Don’t miss out on £4m fund, social enterprises warned

Tony Cahill.
Tony Cahill.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:05PM

Social enterprises in Cumbria are at risk of losing out to competitors in Manchester and Merseyside unless they make a bid for support from a new £4m fund.

The Social Investment Fund for the North West is offering finance to early stage and growing social businesses.

Cumbria-based businessman Jack Stopforth, chairs the Invest for Impact fund and is also responsible for promoting the initiative to charities and social enterprises in Cumbria.

He said: “I was delighted that one of our first awards was to a Cumbrian social enterprise – The Brathay Trust – but in the first three months of operation, we have had little or no interest from within the county and most of our applicants are from Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire.

"I urge Cumbrians to check out the fund on-line and make enquiries: £4m is a lot of money but unless we see an increase in interest from Cumbria much of the fund will be committed elsewhere before you know it”.

The ‘Invest for Impact’ fund offers qualifying businesses a mixture of grants and unsecured loans a up to £150k and is managed by the First Ark Group.

Tony Cahill, executive director at First Ark, said: "This fund is available to organisations across the region dedicated to making their communities a better place to live and work and who are ready to step up their operations and grow.”

First Ark will also provide pre-investment and post-investment support from a dedicated team.

Mr Stopforth, is a former managing director of the Cumbria Inward Investment Agency and past Chairman of Cumbria Learning and Skills Council.

To express interest in the scheme go to

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