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£15m impact fund for the North announced

Friday, 11th January 2019

A Yorkshire-based social enterprise has secured £15m of funds to support businesses in the post-industrial areas of the north of England; the first of several planned funds.

The Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) has received an initial £7.5m cash boost from Big Society Capital, a major social impact investor which works with Social Investment Scotland to connect investment with SMEs and social enterprises throughout areas that need it most.

Chief executive of BEF, Steve Waud, said the organisation wants to increase its funding support in these post-industrial areas which it works. He added: "It has taken a long time to secure this social impact funding and our fund for the North is the first of its kind.

"We are currently developing additional social impact funds and hope to announce a further 15m early next year this is all part of our continuing growth plans to help the North's economy through supporting SMEs, where for every 1 we lend, over 4 is added to the local economy. In the next couple of years, our impact is set to equate to nearly 0.25bn."

In its 2018 social impact report, BEF outlined plans to weave into the fabric of its operations, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on reducing inequalities and making these post-industrial areas more resilient and sustainable.

"By 2022 we want to have a 5% year-on-year increase on lending in the north of England which is especially necessary in the current volatile economic environment - with this additional 15m funding were on track to do just that," said Steve, who has headed BEF since it was established in 2004.

Alastair Davis, chief executive of Social Investment Scotland, said: "The impact BEF is making on its communities via the businesses its helping is very exciting to us; were looking forward to working with them in the future and seeing how the 15m is distributed to organisations supporting disadvantaged areas."