New type of grant drives 60 per cent boost in organisations' trading income, research finds

30 Jan 2020 News

Organisations which receive a “Match Trading” grant grow their income by more than 60 per cent on average, new research has found.

Match Trading is a new type of grant for charities and social enterprises that matches pound-for-pound an organisation’s increase in trading income, with the aim of encouraging it to become less dependent on grant funding.

The research compared the performance of 143 Match Trading grantees, whose grants were capped at £4,000 or £10,000, to the performance of a control group made up of 30 organisations that received £10,000 through a traditional grant.

It found that Match Trading grantees significantly increased their trading income, and were significantly more likely to do so compared to organisations receiving traditional grants.

On average, Match Trading grantees grew their trading income by 64 per cent (£17,000) year-on-year, while traditional grantees only saw a 21 per cent increase (£6,500). The trading income boost for the 143 organisations amounted to £5.5m in total.

Match Trading was launched in 2017 by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), and awards grants through two programmes: the Community Business Trade Up Programme and the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Both come with free learning and networking programmes as well as Match Trading grants.

Social enterprises need a range of income sources

Carol Mack, CEO of the Association of Charitable Foundations and chair of the Match Trading Task Force, said: “These latest figures are incredibly encouraging for the future potential of Match Trading grants.

"Our aim is to help support stronger and more viable voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, capable of achieving truly sustained impact.”

Alastair Wilson, CEO of the SSE, said that social enterprises need different income sources to thrive. “The Match Trading grant is not a magic bullet and should be viewed as one way of helping organisations become less grant dependent. Social enterprises need a range of income sources, from funding to trading, depending on their business model, stage of growth and sustainability plan.

“Match Trading grants work best when they form part of a learning programme. The supportive environment helps develop the entrepreneur’s skills, confidence and an entrepreneurial mindset, whilst the Match Trading grant empowers and incentivises the organisation to upscale their trading potential.”

The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme and the Community Business Trade Up Programme are both currently closed for applications, but will reopen in March 2020 and autumn 2020 respectively.

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