Double your money: New fund matches social enterprises’ trading income

A new grant-funding initiative, which will match the trading income of social ventures pound-for-pound, has been launched by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) this week.

Match Trading aims to reward sales growth of social ventures operating in challenging markets so that they develop a sustainable trading base. The social entrepreneurs chosen to be part of the scheme will have the opportunity to double their money, up to the amount of Match Trading grant offered.

Alastair Wilson, CEO of SSE, said: “Many of us working in social enterprise have seen the same problem creep in again and again. The leader of a brilliant, high-impact social enterprise realises they can access grant money far more quickly than it takes to generate the same amount in sales. So they apply for more and more grant, and their model becomes dependent on it. The risk is that, if the grant funding dries up, their organisation and all its fantastic impact just topples over.

“We developed Match Trading to help social entrepreneurs working in the toughest markets move towards more trading-based models, to improve their long-term sustainability and impact. Match Trading isn’t right for every organisation, but we believe it is an important part of the puzzle in developing a robust social enterprise sector. We welcome the collaboration of other organisations who share this objective, as we develop Match Trading.”

The 2015 Social Enterprise UK State of Social Enterprise report found that one in four social enterprises in the UK earn less than 75% of their income from trading. The Match Trading initiative aims to change this. A pilot of the programme provided grants to 19 social entrepreneurs, which was supported by the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund. Over 12 months, the pilot cohort increased their trading by an average of 92%.

Match Trading… is an important part of the puzzle

Social entrepreneur Meave Darroux is the founder of Brilliant Women (trading as Brilliant Parents), which provides parenting courses to support families across London. As one of the participants of the Match Trading pilot scheme, Darroux increased her trading income by 111% over the 12 months.

Darroux said: “I found the Match Trading grant helped me focus, be more targeted, and channel my energies...the Match Trading grant has been instrumental in our development.”

CEO of the Big Lottery Fund Dawn Austwick said: “It [Match Trading] has the potential to be a valuable development in grant funding and will help ensure money goes where it can have the most impact. The Big Lottery Fund will support a further 400 social entrepreneurs with Match Trading grants over the next five years, many working in local communities. I am looking forward to seeing the impact of Match Trading as it is rolled out.”


Match Trading explained in 90 seconds: Watch here

If you are a social entrepreneur keen to access Match Trading grants, click here.  

If you’d like to find out more about partnering with SSE, piloting or funding Match Trading, or for general information, email:

Photo credit: Pedro Baesse