CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Funding Crisis for Social Enterprise continues


The reality is that due to the competitve structure of so many Charity Trading arms CICs and other social enterprise models are in a worse state.
Why? because the message of the CIC model has become confused. Recently a Health Care practice asked for my advice and that of a Social enterprise advisor on what would be their best model for future funding support?
Oh, the start-up grant was there for the CIC, but the model has no extention value if the funding criteria on future grants doesn't adjust.
The model adopted is the short term gain, money now and worry about future funding later.
It was an interesting process and I hope it works for the project.

Accessing funding for a CIC is always going to be challenging therefore the model must create streams of income, attract contracts for services and investment from stakeholders. For example: Office hosting - one of the projects I work with has office space at peppercorn values, part time secondments and access to resources. It makes money, enables local businesses to invest in a social enteprise and supports the community.

Hopefully members of the CIC Association have realised that the structure of income is critical to the longevity of the business.
Those looking for help and advice in creating new lines of income, securing public sector contracts or looking for innovative partnerships give me a shout

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Comment by Mark Trotter on January 18, 2019 at 17:56

Social Investment by companies comes in two ways - the application of existing resources and in cash terms. 

This approach has been adopted to create an exclusive venture with a local business, to ensure a seamless service the business owner updated the IT of the Social Enterprise and there is a two way flow of service which allows the local business to share the income with the CIC.

They are not complex projects and in cash terms often they are a trickle income but establish two or three relationships like this and income grows.

I have also used a piggy-back to marketplace model where the SE provides aspects of service with a commercial or public sector body for a cash return. This requires good contract management skills and brutal negotiation skills.

Each opportunity is different, some very simple and others complex. The idea springs from the radiating circle - who do we touch? That influence map often opens opportuntiies - I always follow the first strand - who benefits from our work? What are we saving them? 

Finding solutions in the SE marketplace is difficult because most are reluctant to sell themselves. Most offer greater value for money than other service providers - including charities. 

Get creative - think about who benefits and then approach them. 

I will tell you about my first venture - as a Social Enterprise we took on 6 of the most notorious young vandals in the area. Taught them a trade and they started selling their products. Now the people who benefited were all the businesses nearby, we asked those businesses to sponsor a young person. It was a success because we had more offers of sponsorship than young vandals. The money was applied to another employment project teaching mechanics. 

Sadly the local FE college saw the value and did a deal with the Probation Service to take all the young offenders, then the enterprise closed. (We had a rule that we would not duplicate public sector services)

Innovation is applying something used in one place to another unrelated place effectively. 

Sorry I could go on all night. I'll drag out a few case studies of Social Enterprise and local investment partnerships with business that have worked but they all do essentially the same thing - invest in the service allowing the CIC or SE to apply all direct income generated to the CIC. 

Comment by John Mulkerrin on January 18, 2019 at 17:18

Hi Mark

Great post, can you tell us more on how the organisation mentioned enables local businesses to invest?

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