The fund offers a combination of different type of support, depending on the needs of your enterprise. If successful the Forward Enterprise Fund will work with you to design a package of support to help your organisation develop and grow. Support could include a mix of:
Pre-investment business support gives you the chance to work with specialist advisers to grow your business and become investment-ready.
You can get support to set up a crowdfunding campaign through Crowdfunder to raise capital for your business.
You can access loans to assist your business in its development.
Who can apply?
Applicants are eligible if the following applies:
- The applicant's business or organisation must be within England
- The applicant's business or organisation has six months of existing revenues
- The applicant's business or organisation is working with or intending to work with ex-offenders or people in recovery from addiction, creating employment opportunities for people from these communities
- The applicant's business or organisation has the appropriate legal structure
- The applicant can demonstrate a sustainable business model or plans to work towards one
If the applicant is an ex-offender, the Forward Enterprise Fund will consider the following during the application process:
- The victim sensitivity
- If the applicant is an ex-offender with an unspent conviction:
- The type of offence committed
- The length of time since the offence was committed
- The length of time since the ex-offender was released from prison or end of a community sentence
If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact us before applying. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 020 3752 5560.
Once you have submitted the expression of interest form, we will review your application. If the application meets our assessment criteria, we will conduct a phone interview with you. This interview will explore further information about your business, its infrastructure and aims, looking to discuss the best course of action for you to fulfil your ambition.
Applicants who reach the telephone stage may be offered business support through one of our approved business support providers. Business support will help applicants shape their business and reach the stage where they are ready to apply for investment. Depending on the suitability of your business idea, you could also receive support and match funding to start a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdfunder.
Some organisations may be able to proceed directly to the loan application. Here applicants will fill out an application form with Social Investment Business to access funding.
When ready, organisations will be able to apply for a loan. This application is handled by Social Investment Business. The application will ask for further information about your business, a business plan (which you could get support to develop) and other supporting documentation.
The Fund is reviewing applications as they are submitted on a first come, first served basis. It is, therefore, a good idea to send in your Expression of Interest as soon as possible to be considered for funding in the coming year. The application process is interactive, we will work with you to agree on what the best type of support is for your organisation. We expect most organisations to take 3-4 months between step 1 and 4.
After an application for support has been approved, you will be sent a contract by the Forward Enterprise Fund. This will state the specific conditions for the funding. Some of the conditions relate to the legal status of your organisation, ensuring that it has a social purpose, which you can read about here.
The Forward Enterprise Fund will follow the progress of each grant and loan recipient to monitor the results versus the agreed targets. Our primary interest is to evaluate how your organisations' funding has benefited the target groups of ex-offenders and people in recovery. Your funding will be monitored during your engagement with the fund and sometime afterwards through focus groups and surveys.
If you have been awarded match-funding for Crowdfunder campaigns, this will be paid out once your campaign has reached the agreed target. In some circumstances, we will disburse money when part of the campaign target has been met. This will be discussed and agreed during the application process.
Loans will be paid back in accordance with the terms of the agreement. There may be an opportunity for the Fund to secure a mentor or business advisor for loan recipients through its partners.
Last, but not least, you will become part of the Forward Enterprise Network - a network of organisations supporting each other to grow, whilst working with ex-offenders and people in recovery to access real work.