Social Enterprise Support

Are you a Social Enterprise, Charity that currently trades, or looking to start trading? No matter how large or small your organisation is, we can offer you support in various different shapes and sizes. 

    We are aware that 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.

    Whether you are a well-established VCSE sector organisation or new to trading, we have support to offer that can help you with your mission. 

    Contact us 

    Complete the form below and we will be pleased to chat about your current situation and how we could support you further.

    Alternatively, call Voscur on 0117 909 9949.

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    Find out more below about the two different Social Enterprise Support Programmes at Voscur:


    Local Access Programme 

    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:

    How do you define 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.

    How is it funded?

    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.


    Social Economy West Programme

    Social Economy West exists to support and grow the social economy in the region, helping organisations to overcome increasing demand amid the cost-of-living crisis. To be eligible for support, organisations must be located in the West of England Combined Authority Region and have a core social mission.

    The programme is a West of England Mayoral Combined Authority initiative, providing charities, third sector organisations, social enterprises, and co-operatives with the resources, expertise and guidance they need to:

    • Explore opportunities for growth
    • Effectively manage increasing demand on services
    • Build economic resilience and enhance environmental sustainability
    • Manage risk more effectively 
    • Diversify income streams 

    What support can organisations benefit from?

    We're working with experienced third sector organisations, Voscur, 3SG, CVS South Gloucestershire, School for Social Entrepreneurs and Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, to deliver five key support activities to businesses, including:

    • 1-2-1 coaching and support
    • Demand-led themed workshops
    • Expert mentoring from social entrepreneurs
    • Opportunity to join peer networks
    • A comprehensive Accelerator programme 

    To be eligible for support, organisations must be located in the West of England Combined Authority Region and have a core social mission.

    This could include organisations such as:

    • Social and community enterprises
    • Charities
    • Voluntary and community sector organisations
    • Housing associations
    • Co-operatives and mutuals
    • Informal self-help initiatives
    • Social finance and support providers
    • Alternative business models