Short 'n' Sweet: 5 September 2019

Sweet treats selected from your social enterprise and impact investing news releases. 

This week: €800k for Irish social enterprise training, 'scaling accelerator' opens for applications, new fund for fashion industry innovations, and more...

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Ireland: Government announces new €800k pot for social enterprise training

On Monday Ireland’s minister for rural and community development announced new funding of €800,000 for the training and mentoring of social enterprises throughout Ireland. Organisations experienced in delivering training and mentoring to social enterprises, including higher education institutions, will be invited to express interest shortly, with successful providers selected by year end.

The announcement follows the publication in July of Ireland’s first National Social Enterprise Policy, which set out 26 commitments to be met over four years, including supporting social enterprises in areas such as business planning, mentoring, leadership, governance, capacity building, financial planning and digital innovation.

This latest funding comes from a dormant accounts fund. Up to 300 participants are expected to benefit from the new fund over the next year.

  • Read our regular finance roundup here, with the full archive open to our subscribers.


UK: ‘Issues-led’ scaling accelerator opens for applications

Spring Impact announced yesterday its new Scale Accelerator, focused on scaling up projects that help marginalised individuals facing multiple complex needs, like homelessness and substance abuse. UK-based organisations “championing a coordinated approach to helping adults facing severe multiple disadvantages” can apply now, with the programme kicking off in January.

Joe Kallarackal, director at Spring Impact, said the accelerator was part of a mission to “transform how the social sector scales impact” by working with a targeted group of organisations “looking to disrupt the system”. Spring Impact’s Scale Accelerator has been backed by The National Lottery Community Fund since 2015.

  • Read more from the experts at Spring Impact in Pioneers Post Quarterly issue 14 - out soon!


Netherlands/Asia: New fund to invest in supply chain innovation in fashion industry

The first investment fund focused solely on fashion supply chains was announced yesterday.

The Good Fashion Fund, targeting $60m, is a collaboration between C&A Foundation (the corporate foundation of global retailer C&A), Hong Kong-based incubator The Mills Fabrica, and impact investment firm FOUNT. Aiming to tackle “systemic change” in apparel and footwear supply chains, the fund will invest in innovative technologies in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Small to medium manufacturers innovating in fields including raw materials, dyeing and finishing, and traceability of products, will be eligible for funding. 

The Good Fashion Fund is initiated by the Amsterdam-based Fashion for Good, whose managing director Katrin Ley, said: “Disruptive innovation is needed to shift the fashion industry from a model of ‘take-make-waste’ towards a more circular and regenerative system. 

“While the technology exists today to move forward towards circularity, it is not yet being scaled. The Good Fashion Fund provides the resources, tools and incentives needed to bridge the innovation gap, bringing these innovations to the mainstream.”


UK: BECO launches #StealOurStaff disability awareness campaign

London-based soap maker BECO launched a new campaign to raise awareness of access to employment for disabled people – calling on other companies to “steal its staff”.

The campaign sees CVs of BECO employees appearing on packs stocked in supermarket chains Waitrose and Sainsbury's, plus multiple outdoor advertising locations.

Just over half of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 82% of the general working population, according to BECO, which says it gets “inundated with the CVs of people with disabilities every day”.

UK: Key Fund backs LGBT inclusion and sex education venture

Gainsborough-based enterprise Think2Speak, a community interest company that focuses on LGBT+ inclusion and relationships and sex education, has secured grant and loan funding totalling £92,000.

Founded in 2015, Think2Speak supports people with skills and confidence to tackle difficult conversations, reaching 8,000 people to date.

The funding, announced today, consists of a loan of approximately £72,000 plus a grant of £10,000 from the The Key Fund, and another small grant of £10,000 from The Mercers’ Company. The capital will allow the CIC to grow its team and invest in digital growth plans, and support various schemes including workshops, counselling sessions and awareness campaigns.   

The organisation was founded by Lizzie Jordan, a high-profile HIV advocate in the UK. She was recognised as a leading social entrepreneur on the NatWest WISE100 list in 2017.

  • Applications are open now for the 2019 NatWest WISE100: Read more here.

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Header image by martaposemuckel on pixabay.