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South Yorkshire social entrepreneurs urged to engage with private sector

Published: 30th May 2002

South Yorkshire social entrepreneurs urged to engage with private sector.

Social entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire are being urged to look at alternative sources of funding in order to achieve their goals, say funding agencies in South Yorkshire.

Representatives from the South Yorkshire Key Fund Network and South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd made the comments following the publication of a study by Durham University Business School.

"The study showed that social entrepreneurs have much in common with their private sector counter-parts - except that they are dependent on grants and miss the prospect of optimising sales. The opportunity now exists for them to access a much wider range of financial services including grants, loans and equity investments thanks to the way funding organisations in South Yorkshire are working together," said Fergus Beesley of the South Yorkshire Key Fund Partnership.

"Social enterprises have much in common with profit driven businesses and clearly there are cultural differences between the two. We are working very closely with the South Yorkshire Key Fund, the Community Foundation and the Local Investment Fund to help social enterprises access the most appropriate funding. We believe that bringing private sector approaches to social enterprises will enable them to develop a long term strategy for sustainable growth," said Tony Goulbourn, Chief Executive, South Yorkshire Investment Ltd.

The study found that most social entrepreneurs generate less than half of their income from sales and that the majority of income is from short-term sources that require time-consuming funding proposals.

The study involved 80 individuals and revealed that most of them were involved in small scale initiatives, even though 90% of respondents said they had created jobs; on average 6 jobs were created for every enterprise started.

The authors of the report recommend that social entrepreneurs embrace mentoring as a way of strengthening their enterprises, a move welcomed in South Yorkshire.

"Both the Key Fund and South Yorkshire Investment Fund provide mentors to social enterprises they invest in. Mentors bring with them experience and professional skills, when they work alongside a social enterprise we get a win-win situation for all concerned. Mentoring has proven to work in the private sector and we see no reason why it should not work with the social economy of South Yorkshire," said Fergus Beesley.

For more information on funding available in South Yorkshire contact South Yorkshire key Fund Partnership on 0114 2812222

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.
http://www.finance-yorkshire.com

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).