Local Access Programme

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.)   

How do I get involved?

Development and investment support for social enterprises is provided by several different local partners. 

Click here to find out about the support available.

Are you – or could you be – a social enterprise?  

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 must have a clear social or environmental mission set out in its governing documents.  
  • It must re-invest or donate at least half of its profits or surpluses towards its mission.  
  • It must be independent of state or government control and earn more than half of its income through trading.  
  • It must be transparent in the way it operates and impact it has. 


    Case Studies

    Check out some case studies of organisations that the programme has supported to date.

    Who is involved?

    The Local Access Programme is funded by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment and Big Society Capital.  

    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 NetworkSchool for Social EntrepreneursVoscurACHEastside Community TrustWECILStreet2Boardroom and Nature Youth Connection.