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Government Funding Announced for Social Enterprise Incubators

8th April 2013

  • ResPublica

'Community Lablets' concept proposed by ResPublica leads to latest Social Incubator Fund grant

In line with the recommendations made in ResPublica’s report, The Venture Society: Fuelling aspiration, independence and growth through grass-roots social entrepreneurship, two regional projects designed to provide collaborative spaces and intensive support for social enterprises have been granted financial aid from the Government’s Social Incubator Fund. Social Incubator North and Hub Launchpad will each receive over £1 million to support their activities.

Following their success in the latest application round, Hub Launchpad will channel their £1.48 million grant into four seven-month incubator programmes in Birmingham and London which will focus on financial and public service innovation, as well as future manufacturing. Social Incubator North, having received £1.06 million, will collaborate with four regional Social Enterprise Partnerships in the north of England in order to deliver enterprise incubation facilities.

Announced in July 2012 and administered by Big Fund, the Social Incubator Fund is scheduled to provide £10 million of support over a period of three years to initial investment in social enterprises.

In announcing the grant, Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, stated that:

“The Social Incubator Fund is another great example of the UK leading the world in the social investment market – enabling our charities and social enterprises to do more.”

A next round of grants, scheduled for May 2013, is intended to focus on early-stage social ventures.

ResPublica pioneered the idea of ‘community lablets’ in May 2010, to “act as an incubator for new social enterprises by providing the basic infrastructure, advice and funding to dramatically boost the number of start-up enterprises”. ResPublica also recommends, beyond the Social Incubator Fund, for such ‘labs’ to be driven through large foundations such as UnLtd, and invested in locally through Big Society Capital and blended investment vehicles for long-term sustainability.

The ResPublica report, written by Asheem Singh, also called for regulation to be cut at an early stage for social entrepreneurs and recommended that all such initiatives should be placed within the remit of the Cabinet Office. ResPublica is pleased that all of these suggestions have now either been implemented or are in line with current government priorities.

As part of the Models and Partnerships for Social Prosperity workstream, ResPublica is commencing a research project entitled ‘A Civic Approach to Finance’, part of which will focus on the role of more ‘democratised’ forms of finance and investment for community-based and social initiatives. For further information, please contact

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