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£1 million social investment boost for the Midlands

Awards of up to £100,000 on offer to 10 ambitious social entrepreneurs

Ambitious social entrepreneurs in the Midlands are being targeted for a £1 million investment boost from UnLtd’s Big Venture Challenge.

The investment programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by a consortium of organisations led by UnLtd, is offering up to £100,000 for each of 10 social ventures in the region.

The Big Venture Challenge supports ‘high potential’ social entrepreneurs to raise investment and rapidly grow their ventures by providing them with access to business support, expert connections and matched funding.

Applications for the programme are now open to social entrepreneurs and will close on Monday 10 February at 9am. Of the 30 social ventures chosen for the 2014 programme, 10 will be drawn from the Midlands and these organisations will share in up to £1 million of match-funding.

In straightened economic times, the Big Venture Challenge will come as a boost to social entrepreneurs in the region, opening doors to investment and delivering social returns for communities.

Julie Devonshire, Director of Ventures at UnLtd, said: “UnLtd and the Big Venture Challenge team are working to support social ventures in the Midlands to grow their social impact: getting people into work, increasing school performance and the life chances of disadvantaged communities amongst other positive outcomes. We’re specifically targeting the Midlands in 2014 because we’ve been impressed by the calibre of social innovation coming out of the region – and are increasingly seeing social investment money attracted to the area.”

The Big Venture Challenge is already supporting social entrepreneurs in the Midlands. Among last year’s award winners is Solihull-based Syed Abrar who founded Buddy App, a digital application to support therapy services. Buddy App helps people with mental health problems to lead better lives and is saving the state money. The application is now being rolled out nationally in partnership with NHS trusts across the country. For more information go to: www.buddyapp.co.uk

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