Social enterprises and COVID-19: Grants, loans and other funding

[LAST UPDATED: 15/05/20] Below is a list of funding we've heard of that may be able to help social enterprises and other social sector organisations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – either those directly tackling its effects, or those working in unrelated fields but needing temporary support to continue delivering their services. Note: while we do our best to provide accurate information, we are not able to verify every entry or to update them as soon as information changes.

Find our fortnightly selection of upcoming deadlines here.





  • Action Against Corona (Sweden) is offering startups or projects from around the world that are tackling the virus up to €1m. Read more here.
  • Entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman is looking to fund startups or projects directly helping with COVID-19.
  • Aspen Tech Policy Hub is accepting applications from technologists (US citizens/residents only) for projects that will help mitigate the effects of Covid-19, with winning teams allotted up to $15,000. Deadline 30 March.
  • Bumble is offering small business owners "in a tough position due to COVID-19" up to $5,000 cash. Requests accepted until 5 April and awardees announced within 30 days from then.
  • IBM's Call for Code challenge is seeking tech solutions to Covid-19. Deadline 31 July.
  • The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, a coalition of 40 global names supporting a total of 15,000 social entrepreneurs and aiming to raise further funding, was announced on 4 May. Read more here.
  • Facebook is offering $100m in cash grants and advertising credits for up to 30,000 small businesses (in 30+ countries) that are facing disruptions due to the virus.
  • The Gadfly Project has in-kind web hosting grants for small businesses and nonprofits experiencing hardships and revenue losses due to Covid-19. Deadline: 1 June 2020.
  • The GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund is aiming to raise $4m, and offering micro grants of $1,000 to nonprofits (existing users of the platform) that have been affected – apply here.
  • HSBC is giving $25m total to relief and recovery efforts around the world, including a $2m donation to charities coordinating the international response.
  • Internet Society Foundation (ISOC)'s Emergency Response Grant programme has grants of $250,000 to $500,000 for registered nonprofits working on projects that use the Internet to improve lives during, or in response to, an emergency situation. Deadline 17 May 2020.
  • Met Life Foundation has pledged $25m to short- and long-term relief efforts, with a first round of grants supporting: emergency food, childcare, and healthcare needs, as well as direct financial assistance.
  • MIT SOLVE is seeking solutions for prevention, accurate detection, and rapid response of outbreaks. Selected solutions get a $10,000 grant. Deadline 18 June.
  • Netflix has set up a $100m fund to help the creative community, including “third parties and nonprofits offering emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in countries where Netflix has a big production base.”
  • Open Road Alliance, a US-based fund that specialises in making short-term bridge loans to social enterprises in difficulty, is offering four loan products to organisations tackling the virus: lost event revenue, accelerating incoming emergency funds, co-investment and 'deep impact loans'.
  • Open Society Foundations will give more than $130m to combat the effects of COVID-19 worldwide, with a focus on immediate relief for vulnerable communities and pushing back against government encroachment on political freedoms. It includes $3.5m for southern Africa, through the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
  • Telcoms group Orange has set up a €8m crisis fund in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to support healthcare and preventive initiatives, and to provide essential supplies. Includes a €200,000 fund to support crisis initiatives in Europe. 
  • Partech, one of the world’s largest seed investors,  has announced a new $100m fund to invest in seed-stage startups working in ‘post-COVID trend areas’ of health, work, commerce, finance, mobility and computing, across Europe, Asia and the US.
  • Peace First has a round of Rapid Response Grants for young people aged 13-25 worldwide, wanting to lead projects that address community impacts of COVID-19.
  • Pears Foundation is increasing its expenditure this financial year by 50%, up to approximately £30m, and all its new funding for 2020 will be allocated to support core costs, apart from to fulfil existing capital or project commitments, or where linked directly to Covid-19 impact alleviation.
  • Freelancing platform PeoplePerHour is offering small businesses £10m worth of credits to hire one of its 2.4 million freelancers.
  • PFAN's Covid-19 Clinic is offering customised in-kind support for climate entrepreneurs.
  • The Pollination Project has small grants for volunteer community projects that address needs for water, sanitation, and hygiene, community & emotional resilience, and virtualisation of existing grassroots projects. It does not fund projects with “well established funding sources”, or those that have paid staff.
  • Skoll Foundation is quadrupling its grantmaking from $51.8m last year to $200m in 2020. Nearly all new grants will address the public health, economic, and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The $500m Transform Fund (from the Islamic Development Bank), has seed funding for innovations focused on supporting the bank's member countries to prepare and respond to Covid-19. Submissions until 1 June.
  • has a $2m grant fund for organisations helping people in acute crisis through hotline and helpline services. Up to $150,000 can be requested. Deadline 5 June.
  • Visa Foundation has committed $210m total to support small and micro businesses. The first $10m is for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations  responding to Covid-19 in North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. This will be followed by $200m to support small and micro businesses around the world, with a focus on women.
  • The WeFunder accelerator is looking for startups with bright ideas to tackle any area that's affected by coronavirus, with $50,000 in immediate funding and help to raise up to $1m. Deadline 3 April.
  • A $5m grant from Google’s philanthropic arm is enabling Youth Business International to support 200,000 micro, small and medium-sized businesses in 32 countries with crisis helplines, training and mentoring, plus expertise from Google employees.

More resources:


Global South

  • Emerging market fund manager Alquity Investment Management has committed to donating 40% of its fund management fees from new investments to charity partners for the rest of the year, projected to help 40,000 people in the developing world. (It normally donates 10% of fee revenues to its Transforming Lives Foundation.)
  • Enygma Ventures has launched Shift Fund, a US$1m fund to support African startups, entrepreneurs and innovators with “innovative solutions” for the post-pandemic world. There’s a focus on gender inclusion/equality.
  • FINCA International has created the FINCA Emergency Response Fund to provide emergency relief to low-income communities and bridge support to early-stage social enterprises in its countries of operation.
  • GSMA's Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion has equity-free grants of £100,000-£250,000. Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia only. Deadline 22 May.
  • The King Baudouin Foundation United States is launching Emergency Response Funds for several African countries – pooling contributions and distributing them to local nonprofits working on the frontlines.
  • The Lion's Share COVID-19 Response Resilience in Wildlife Community Small Grants has grants of $20,000-$50,000 for nonprofits in developing countries looking to catalyse community or local-level action to protect severely threatened ecosystems or wildlife. Deadline 15 May.
  • Omidyar Network India has committed $1.4m towards initiatives focussed on the ‘next half billion’. NGOs, research organisations, and for-profit businesses, registered in India can apply for work in the fields of tech, community outreach, economic resilience, research, and more. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Asset manager ResponsAbility is looking to raise $1bn for an emergency liquidity facility to support MSMEs in developing countries. Read the concept note here.
  • Start Network has created the Start Fund, to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries. IKEA Foundation has given the first $1.5m.
  • Impact investor Vital Capital has created the Vital Impact Relief Facility for social impact businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting with an initial $10m it will issue around 10 loans of approximately $1m each for up to four years. Read more here.



  • The European Commision has unlocked €8bn to allow the European Investment Fund to issue special guarantees, to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and others hit by the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • The #EUvsVirus Hackathon will take place on 24-26 April and address around 20 coronavirus challenges, to be quickly developed and deployed across the EU Single Market. It follows similar hackathons held in Estonia and Germany in March.
  • Corona Funding has been set up to support social startups and SMEs in the UK, Denmark or Germany, that are otherwise healthy but in danger of running out of capital over the coming 3-6 months.
  • The European Social Catalyst Fund, which aims to bring together public and private resources to improve social services, has extended its deadline due to Covid-19 to 11 September. Successful applicants get a planning grant of up to €100,000 along with capacity building support.
  • The European Culture Foundation has launched a Culture of Solidarity Fund to provide funding for cultural activities which promote European solidarity during the crisis. Apply by 27 April.
  • BELGIUM: The King Baudouin Foundation has allocated €3m to organisations fighting poverty and homelessness and €2m to frontline organisations, both offering lump-sum support of €10,000. The foundation is also rasing funds for hospitals and other residential care homes for short/medium-term needs.
  • BLACK SEA REGION: The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation seeks civic initiatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine aiming to limit the coronavirus crisis and its impact on society, good governance, democracy, rule of law, and access to free media. Budget $25,000; proposals accepted on an ongoing basis.
  • CROATIA: The National Foundation for Civil Society Development, in partnership with other civil society organisations, has set up a Community Potential initiative. It's starting with an analysis of various areas including social entrepreneurship, and will then develop activities for the post-pandemic phase.
  • FRANCE: The High Commission for the social and solidarity economy and for social innovation is compiling details of all the measures and support for social enterprises. Their latest update is here. More broadly, the French government has also announced a €4bn emergency plan for startups.
  • GREECE: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has set up the Global Relief Initiative. It has given $3m to The Rockefeller University and will fund long-term work in Greece and beyond.
  • IRELAND: The government's COVID-19 Emergency Fund provides €2.5m to support community and voluntary groups involved in the delivery of COVID-19 community response efforts. It is being delivered via local authorities.
  • IRELAND: ChangeX is identifying, funding and spreading grassroots projects aimed at strengthening Ireland’s response to Covid-19. The Web Summit has pledged €1m to support these projects.
  • IRELAND: the COVID-19 C&V Stability Scheme has grants of €2,000-€100,000 available for frontline community and voluntary organisations, social enterprises or charities operating in Ireland who are facing loss of fundraising or traded income. Deadline 20 May.
  • IRELAND: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland is offering up to €40,000 to help retail companies grow their online capability. For businesses of 10 employees or more. Deadline 27 May.
  • IRELAND: Social Innovation Fund Ireland's Innovate Together has €5m to support innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis and recovery phase, with cash grants starting at €20,000 plus other support.
  • ITALY: Acri – an association of Italian foundations of banking origin – has created a €5m guarantee fund to support third sector organisations. It has also allocated €35m to hospitals and healthcare companies.
  • PORTUGAL: The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund has €5m (initially) to strengthen the resilience of society to the virus in five areas (health, science, civil society, education and culture), as well as tackling shortages of protective material and medical equipment, medical research, support to the elderly and more. 
  • RUSSIA: The Vladimir Potanin Foundation has grants of up to 10 million rubles to help NGOs in social and cultural fields adapt their work, including switching to digital formats.
  • SPAIN: An alliance of investors and foundations, Convocatoria, is offering funding of up to €500k to support startup-led initiatives that tackle the crisis.

The European Foundation Centre has this list of how its members, philanthropic organisations in 30 countries, are responding to the crisis so far.


Help us keep this list up to date - let us know what we've missed by emailing with emergency funding that can help social ventures around the world.



UK government funds (see further below for Wales/Scotland/NI government initiatives)

Others - UK-wide



  • Foundation Scotland has grants of £1,000 to £5,000 for constituted community groups and charities responding to the coronavirus in their local community. 
  • Social Investment Scotland has launched a £2m Credit Union Resilience Fund to support credit unions with their working capital and liquidity. 
  • Scotland has created a £20m Third Sector Resilience Fund, with both grants and interest free loans available. Phase two – max grant £75,000 – is currently open for applications here.
  • Scotland also has £33m available within its Wellbeing Fund, for organisations across the third sector providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus. Round 2 has grants of £1,000-£100,000; applications from groups working with BAME communities particularly welcomed. Deadline is 22 May.
  • Connecting Scotland, a £5m government initiative announced 7 May, aims to support to vulnerable people who are at home and digitally excluded – coordinated by SCVO, and  delivered through local authorities and third sector bodies. Organisations working with target groups can fill out an expression of interest form here.


Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland's Department for Communities is matchfunding Community Foundation NI’s Coronavirus Community Fund with an additional £200,000. (Follow NICVA and SE NI for funding updates in Northern Ireland.)
  • The Community Foundation Northern Ireland is offering grants of up to £2,500 to organisations in Northern Ireland supporting isolated older people. Northern Ireland's Department for Communities has said it will match fund CFNI's fund with an additional £200,000.
  • Live here Love here Small Grants Scheme offers £500 to £5,000 for volunteer-run projects in Northern Ireland aimed at improving health and wellbeing and local environment, and development of civic pride within a community, as well as caring for those in need as a result of Covid-19. Deadline 18 May.


Local and regional UK funding

For local/regional funds throughout the UK, we recommend checking the Charity Excellence website or the Good Finance coronavirus hub.


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