University of Bath secures £1.8million funding for Social Enterprise and Innovation Programme

Published on Wednesday, 29th March 2017

The University of Bath is leading a £1.8 million project with the aim of supporting start-up and existing social enterprises throughout the region.  Working with delivery partners including CVS South Gloucestershire, Social Enterprise Works, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Voscur and the University of Bath Innovation Centre, the project will provide power to grow over a hundred sustainable social enterprises.  

The programme is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund over a period of 3 years to support social enterprises that are innovative and have good growth potential to create jobs in Bath, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. One of the key objectives is to engage with aspiring entrepreneurs in all parts of the community – and particularly to empower those individuals that might consider this kind of support previously ‘out of reach’.

Ben Howlett MP will be hosting and speaking at the launch event on Thursday 30th March at the Guildhall together with Dimo Dimov, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from University of Bath School of Management. Guests include programme delivery partners, supporters and social impact investors from throughout the region.

Ben Howlett MP commented:

Social enterprise offers the opportunity to find financially sustainable solutions to local challenges. There is a long heritage of social enterprise in the West of England, with pioneering success stories such as, Sustrans, Bristol Community Health, Viridor and Ecotricity paving the way in innovation and sustainability.  This programme is an exciting opportunity to connect key delivery partners to build on these strengths and nurture and develop over 100 more successful social enterprises in the region.”

Dimo Dimov, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation from University of Bath School of Management, explained the purpose of the programme: 

“We hope to create an innovation pipeline to help social entrepreneurs to further their ideas or ventures.  Participants will receive ongoing coaching, mentoring and introductions to our investor network.  Students from the University of Bath Management School will be available to work with companies with the aim of forming a wealth of knowledge about social enterprise best practise.”

The programme is now live and open for applications from start-up or existing social enterprises. For more information and to submit an online application please visit:

The overall aim of the programme is to support over 300 prospective social entrepreneurs – the partners hope that a significant number of these will go on to form sustainable social enterprises. These new ventures join over 600 social enterprises already thriving in the West of England to build on the success that the region has seen for the economy through similar initiatives like the ‘tech for good’ movement.