Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

/ Diversity, Funded projects, Grants

Project: Connecting GM BME Entrepreneurs to Social Investment Part 2

Grant: £30,000

The project aims to establish a Greater Manchester BME social enterprise network (GMBME SEN) to better connect BME organisations to social investment support and advice.

The findings from GMCVO’s initial Connect Fund project demonstrated that BME charities and social enterprises are less well connected and resourced than the social enterprise sector as a whole; making it more difficult for them to know where to go to for information and support to help them access social finance. There is also a lack of opportunities for peers to connect and receive more tailored advice or training.

GMCVO found there is appetite from BME social enterprises at various stages of development to engage within a network structure and work collectively in order to improve access to finance. Using the contacts and learning from the already established networks hosted by GMCVO, it is looking to develop a BME specific social enterprise network. This will provide an avenue to engage BME social enterprises with the idea of alternative revenue models, signpost to available support and communicate information in a way that is relevant and inspiring to the sector. The project will recruit a part-time Communications Officer (CO), ideally from within the BME network, to convene and facilitate network activities.

The establishment of the new network will strengthen connections within the social enterprise sector in GM and provide an opportunity to link BME enterprises to peer and professional support, to help them test ideas to make their organisations more resilient. This in turn will benefit GMCVO and other investors by increasing the pipeline for social investment in the region. This project will increase reach to BME enterprises through a growing and largely sustainable communication network, and create access to skill development opportunities and social investment.