Social enterprise sector takes off

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It has been a bumper summer for the social economy in the north, according to Britain’s largest regional investor in the market, the Sheffield-based Key Fund.

The Attercliffe-based fund – itself a social enterprise – says it has just completed its busiest month since it was launched 10 years ago.

The fund says the number of applications it received from July to August was 42 – three times the average.

All but two applications got the go-ahead and the fund has committed to investing a total of £851,000 as a result, more than double the total sum normally requested in one month, never mind approved.

Senior client officer Garry Brown said: “This level of applications is really not normal. We’ve had to extend our usual four-week assessment period to six weeks to cope with the influx.

“One thing that was clear was the big increase in different investment types and the significant number of innovative ideas. There seems to be a realisation that organisations no longer rely on grants, so they have to be more creative and entrepreneurial. There were a lot of good, exciting ideas.”