Humber Social Enterprises wanted – free support to grow

The Humber LEP Business Growth Hub is looking for more of the region’s Social Enterprise to come forward and enrol onto its new pilot scheme of support designed specifically for the growth of not-for-profit organisations in the Humber region.

Humber LEP Business Growth Hub
Humber LEP Business Growth Hub workshops.

The Humber Social Enterprise Accelerator pilot (Humber SEA pilot) is currently supporting a number of social enterprises which have the potential to grow, create jobs and scale-up their work with their communities and groups of interest.

Delivered in partnership with Northbank Forum, the Humber SEA pilot provides intensive bespoke support for Social Enterprises to enable them to become financially robust and take advantage of opportunities for growth, such as accessing a wider range of markets and developing new products and services, to ensure future sustainability.

Since launching in January 2020, the pilot has already supported 11 social enterprises, and is looking to recruit at least five more before the end of the scheme in December 2020. The scheme is looking in particular for social enterprises in the East Riding of Yorkshire, as the pilot is yet to work with an organisation from that area.

Kate Austin from Cleethorpes-based Emerge Hub CIC are currently enrolled on the SEA pilot. Kate had this to say about the scheme: “The Humber SEA programme has been an invaluable resource for us. When we were first introduced, they arranged our meetings with possible funders, which were very positive and gave us the knowledge we needed to make successful bids. They continue to provide us with information – which sometimes we didn’t even know we needed – which enabled us to go forward with all the correct documentation and procedures in place.

“They have also been a great support with their availability on the end of the phone whenever we have had questions or needed a sounding board.

“We are extremely grateful for their expertise and support and will continue to use them for as long as we can.”

Hull-based social enterprise DropPoint CIC are also taking advantage of the SEA pilot, and Director Chris Purcell believes that the scheme has hugely helped prepare his organisation for scaling-up.

He said: “The Humber Social Enterprise Accelerator has been a great process to go through. Their expertise has allowed us to get ready for scaling up our social enterprise and the impact we are trying to achieve.

“I highly recommend it to any other organisation trying to make a difference in the region.”

Pippa Robson, from Northbank Forum, had this to say about the scheme: “Social businesses can have different aims and requirements to traditional, profit-driven organisations. For example, they can access a wider range of funding, and benefit from the input of volunteers.

“They are created in response to community needs, opportunities and challenges. These differences mean they may need tailored, expert support to develop their businesses and that’s what the Humber SEA pilot programme offers.”

The scheme’s tailored coaching enables Social Enterprises to exploit growth opportunities, remove barriers to development by providing advice and support on issues like funding and resources, managing people and demonstrating impact. It also facilitates peer-to-peer learning between the initial cohort of 16 social enterprises.

Jon Brunton, Growth Hub Manager at the Humber LEP said: “Social Enterprises are playing an increasingly bigger part in our region’s economy; providing services that regular commercial businesses can’t – or don’t – always offer, all the while operating just like any other small business and facing up to the same trading issues and barriers to growth.

“The Social Enterprise industry in the Humber is a substantial employer, I am therefore pleased that we are able to offer this specially tailored package of support for our thriving social enterprise community. I really would encourage not for profit organisations to get involved and access the scheme. If this pilot is deemed a success then we will look to repeat it on a larger scale in the medium term.”

The Humber Social Enterprise Accelerator pilot is a fully-funded scheme and is therefore free to access. Social enterprises must have a trading address in the Humber region, employ less than 250 full time equivalent staff, have an annual turnover of less than €50 million or a balance sheet total of less than €43 million, have received less that €200,000 of De Minimis State Aid over the last three years, and not have been in financial difficulty on or before 31 December 2019 to be eligible.

For more information about how the Humber SEA Pilot programme can help your social enterprise, please contact Fiona Wright on 07377 387116 or email fiona@nbforum.org.uk.

[Charis Scott-Holm – Humber LEP]