Social businesses in East Sussex are being offered the chance to benefit from a new half-a-million-pound funding scheme.
East Sussex County Council is offering £500,000 in loans and grants to social enterprises to allow them to grow and provide new job opportunities.
The Social Business Investment Fund could particularly benefit businesses which create jobs for disadvantaged or vulnerable adults or young people, jobs which provide social or environmental benefits, or volunteering opportunities leading to paid employment.
The fund is part of the county council’s £6 million Economic Intervention Fund, launched last year, and will offer loans and grants for capital or revenue projects.
Cllr Rupert Simmons, county council lead member for economy, said: “Social enterprises play a vital role in helping to boost the local economy, creating new and sustainable jobs in East Sussex.
“They work for the benefit of the community as a whole and our fund aims to support these organisations to grow or diversify. We want to help create jobs and deliver projects which not only support their business but enrich local communities.”
Eligible projects could include those which see businesses expanding their workforce, buying new equipment or adapting premises, piloting a new service or implementing a business plan.
Grants or loans from a minimum of £4,000 are on offer under the scheme, with applications accepted until midday on Monday 11 November 2013.
Application forms, along with more details of how to apply for funding, can be found online.
Anyone who’d like to discuss their project prior to application is asked to call the council’s Economic Development and Skills Team on 01273 482205.
Social businesses are those which pay less than 50 per cent of profits or surplus to owners or shareholders and generate no more than 75 per cent of income from grants or donations.
East Sussex County Council’s Economic Intervention Fund was launched in 2012 and has already awarded £2 million under the Rural Growth and Employment Fund (RuGEF), for schemes which boost the economy in rural areas of East Sussex, and £712,000 under East Sussex Invest, which encourages business growth and inward investment into the county.