About the Forward Enterprise Fund

Ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction are two groups mainstream employers are least likely to recruit. Yet having a job can bring independence and self-respect, and is the single most effective factor in reducing the risk of re-offending. 

Every day at The Forward Trust, we see shining examples of the contribution and commitment people who have broken the cycle of crime and addiction can make to business and their communities. 

The Forward Enterprise Fund wants to support charities and enterprises that prioritise creating employment opportunities for these groups.  


The Forward Enterprise Fund is a £2 million social investment fund.

The Fund provides:

  • Access to unsecured loans between £25,000 - £150,000 for capital and revenue projects (typical interest rate 7.5%), with up to 15% of this as a grant.
  • Grants for business support to help eligible organisations raise investment
  • Post-investment business support
  • Up to £5,000 for start-up enterprises to raise match-funding on Crowdfunder
  • Access to cohort learning driven by business needs
  • Access to peer support from other enterprises on the programme

The Forward Enterprise Fund is financed by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment Growth Fund Programme. 

The Forward Enterprise Fund Partnership

Social Investment Business provides loans, grants and strategic support to charities and social enterprises to help them improve people’s lives.

They have helped hundreds of organisations become more resilient and sustainable so that they can grow and increase their impact.

Social Investment Business was one of the UK’s first social investors and since 2002 have provided over £400 million of loans and grants to charities and social enterprises.

Website:          www.sibgroup.org.uk 

Twitter:               @thesocialinvest

The Forward Trust (formerly RAPt and Blue Sky) is a social business with charitable status that empowers people to break the often interlinked cycles of crime and addiction to move forward with their lives. For more than 25 years Forward has been working with people to build positive and productive lives, whatever their past. Forward believes that anyone is capable of lasting change. Its services have supported thousands of people to make positive changes and build productive lives with a job, family, friends and a sense of community.


Website:                  www.forwardtrust.org.uk

Twitter:                @forwardtrust


The Investment Fund

The Foundation for Social Investment exists to bridge the gap between charities and social enterprises and social investors. Access does this through two main programmes: the Growth Fund which blends grant from Big Lottery Fund and loan from Big Society Capital and is focused on enabling the provision of the simple and affordable investment products that charities and social enterprises tell us they need; and the capacity building programme, which provides charities and social enterprises with the support they need to get ready to take on investment. 


Website:             www.access-socialinvestment.org.uk

Twitter:                @si_access


Big Society Capital’s aim is to improve the lives of people in the UK by connecting investment to charities and social enterprises that are creating social change. We do this by bringing together our investment capital (up to £600 million), our expertise (team of 40) and our network of partners. We want to make it easier for more people and organisations to use social investment and to access the wide range of funds that are now available. To deepen our impact we also work with partners to focus our efforts on areas where social investment can make the biggest difference. The current themes are: providing homes for people in need; supporting communities to improve lives; and early action to prevent problems. Since it was set up in 2012, Big Society Capital has invested £340 million into intermediaries and social banks that lend to charities and social enterprises.


Website:             www.bigsocietycapital.com

The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. It puts people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. In 2016/17 it awarded £712.7 million and supported more than 13,814 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes. Since June 2004 it has awarded £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.


Website:             www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk

Twitter:                @biglotteryfund #NationalLottery


Other funders

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust is a charitable fund that supports organisations and charities across the globe.

Since its formation, the Trust has provided over 220 grants totalling more than £185 million. The Trust supports a number of initiatives with the primary donations areas being the Arts, Children, Culture, Health, Mental Health and Science.

Website:      www.juliahansrausingtrust.org