The research, which started earlier this year, is examining the potential of community shares and bonds as a way to attract extra investment. This includes inviting ten social enterprises to test the idea, looking at barriers that could restrict their growth and how they can be overcome. The successful social enterprises receive a package of funding and support and their experiences will be used to support future policy development in this area.
Five social enterprises were invited to take part earlier this year, the second five benefiting from the second round of support are:
In order to be part of the project, all of the social enterprises demonstrated that they:
Hugh Rolo, Head of Assets and Investment at the DTA said: 'The standard of applications throughout this process has been very high and we are delighted to be supporting ten community enterprises. The inclusion of two hydro schemes in round 2 demonstrates that local communities are using community shares to establish vital and preferred sources of renewable energy. Renewable energy is also a priority given the current climate threat. Brixton Green and Hurst Green are very different in terms of their scale and the nature of the local community but both demonstrate the importance of providing essential services and facilities to their local community.'
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of
Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, said: 'Like all the projects in our Social Enterprise Action Research Programme the 'Community Shares' project is truly exciting. Not only is it helping government learn about social enterprises, but social enterprises themselves will also benefit from the research. This project will help us understand what Government can do to support communities that want to invest directly in local social enterprises solving local problems. My ambition is that in the future more communities will be able to benefit from lessons we learn through the project.'
Barbara Follett, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: 'The Government is excited about the potential that community shares have to help people invest money and effort in support of a social enterprise that they know will address local needs. We are keen to find out more about how best to make community shares more widely available.'
This project is part of a 1.3 million pound Social Enterprise Action Research programme enabling departments across government to explore the role social enterprise can play in helping them meet their policy objectives - from tackling climate change to managing the nation's health. The programme is funded by The Office of the Third Sector, in the Cabinet Office. For more information go to: http//www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/third_sector.aspx.
This first round successful projects (June 2009) are:
For more information visit www.communityshares.org.uk