A pilot scheme offering financial support to budding Welsh social businesses to get trading or investment ready, plus technical support to embed climate friendly practices.

Building on the success of the first round, the Net zero carbon start-up grant is now open once again for applications.

Applied in the first round but were unsuccessful? You are eligible to apply again, find out more below.

The Net zero carbon start-up grant is a pilot scheme offering financial and technical support to:

  1. Help budding (or ‘start-up’) social enterprises to get their business ready for trading or investment
  2. Embed climate friendly practices into start-up social enterprises from the outset

The scheme is open to any up-and-coming social business or trading voluntary organisation in Wales. You don’t need to be an environmental or climate change focussed group to apply.

GETTING SOCIAL START-UPS OFF THE GROUND

We recognise that there is a lack of funding opportunities for emerging social enterprises.

With unproven revenue streams, repayable finance is difficult to obtain and may be inappropriate at this point in your business’ development. We know there is a significant cost, however, in bringing a product or service to market and establishing the demand base to make the business fully investment ready.

Without private means to support yourself and your businesses through these early stages, there is a danger that good, impactful ideas for social businesses will fail to be realised due to a lack of funding.

MAKING CLIMATE FRIENDLY THE NORM

With the recent COP26, and the climate emergency we face, the carbon footprint of all businesses is rightly under scrutiny.

This is central to Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, and it is one of the key manifestations of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

Many of the efforts in this area are focussed on retro-fitting climate friendly behaviour into existing businesses. We believe that if all new businesses were to adopt an environmentally sustainable approach from the start, the more costly overhauling action could be avoided and minimising carbon emissions could become ‘business as usual’.

ABOUT THE PILOT SCHEME

The purpose of this pilot is to address both of the issues outlined above, and provide a cohort of start-up social enterprises in Wales with:

  • financial support to take their businesses beyond the pre-revenue stage
  • technical support to embed environmentally-sound operating practices into their businesses

The pilot scheme will help establish if the support can make a difference in producing exemplar start-up businesses across a range of different product or service providers within the voluntary sector.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

This pilot is for early stage, start-up social enterprises that are:

  • Wales based, delivering benefits for Welsh communities
  • Incorporated, with a sound business plan but as yet unproven revenue streams (unincorporated organisations can apply but will need to become incorporated before any funds are released)
  • Ambitious for growth to create employment and achieve social impact
  • Committed to achieving net zero carbon status for the business. (Net zero is defined as working to minimise carbon emissions generated by the business and offsetting the residual – it recognises that very few businesses will be truly ‘zero carbon’ ones)

Read more in our Eligibility guidance.

WHAT SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS WILL GET

Financial support

Successful applicants will receive a grant of up to £12,500 to help them achieve the formal launch of trading or make the business investment ready. This is to be spent on getting the business to one of these points and is not restricted to use on carbon reduction activity.

Technical support

Organisations in this pilot scheme will also get support from a climate change consultant to embed climate friendly operating practices within the business from the outset. This will involve:

  • Assessing the existing business plan to estimate the likely carbon emissions of operating ‘as normal’
  • Re-designing key operating practices to reduce likely emissions
  • Support and guidance to implement the revised practices
  • Designing and supporting the use of relevant carbon footprint measurement for the business to adopt for the future

HOW TO APPLY

This is a pilot project with an initial grant pot of £150,000 to support 12 social enterprises. Demand is expected to be quite high, and it will be subject to competitive selection.

The scheme will run in two rounds. Round 1 was completed in March 2022 with five successful organisations being awarded. Round 2 is open now and there are three steps in the application process:

1. Please read our Eligibility guidance before applying.
2. Applicants need to complete a short Expression of Interest (EOI) on MAP (see below) – The deadline for EOIs is 10 October 2022, 11.59 pm.*
3. Once the EOI is passed you will be invited to submit an application – The deadline for applications is 17 October 2022, 11.59 pm.

Subject to funding, there is a possibility of a third round of the fund. In which case unsuccessful applications will be carried forward.
*We’ll be contacting all unsuccessful applicants from round 1. You won’t be required to complete another EOI, but may wish to review your application before resubmitting

GET SUPPORT WITH YOUR APPLICATION

Our Social Investment Cymru team are happy to help you improve your application. Provided we receive it early enough in the process, we will do our best to help you make your application as good as it can be ahead of submitting it to the assessment panel.
This is subject to the team’s capacity so the sooner the application is made the better your chances of us being able to help. Please don’t leave it until the last minute.

Please read our Eligibility guidance before applying.

REGISTER ON MAP

In order to submit a request for funding, you will need to register with WCVA’s Multipurpose Application Portal (MAP). If you have previously registered with MAP, you can log in by entering your username and password on the home screen.

Organisations can register by visiting the website map.wcva.cymru.

CONTACT US

The Net zero carbon start-up grant is funded by Welsh Government and managed by the Social Investment Cymru team at WCVA. If you have any questions please email sic@wcva.cymru.

Visit our Social Investment Cymru page to find out more about what’s on offer.