The purpose of the fund — which is expected to fund ten incubators — is to help start-up social ventures enter “the social investment market, by increasing focus on incubation support, and attracting new incubators into the market”.
So, what exactly is a ‘social incubator’? This is critical, because the fund will only be open to existing incubators with a track record. Well, according to the Lottery website, to be eligible for funding under the first round of the fund:
“…you must be able to demonstrate to us that you have at least 12 months’ experience of providing social ventures with start up support and investment. You must tell us how long you have been running, how many social ventures you have supported to date, what regulatory approvals you have (particularly for distributing funds), and details of your approach to providing support to social ventures in cohorts. Incubators do not need to restrict themselves to accelerating not-for-profit social ventures; incubators that support profit distributing entities who deliver social impact are also welcome to apply.
It’s clear that incubators must be not just providers of incubation and support but also investment. THe Lottery website suggests that future rounds of funding (in 2013 and 2014) will be open to “newer incubators”.