Social Enterprise Hub confirmed for NorthamptonBusiness, licensing and regeneration
09 December 2021
A social enterprise hub and accompanying grants programme is set to be established in Northampton Town Centre after West Northamptonshire Council’s Cabinet agreed to the release of £500K of funding for the project at its meeting on 7 December.
The Skills and Social Enterprise Development Fund project is one of 10 projects to be realised as part of the Town Investment Plan, to deliver long term economic growth in Northampton through the Central Government’s Towns Fund – which awarded £25 million to the Council in March this year.
The hub will open in early 2022, providing social entrepreneurs with the opportunity to build relationships with key local organisations such as the Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Northampton and South East Midlands Local Economic Partnership, while on-site staff will support entrepreneurs to access funding and facilities to enable their growth. Councillor Lizzy Bowen, Cabinet member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, said:
Social enterprises are uniquely placed to make a real difference to communities in Northampton, because their objectives are focused on not-for-profit outcomes such as job creation, improving health and well-being and protecting the environment.
“The University of Northampton has also been internationally recognised for its commitment to social innovation and entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise UK has accredited Northampton as a ‘social enterprise town’, so we are delighted to be establishing this hub and grants programme.
£400K of the project budget is to be set aside for the grants programme, delivered through the hub to help entrepreneurs market their business, access training, purchase IT and specialist equipment and rent vacant town centre units. Grants will be available from May 2022, with the project running until March 2025.
The West Northamptonshire Social Enterprise Town partnership, made up of social enterprises such as Hope Enterprises, The Good Loaf, Goodwill Solutions will assess the grant applications, alongside West Northamptonshire Council.
More information about the hub and grants programme can be found in the Cabinet reports (agenda item 12).