The Enterprise Development Programme is a five-year, £40 million initiative that is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and managed by a coalition of partners, including Social Investment Business, Homeless Link, Equally Ours, the Association of Mental Health Providers, and the Centre for Youth Impact.

The programme provides business and financial support to charities and social enterprises in England that are thinking of exploring new enterprise models and require financial or business support to make the transition, with the ultimate aim of taking on social investment in the future. Following a successful one-year pilot, which focused on organisations in the homelessness and youth sectors, the programme is now being extended, with further sectors to be added each year until at least 2024.

It is currently open to applications from not-for-profit organisations in England working in the following areas:

  • Youth – The current round is only open to organisations which have already received a feasibility grant or which participated in the learning programme as part of the pilot phase of the Enterprise Learning Programme.
  • Homelessness
  • Mental health
  • Equality (specifically organisations working to advance equality and human rights in relation to women, black and ethnic minority people, LGBT+ people, or disabled people).
  • Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to work with the programme partners to ascertain what they need to progress their ideas and build the resilience of their organisation.

Individual packages of financial and business support are available, which could include any or all of the following:

  • Grants of up to £30,000 to research or test out new ideas, to launch new enterprises or grow existing ones. (Grants are likely to be conditional on evidence of growing income streams, using methods such as MatchTrading).
  • Joining a peer cohort to share enterprise journeys.
  • Training and learning opportunities tailored to needs.
  • Direct advice and support.

The first deadline for expressions of interest is for the Youth sector on 13 February 2020.


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