An innovative social investment initiative funded by Legal & General and managed by CAF Venturesome has just completed a second round of investment in Wales.
The Social Enterprise Assist Fund (SE-Assist) offers interest free loans ranging from £10,000 to £30,000, business mentoring and expert advisory services to early stage social enterprises in Wales. It was created in partnership with the Welsh Government, Wales Co-Operative Centre, Business in the Community Wales and the Institute of Directors Wales.
This extends Legal & General’s social and economic commitment to Wales alongside it being a major employer in Cardiff, providing £400m of funding to the Cardiff Central Square Development and providing finance to the new Aston Martin Plant in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Following a record number of applications in 2016 the decision was made to open a second round of funding for the SE-Assist scheme, which already supports six social enterprises across Wales, including Elite Paper Solutions, working to help people who are disabled or at disadvantage to access, obtain and maintain employment; Book Of You, providing multimedia reminiscence services for people with dementia in Wales through a web app; and The Llanhilleth Miners Institute, a centre for community engagement tackling a variety of social deprivation issues.
The SE Assist scheme is in the process of offering a further four social businesses from across Wales support to enable them to progress their services and take their business to the next level. One of the businesses to benefit is Empower – Be The Change who sell and deliver products and services across the UK with the primary mission to: “Empower individuals and communities to achieve more”. Empower delivers services that directly address issues of poverty, community cohesion, well-being and increasing access and attainment across all aspects of learning. In partnership with a range of local and national organisations Empower helps individuals gain key employability skills and experience through accredited training, volunteering and mentoring.
This has brought the total investment offered by the Fund to over £600,000 in interest free loans to 29 social enterprises.
Graham Precey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Legal & General said:
“We are delighted that the Legal & General SE-Assist Fund has been such a success and as a result we have just completed a second round of investment to support varied and local enterprises across Wales. We are very excited to be involved in their development and help them progress.”
Holly Piper, Head of CAF Venturesome, said:
“We are thrilled to have completed a second round of investment for SE-Assist in Wales to help early stage social enterprises. As one of the UK’s longest standing social investment funds, CAF Venturesome is excited to work with our partners to help make a huge difference to people in the communities where they operate and create significant social impact. Successful applicants will combine community benefit with a sustainable business model that will impact the lives of local people for many years.”