An update on progress in the UK from the Daily Telegraph…

Grants Help Eight Social Enterprises Raise £35m
Rebecca Burn-Callander – Daily Telegraph

A Government-backed fund has helped eight social enterprises to raise £35m in private funding.

The £10m Investment and Contract Readiness Fund (ICRF), launched in May 2012, is the world’s first fund dedicated to helping charities and social enterprises acquire the skills to raise investment and compete for public service contracts.

The three-year fund was created to help organisations looking to raise at least £500,000 in investment or seeking to win contracts worth £1m or more. Managed by the Social Investment Business (SIB) and funded by the Cabinet Office, grants range from £50,000 to £150,000.

To date, 94 social ventures have received grants worth a total of £8.9m. According to the interim progress review, compiled by management consultancy Boston Consulting Group, eight have now won deals worth £34.9m off the back of grants worth £815,144. A further 74 businesses are in early-stage fundraising.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said of the fund’s progress: “Social ventures need our backing to grow and compete for public service contracts and that is what the ICRF is for. Britain is blessed with fantastic charities and social enterprises which work to improve society and contribute to the economy, and I am pleased that this fund – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – is making such a positive impact so quickly.”