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Landmark fund to help diverse entrepreneurs change society announced

It will offer entrepreneurs up to £1.5million in funding to achieve their goals

A landmark investment fund, aimed at tackling the lack of diversity among people starting social enterprises, has been announced today – backed by the Big Issue.

Designed to help entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds change society, the Growth Impact Fund is a collaboration between Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of the Big Issue, along with partners UnLtd and Shift.

Investment in social enterprises has serious problems with inclusion – particularly with race – a report from the Adebowale Commission found this year.

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Along with a lack of racial diversity, the fund hopes to eliminate barriers for disabled entrepreneurs, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, female-led companies, and those who have experienced the problems they are trying to fix.

Only social enterprises with 75 per cent of the board from one of these backgrounds – or who commit to improving their diversity – will be eligible for investment.

Sara Redford, Chair of the Social Impact Investment Committee for the Growth Impact Fund, said: “I have seen first-hand the frustrations that social purpose organisations and investors suffer.

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“The Growth Impact Fund will address the bias which we know can close doors to diverse-led organisations, and share its learnings to wedge those doors open for more funds and entrepreneurs to follow.”

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Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for investment ranging from £50,000 to £1.5 million. It is backed by funding from Bank of America and Access, to create a potential £25m pot.

Along with investment, businesses benefitting from the fund will have access to grants and help with caring responsibilities.

Danyal Sattar, Chief Executive at Big Issue Invest, said: “We know a large pool of talented and diverse investees exist who aren’t being served by current products.

“In co-creating the Growth Impact Fund with UnLtd, we are tangibly putting money to back the diverse entrepreneurs for whom current finance doesn’t quite work.”

Social enterprises interested in the Growth Impact Fund can visit growthimpactfund.org.uk.

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