on our blog.