A group of funders and foundations have formed a new task force to explore how enterprise grants can be better utilised to boost enterprise in the charity sector.
The Enterprise Grants Taskforce, which launched earlier this week, is led by a steering group that includes the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment.
Initial charity members include Voice4Change, Power to Change, London Funders, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust and the Rank Foundation.
Enterprise Grants are funding streams awarded by public or private funders to help charities and social enterprises earn more income from providing services or selling goods.
Boosting enterprise in the sector
Over the next three years, the taskforce will aim to “define the scope and course” of enterprise grants across the UK, while identifying best practice and setting up plans to scale the approach.
Current and future members will also share practical insights and approaches.
Carol Mack, chief executive of ACF, said: “Supporting enterprise income makes sense for foundations. It can help build the resilience of the charities and social enterprises that funders seek to support by diversifying their income. It can also help make precious philanthropy go further by targeting grant income at activity which can’t generate earned income.
“The Enterprise Grants taskforce offers a great platform for more foundations to understand the role that enterprise can play in the sector’s funding ecology and how best to support its growth.”
The taskforce builds on the work of the Match Trading Taskforce, which launched in 2018 and brings together more than 20 funders, sector organisations and government bodies.
Enterprise grants are ‘missing piece’ in jigsaw
Alastair Wilson, chief executive of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said that enterprise grants are the “missing piece in the finance jigsaw for trading charities, community businesses and social enterprises”.
“For too long, social purpose organisations have been supported with a binary offer of either grants or loans,” she said. “The adoption of Match Trading gives a clear sign of the emergence of a new market designed to support the trading endeavours of socially minded entrepreneurial activity working in the most disadvantaged communities.”
Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, added: “Enterprise grantmaking and social investment and two sides of the same coin. Both are tools to help more charities and social enterprise to boost their trading income and make more impact in communities.
“This matters because our sector has the unique ability to drive enterprise growth in the most deprived communities in the country, creating jobs as well as social impact where it is most needed. Levelling up the country can only be achieved with trading charities and social enterprises playing their role.”