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Bristol is an enterprising city with many people successfully running businesses. At the same time, there is significant inequality and unequal distribution of wealth, with some communities and individuals experiencing greater social issues, including around poverty, health, transport connectivity and housing.
The Local Access Programme has been designed to make Bristol’s overall economy more equitable and inclusive. By investing in social enterprises and businesses doing good, particularly those in parts of the city experiencing higher levels of inequality, this multi-year programme will help to grow the city’s social economy, whilst at the same time helping to redress the balance and tackle some of these issues. This approach underpins inclusive and sustainable growth.
The £3m programme launched in 2021 offers enterprise development services, small grants and up to £1m of investment and aims to remove the barriers to funding and support that social enterprises often face. It is a flexible and dynamic programme, which, alongside the tailored investment package, provides an individual support programme for each enterprise (Mix of affordable repayable finance and tailored business development support.)
Development and investment support for social enterprises is provided by several different local partners.
A social enterprise is an organisation that seeks to generate revenue through trading activities but also contributes to social change through its activities – i.e., through its work, the way it operates or who it employs.
Social Enterprise UK sets out four essential criteria to be a social enterprise:
It is managed by Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and underpinned by a partnership of local organisations bringing a range of expertise and support: Black South West Network, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Voscur, ACH, Eastside Community Trust, WECIL, Street2Boardroom and Nature Youth Connection.