The Investment & Contract Readiness Fund, first mentioned by the Cabinet Office late last year, is now in the process of being set up by the Social Investment Business, which will administer the fund.
SIB is calling for providers of “investment and/or contract readiness” support to apply for accreditation which will see them become approved providers to the scheme.
The fund expects to make a total of 120-150 grants over a three year period to “social ventures” capable of scaling up and achieving high growth. The grant can be used by successful applicants to finance the specialist assistance they require in order to achieve an agreed “investment and/or contract readiness” plan. Grants are likely to be £50K-£150K.
Now, I have only made a cursory reading of what SIB refers to as “early guidance” (suggesting there may well be more to come) but here’s what I read in to it:
- With grants pitched at £50K-£150K, these will have to be big business cases coming forward.
- Equally, providers of support, one can anticipate, will have to be operating at some considerable scale and capability.
- “Social ventures” applying for grants must do so in partnership with a provider of support of their choice — the guidance states there are “no exceptions” to this. Does this imply that providers will have to do some work up-front at risk, not knowing whether the applicant will be successful or not? The guidance says nothing about this, but it seems an inescapable conclusion to me.
Anyway, make of it what you will. The guidance is here. I think it can be assumed that SIB is already targetting major consultancies with invitations to consider applying for approved status.
The approved list goes live on the 21st May, according to SIB and the invitation to apply for approved status has been open since 30th April.
UPDATE 21/05/12: Fund has opened for applications today. APproved providers of I&CR support so far are ClearlySo, Locality, Resonance and Social Finance. More here.