Loans for social enterprises launched

Social enterprises in Somerset could benefit from a loan of between £10,000 and £100,000 thanks to a new fund launched this week.

Somerset County Council has established with the Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) a £1 million Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF).  The fund will help prospective and established social enterprises in Somerset develop sustainable services for communities.

The fund will provide loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to eligible organisations.  To be eligible, organisations must be operating within Somerset and be able to demonstrate they are social enterprises.

Social enterprises can apply for loans for any number of reasons including purchasing equipment or vehicles, improving the property they operate from or to enable and support organisational growth and development.

Cllr John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council said: “Social enterprises in Somerset are key in helping us deliver on our priorities to promote Somerset as a thriving economy and as a place where people can access the good quality services they need.  By reinvesting in the community, and often providing vital services to our residents, without aiming to take any profit for themselves, social enterprises help us, in the Council, in so many ways.”

“The Somerset Social Enterprise Fund has been set up to recognise the importance of social enterprises and to give them the opportunity to continue to grow and develop more sustainable services for our residents.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “Somerset Community Foundation is delighted to be working in partnership with Somerset County Council to deliver this vitally important investment into our communities.  Social enterprises have a vitally important role to play in tackling social needs and stimulating the local economy, and this new fund will help accelerate growth and development in the sector. It will complement our existing grants programmes but by ‘recycling’ this fund through carefully targeted loans its value to our communities will be greatly increased. ”

Social enterprises wishing to find out more should contact the Somerset Community Foundation.  Phone 01749 344949, email or visit

Social enterprises

A social enterprise is defined as a “business with primarily social objectives and where surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”. They generate all, or at least the majority, of their revenue through trading (including providing commissioned services for the public sector).