The Social Enterprise Support Fund will provide essential financial support between £10,000 and £300,000 to help social enterprises during COVID19. 


Five social enterprise support agencies have come together to deliver the new fund which launches today. Big Issue Invest, The Key Fund, Resonance, the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and UnLtd will jointly deliver £18.7 million in grants, with support from CAF Venturesome, the Young Foundation and Ashoka. This has been made possible thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund.  


The UK’s 100,000 social enterprises have been at the heart of community survival and recovery during this crisis, from making PPE for health workers, to providing food and connection in their neighbourhoods.   


The Social Enterprise Support Fund responds to an urgent need in the sector to help social enterprises change the way they work, make their spaces COVID-secure, and manage liquidity during the next six months. 


The fund is aimed at social enterprises supporting people at high health risk from COVID-19, and those supporting people facing increased social and economic challenges as a result of COVID-19. 


 Vulnerable people need this support more than ever, but social ventures are struggling to make enough income to meet this need. Research shows that this crisis is disproportionately hurting communities who already experience social and economic inequalities.  


The partners welcome The National Lottery Community Fund’s recognition of the valuable contribution to our economy and society which social enterprises make, enabling a fund that will help critical businesses survive and thrive. 


The fund is committed to inclusion, working to ensure that the grants reach groups that are led by people from BAME communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities, and leaders with lived experience of the issues that the social enterprise is addressing.  


 The support agencies delivering the Social Enterprise Support Fund have come together around a common purpose and shared principles of fairness, flexibility, inclusivity, accountability and transparency. 


Through this partnership, the funds will be able to reach those who need it the most and enable communities to build back better.  


Welcoming the launch of the fund Mark Norbury, Chief Executive, UnLtd said: “Social entrepreneurs are delivering crucial community support, while balancing their operations, finances, mental health, and social distancing. The virus, the economic crash, and inaccessible support are hitting vulnerable communities the hardest, and an unprecedented pandemic requires an unprecedented response.  


“We understand that disproportionately affected communities require disproportionate relief. At UnLtd we specifically request social enterprises led by marginalised people to apply for this grant support.” 


Alastair Wilson, CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, said:  “Many social entrepreneurs are on the frontline of this crisis, supporting people who are most atrisk. Others are working with groups who have been disproportionately hard hit by COVID-19. At the same time, they have seen their income from trading plummet. This funding comes at a critical time.  


“Working with our partners, we will do everything we can to ensure this funding reaches social entrepreneurs as quickly as possible, so they can recover lost income and help their communities to recover and rebuild.” 


Daniel Brewer, CEO, Resonance said: “This funding is crucial – COVD-19 has hit many social entrepreneurs hard, both operationally and financially, it’s important to remember that these entrepreneurs are supporting some of the most vulnerable and at risk people in society, many of which are based in marginalised communities across England. 


“In conjunction with our Partners, we are committed to ensuring that this funding reaches those entrepreneurs in real need, especially those who support disability led organisations, those supporting the BAME community and those created by social entrepreneurs in later life.” 


Danyal Sattar, CEO, The Big Issue Invest said: 

“As a BAME background Chief Executive Officer of The Big Issue Invest, I personally and we as an organisation are very aware of the challenges and disparities that many vulnerable communities and individuals will experience as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. 


“The recent #CharitySoWhite movement has brought to the public view the extent to which BAME organisations and individuals feel excluded by the current funding structures. The focus has been on philanthropy and mainstream charities, but Social Investment is a part of this funding environment too. We encourage social enterprises led by or focused on BAME communities or groups who feel marginalised by us as funders, to apply for this grant support. 


“These are unprecedented times but the impacts are felt disproportionately by BAME communities and we need to support organisations reaching those hardest hit in our society.” 




• The fund will be made available through a shared portal at  


• The fund is for social enterprises in England, with an annual income between £25,000 and £1.5 million before COVID-19.  


• Applications will be open from 1pm Monday 13 July, with further application rounds in July and August, subject to change.  


• For more information contact: 


About the social enterprise support agencies 



UnLtd finds, funds and supports social entrepreneurs in the UK – enterprising people with solutions to change our society for the better. From starting ups to scaling up, UnLtd’s unique package of support and funding helps social entrepreneurs to realise their untapped potential and build a better society for all. 


So that social entrepreneurs can achieve this potential, UnLtd also works to break down the barriers they face, such as finding customers, making a living, and getting access to finance. We set out to change the system so it works better for those who set out to change society.