A fund of more than £450k has been set aside by CAN Invest, who specialise in social investment. They have announced that their fund will provide subsidised support for charities and social enterprises who need help growing their businesses.
In a completely new take on the standard ‘accelerator’ programmes offered to voluntary, community and social enterprises (VCSEs), CAN is committing space in its flagship building and subsidising the costs of 10 to 15 organisations through one to three years’ worth of top-notch business support and central London office space.
CAN, which has been supporting VCSEs for two decades, believes there is a gap in the support available for social enterprises and voluntary sector organisations who are past the initial start-up phase, but still need support to accelerate growth, build sustainable revenue and focus on their social impact.
CAN’s new programme, CAN³, has created a fast-growth ‘accelerator floor’ for charities and social enterprises. The programme, which combines the investment and business expertise of the organisation’s CAN Invest team with the dedicated office space of CAN Mezzanine, aims to scale the growth and impact of organisations on the floor.
Based on a full floor of 60 desks, CAN³ is set to provide £457,300 worth of support to VCSEs per year, over the next one to three years. At an average value of £7,622 per person, the figures include: bespoke business support provided by CAN Invest, including business strategy and impact measurement framework, business coaching and peer learning programme and a peer-to-peer network within the programme and CAN Mezzanine, dedicated mentors and access to CAN³ ‘Gurus’, subsidised, affordable desk space in a central London location and meeting rooms and serviced premises.
In their first year, organisations can expect up to 20 days of bespoke advisory services to develop an impact-led growth strategy, including a financial model and business plan developed in partnership with the CAN Invest team.
Andrew Croft, Chief Executive of CAN, said: “At CAN, we have recognised that social sector organisations in the ‘post start-up’ phase find it really hard to access the right support to take them over the next big hurdles in their journey to success. It’s part of our social mission to use our expertise and the great office spaces we have to address those needs.
“Maybe you’ve been through a start-up accelerator programme, or got some grant funding to kick start your organisation – we all know that initial phase can come and go pretty quickly. But what happens next when you’re left to fend for yourself? This is where CAN³ comes in.”
Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson, recently visited the headquarters of CAN at its Mezzanine in Borough, SE1, one of the biggest hubs for charities and social enterprises in London. He met with a number of organisations based in the building including Tech For Trade, Public Concern at Work and UpReach and was encouraged by the variety of charities and social enterprises that are using CAN’s services.
He said: “Through the work of organisations like CAN, charities and social enterprises are finding new ways to secure their long-term sources of finance. This is making them stronger, more sustainable and is helping us to build a stronger, more compassionate society.”
Andrew Croft added: “We already offer investment and impact measurement support, and with over 160 customers across London, we are well versed in providing work space to help charities and VCSEs thrive.
“CAN³ is a combination of our most valued expertise, available to those post-start up organisations who want to build on their initial success, and implement impact-led strategies that increase their sustainability, impact and growth.”
This continues CAN’s work in supporting organisations to scale in the post organic growth stage. Historically CAN ran its CAN Breakthrough venture philanthropy fund, investing €3 million and skills into organisations such as TeachFirst and FareShare to help accelerate their growth.