Grants scheme launched in bid to boost city’s enterprise

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A NEW grants scheme has been launched in Leeds which aims to help the city become more enterprising.

The £200,000 fund is open to established social enterprises, including development trusts, industrial societies and co-operatives as well as charities and others.

It is being managed by the Leeds Community Foundation and cash for Leeds Social Enterprise Fund has come from Leeds City Council, as a legacy from a project which ended in March this year and focused on encouraging new business in the city’s most deprived areas.

The scheme is for capital-only grants, such as equipment, vehicles, building adaptations and improvements, and applicants need to demonstrate their plans will generate extra cash or help their project become more sustainable. Grants will be from £250 to £50,000.

All applicants must be based in Leeds or benefit local residents. The launch is the first of a series of planned activities being run by the Leeds Community Foundation over the next 12 months, designed to help the city become more enterprising.

The chief executive of the community foundation, Sally-Anne Greenfield, said: “We are very excited about the potential that social enterprise has for helping the local economy in Leeds to grow whilst still maintaining an all-important ‘social’ aspect as well.

“All such enterprises have strong social objectives that can include supporting local vulnerable people, improving skills development for people who are long-term unemployed or formerly homeless, helping stimulate enterprise growth in some of the city’s more challenging areas.”

It is hoped the project will attract support from the private sector. Social enterprises are business with primarily social objectives, whose surpluses are principally reinvested in the business or community.

The council’s enterprise support team manager, Simon Brereton, said: “Social enterprises have a big part to play in creating jobs and growth in the Leeds economy.”

More information about the scheme is available by visiting www.leedscommunityfoundation.org.uk or writing to Leeds Community Foundation, Ground Floor, 51a St Paul’s Street, Leeds LS1 2TE.