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Dudley Council the historic capital of the Black Country
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Sources of financial help for social enterprises

The Key Fund

Set up in 1999 in the South Yorkshire coalfield to respond to the economic and social legacy of the decline of the mining industry, the Key Fund is now active in the West Midlands. It offers loans, or in some cases a blend of loan and grant (but never grant only) up to £30,000 for organisations that have a trading history of less than 3 years, and up to £150,000 for those that have been trading for 3 years or more.

To be eligible, the applicant has to:

1. Be a formally constituted organisation e.g. Limited Company; Community Interest Co.; LLP; Community Benefit Society; Co-operative; Charitable Incorporated Organisation etc. However, well established unincorporated charities may be supported too;

2. Be a social business;

3. Have a governing body that allows you to borrow money

4. Have positive consensus among your governing body to take on and manage finance debt;

5. Have a bank account or evidence that one will be opened;

6. Have already approached a commercial lender and been refused support

BCRS Business Loans

With a range of dedicated Business Loan Funds available that provide loans from £10,000 to £150,000, BCRS Business Loans offer support for viable small and medium sized businesses that are struggling to access finance from traditional lenders. Our sole purpose is to provide finance to promote the growth and prosperity of local businesses.

Small businesses are at the heart of what we do; we believe in what they do. Offering a relationship-based approach to lending, we are able to support local businesses and the communities they serve in ways few other lenders can. For us, no viable business should go unsupported.

Art Business Loans

A Community Development Finance Institution, based at Birmingham Innovation Campus. Art will lend across the West Midlands with a remit to create and protect jobs. Art will loan £10,000 - £150,000 with an average loan size of around £30,000; but also prepared to collaborate with other financiers to support a project.

Big Society Capital

A financial institution with a social mission, BSC were set up to build the social investment market in the UK so that charities and social enterprises can access appropriate repayable finance to enable them to grow. Linked to BSC are a number of other lending institutions including Charity Bank and the Access Foundation for Social Investment.

BSC is also the source to find out more about Social Investment Tax Relief, whereby individual investors can pledge money for a minimum 3 years to a business, but get an immediate 30% tax relief on the amount.

Unity Trust Bank

Unity helps to create social change in communities by reinvesting the deposits made by is customers into loans for organisations and business that offer community, social or environmental benefit.

FSE Social Impact Accelerator

This loan scheme can provide loan finance between £200,000 and £1,000,000 to ambitious social enterprises across the UK.

Social Impact Funding

The Community Enterprise Fund (CEF)

CEF was set up by Dudley Council in 2012 as a £250,000 one-off pot offered as grant or loan or a blend open to new start-up or fledgling ventures. Over the course of two bidding rounds, applicants were invited to bid up to a nominal limit of £10,000 funding. Applications were judged on the basis of four criteria: innovation; evidence of local community benefit; a robust business plan; and a sustainable organisation behind the enterprise.

Having supported a number of local enterprises, CEF is currently dormant while decisions are made regarding the opportunity to use it to lever in more money into the Borough. However, non financial support is still available through the Council, Dudley CVS and/or the Synergy Peer Group (see Advice/Support).

:: more about CEF

Reaching Communities Fund

Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need. Grants are available from £10,000, upwards and funding can last for up to 5 years. If you think you need more than £500,000 you must call us before you apply to discuss why you believe a larger project is appropriate. There is no upper limit for total project costs.

We can fund, salaries, running costs, a contribution towards core costs and equipment. We can also fund up to £100,000 for land, buildings or refurbishment capital costs.

Heart of England Community Foundation

We manage a variety of funds which are given as small grants to groups and projects which are mostly volunteer led.