Funding Boost for Social Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs helping to improve communities across South Tyneside are to receive a welcome funding boost.
The Social Enterprise Boost (SEB) Fund will provide grants of up to £10,000 to the borough's social entrepreneurs.
Delivered by Project North East (PNE), the programme aims to kick-start and accelerate social enterprises in South Tyneside.
This will include the provision of finance to those already improving their communities through their work and those with aspirations of following in their footsteps.
Cllr Margaret Meling, lead member for economic growth and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: "The Social Boost programme is a very welcome initiative in South Tyneside.
"Building cohesive, resilient communities is one of our key priorities as a council and programmes like this, which empower and help unlock the potential of our voluntary and community sectors, are critical to helping us do just that.
"We are incredibly fortunate as a borough to be home to an abundance of social entrepreneurs who go above and beyond to improve the communities they serve, and this will not only empower them to do more but will also help other aspiring social entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps."
One South Tyneside social entrepreneur to welcome the funding boost is Lisa Cryer, founder of Jarrow-based BlueJay Wellness CIC.
Delivering yoga, mindfulness and science courses to young people in schools across South Tyneside, BlueJay Wellness has itself received supported from PNE and South Tyneside Council in the past and Lisa believes the Social Boost programme will be key to encouraging more people to set up and grow their own social enterprises.
She said: "Almost 90% of firms in South Tyneside are microbusinesses so we're so lucky to have support from the likes of PNE, Far North and Tedco as it can be lonely and at times confusing to start out in self employment.
"I completed the Impact Incubator programme with PNE and it really helped me to push myself, even winning awards like the FIRST Start Up Social Impact Award and it seems as though Invest South Tyneside is really helping to connect all the micro-businesses together.
"Social Enterprise Boost is such a welcome addition to the funding landscape in South Tyneside. They've made it a non-daunting way to apply for funding to start something that gives back to the community and with the added support of PNE and Tedco it's a win-win!"
The programme - which has been funded by the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport - will also provide one-to-one support and coaching, group workshops and digital resources to stimulate, develop and grow social enterprise ideas that can positively contribute to the borough.
Melissa Middleton, business support coordinator at PNE, said: "Social Boost has now officially launched in South Tyneside and we couldn't be more excited to announce not only the launch of a grant for people and businesses to access, but also a huge support package of training, inspiration and one to one advice for budding social enterprises.
"For me, running a business is something everyone should explore but running a social enterprise is a game changer. Imaging running a business that makes money but also benefits the community we live in too, that's why this programme of support is really important for the residents and businesses of South Tyneside."
Lisa Cryer, Melissa Middleton and Tedco business adviser, Judith Wheatley, will also take part in a Business Talk event hosted by South Tyneside entrepreneur Ian Farrar on 12 September. The live panel event - which will also be streamed on social media - will shed light on what setting up a social enterprise entails and outline the range of support and funding available in South Tyneside to help. Followed by lunch and networking, budding social entrepreneurs are encouraged to sign up and come along to find out more. See https://investsouthtyneside.com/event/business-talk-setting-up-a-social-enterprise/
For more information on the Social Boost programme, visit: https://www.pne.org/social-enterprise-boost