Our projects
Social Enterprise Boost Fund
West Midlands

Social Enterprise Boost Fund
Grant Guidelines


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Contact information

SCVO (Sandwell) – email grants@scvo.info or call 0121 525 1127.

WVCA (Wolverhampton) – email applications@wvca.org.uk or call 01902 539795.



The Social Enterprise Boost Fund is a UK Government funded project for social enterprises in six local places in England.

The objectives of the Social Enterprise Boost Fund are, by March 2025, to:

  • Grow the social enterprise sector in targeted areas, by supporting the creation of new social enterprises and boosting early-stage organisations.
  • Enable targeted high-deprivation local authorities and the local voluntary and community sector in these places to implement sustainable systems and processes that encourage social enterprise growth.
  • Build and disseminate evidence on:
    • scalable and sustainable place-based interventions that work in growing the social enterprise sector in disadvantaged areas; and
    • the extent to which and how social enterprises support communities and economies in disadvantaged areas

Alongside this grant program the project offers a range of support comprising of two modular programmes:

  • the first, FUSE, is a 12-week intensive support programme for social enterprise (SE) start-ups.
  • the second, SE MOT, is a 4-week programme of support for early-stage SEs wishing to develop and grow.

Both FUSE and SE MOT are supplemented by a maximum of 12 hours of expert 1-2-1 mentor and business advisor support for each participant/organisation, a peer network framework and bespoke support identified by our diagnostic approach.

To find out more regarding the support available, please contact

Access to Business (Wolverhampton): Tel: 01902 572397 mail sebf@access2business.co.uk

SWEDA (Sandwell) Tel: 0121 525 2558 email: sweda@sweda.org.uk


Start-up social enterprises are eligible to apply for grants of up to £10,000 to assist their development, so long as they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You will need to be a “start-up social enterprise (see below how we define this) or be working towards establishing one.
  • You will need to be over the age of 18 and be based in the UK.
  • Your social enterprise must be based in either Wolverhampton or Sandwell and/or conduct most of its activities in one or both of those areas.
  • Funds will be paid into a bank account; it would be preferable for it to be in the name of the enterprise.
  • If you have been operating as a social enterprise for more than 12 months, you will need to be able to provide evidence of income and expenditure for the previous year.

Applicants can submit multiple applications throughout the duration of the grant but in total can only apply for a maximum of £10,000.

This grant program is part of a wider project as outlined above; applicants are strongly encouraged to engage with the wider program.


For the purposes of this fund a social enterprise is “a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”. 

It is defined as either:

  • an entrepreneur or unregistered organisation driven by a social or environmental purpose and can demonstrate a plan to work towards registration within the government definition above, or
  • a registered social enterprise organisation within the government definition above

A “start-up” is an organisation which (i) has been trading for less than 5 years at the point of application, and (ii) has a turnover of less than £250,000 in its last financial year.

Acceptable legal forms for registered social enterprise organisations are:

  • Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
  • Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by guarantee.
  • Community Interest Company (CIC) limited by shares (with a 100% asset lock clause to ensure that funds or assets can only be transferred to a named organisation or cause with charitable objects aligned to the applicant)
  • Community Benefit Society

What can a grant be spent on?

To receive a grant you must deliver services or activities that provide social or environmental benefit, the majority of which will be within either Wolverhampton or Sandwell.

Grants can be spent on capital or revenue costs but must be used in the establishment or development of your social enterprise – this could include, for example, marketing materials, salary costs, website development, equipment, tools, and materials, and so on.

For a list of ineligible items on which you cannot spend these funds please see Appendix 1

If you meet the criteria and wish to apply for a grant, what next?

Please use the application form that forms part of this document to make your application for funding.

Your application will be assessed against 4 criteria – Need/ Delivery/ Impact/ Sustainability Your proposal should demonstrate the following:


  • Where are you delivering: We would normally expect at least 75% of the activity and benefit to take place in Sandwell or Wolverhampton, but will make a judgement call if you [the applicant] present a case why you think this might be less than 75%
  • What local need you are responding to, and what the evidence is for this
  • Who will benefit and how?
  • How this will improve pride in place, and or, social connections in the local area
  • How do you know that there will be demand for your offer


  • What activity or activities are you/will you deliver and how
  • What relevant experience do you have?
  • Please provide a budget for your activities. This should include your anticipated income and expenditure including how you will spend this grant if successful.
  • How this represents good value for money
  • What are your main risks and how will you manage them?


  • What social impact are you hoping to achieve through your activities, both short term and longer term?


How will you ensure the sustainability of your work and what steps will you take?

Decision-making and next steps

Decision-making panels will be convened in Wolverhampton and Sandwell and will consist of impartial and experienced colleagues from a range of backgrounds.

Your answers will be scored as follows:

  1. Unacceptable: proposal is not credible or robust, and does not demonstrate how programme outcomes will be met
  2. Poor: proposal lacks some credibility and robustness, and does not clearly demonstrate how programme outcomes will be met
  3. Satisfactory: proposal is reasonably credible and robust, and reasonably demonstrates how programme outcomes will be met
  4. Good: proposal is credible and robust, and clearly demonstrates how programme outcomes will be met
  5. Excellent: proposal is highly credible and robust, and very clearly demonstrates how programme outcomes will be met
  • To be successful you must score at least 3 on each question.
  • The strength of your application will be considered alongside other applications we receive.
  • We will also think about the range and balance of different projects we are supporting.
  • We want the projects we fund to cover a broad range of activities, applicants, and geographical areas.

*Please note that the new March 2024 deadline only applies to Wolverhampton-based bids.

The panel meets bi-monthly and the deadlines for each panel meeting are as follows:

Sandwell   Wolverhampton
Deadline dates for applications Result of application   Deadline dates for applications Result of application

25th August 23

2nd October 23

1st December 23

1st February 24

1st April 24

3rd June 24

18th September 23

30th October 23

8th January 24

28th February 24

29th April 24

1st July 24

25th August 23

2nd October 23

1st December 23

1st March 24

1st April 24

3rd June 24

18th September 23

30th October 23

8th January 24

29th March 24

29th April 24

1st July 24

You can apply to the programme in any of the grant rounds.

If successful, you will be offered a grant agreement that you will need to agree to and sign to receive your grant.

If you are unsuccessful, we will let you know as soon as possible by email. We will follow up with written feedback.

You can re-apply to a later round but will need to complete a full application. We would expect applications to have responded to feedback and developed accordingly. Support with reapplications can be provided by your support provider Access to Business or SWEDA.

Appeals and complaints

If having received feedback, and you feel that your application has been unfairly assessed you do have the right of appeal. You should do so in writing to your local grant giving organisation.

SCVO (Sandwell) – email grants@scvo.info

WVCA (Wolverhampton) – email applications@wvca.org.uk

Appeals in Wolverhampton will be considered by Sandwell’s panel and vice versa, appeal decisions will be final notwithstanding your legal rights.

If you have a complaint about the grant-giving process or any other aspect of the grant program, please refer to the relevant complaints process:


 80% of your grant award will be made available to you once we have received a signed grant agreement for you. Your award may be made in staged payments, at the discretion of the Panel, as appropriate to the expenditure plans in your proposal. The remaining 20% will be paid upon receipt of a satisfactory report that tells us how your grant has been spent & project delivered.

For successful applicants, we would expect to see the awarded funds spent within a period of 3 months. Where there is a plan to spend the award over a longer period, payment will be by agreed instalments (with the same 20% being retained until we receive the completed project report).

Payments will only be made following due diligence checks. You will be asked to provide:

  • If applying as an organisation
    • A bank statement in the name of the social enterprise (less than 3 months old)
    • Proof of the social enterprise’s registration and status
  • If applying as a new start up, you will be asked to provide:
    • A robust and viable plan to register a company in the near future.
    • Photo ID
    • Proof of address

Any grant given to you is considered by Government to be a subsidy under the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Before receiving any funds, we will require written confirmation from you that, including this funding, you will NOT have received a combined total of £315,000 of subsidy over the current and previous two financial years.


  • You must keep accurate financial records of how you spend the grant, including receipts, invoices, accounts, and any other relevant documentation. We may need to see these as part of our monitoring processes. For our purposes, you will keep this information until we are satisfied with your final report and have made the final payment.
  • In all cases you will be provided with a final report template from us that you will be required to complete with information relating to your grant, this must be received within 60 days of your activity being completed. Your final payment will be made only when we receive a satisfactory report.
  • A core ambition of the Fund is to identify approaches to support social enterprises, which are cost-effective, scalable, transferable to other areas, and sustainable. DCMS will be carefully evaluating the Fund to address this question. All grantees will be required to participate in the evaluation, and all grant applications will be shared with DCMS’ evaluation provider.
  • All funds must be spent by 31/01/2025 and reports received by 28/02/2025.

We will keep all records relating to the project for 5 years.

For more info on the SEBF grants contact

Gurpreet Sahota on gurpreet.sahota@wvca.org.uk

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