The Social Enterprise and Innovation Business Support Programme

Are you (or would you like to be) a social enterprise entrepreneur? 

Do you have an idea for a sustainable business with a social purpose or are you looking for growth or funding for an existing venture? 

The Social Enterprise and Innovation Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provides business support to  social entrepreneurs in the west of England area; Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. 

The programme is project managed by the University of Bath in partnership with  Bath SETsquared Innovation CentreThe School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE),  Voscur, and CVS South Gloucestershire.   


There are two programmes of business support available and your eligibility will depend on the stage that you are at with your social enterprise venture. Applications are now open for both programmes.  


The programme runs until October 2019 and there will be a rolling timetable of workshops with the final workshop being hosted in May 2019. The dates for the next fully funded 2 day Startup Courses are:

- Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May 2019 at the SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre, 09:15 - 17:00

Please note this workshop is specifically tailored to early stage women social entrepreneurs, particularly if they have an idea involving tech. This workshop will bring additional modules focused on coaching and emotional skills for growing your idea.


startup courses - for new entrepreneurs

Business planning workshops (equiv. to 12 hours) for new and very early stage social enterprise businesses.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals who are considering starting a social enterprise business

  • Founders / managers of very early stage social enterprises (< 6 months old)


business coaching - For growing enterprises

Coaching and business mentoring (equiv. to 12 hours) for newly formed and mature social enterprises with good growth potential.

Who can apply?

  • Founders / managers of newly formed social enterprise businesses

  • Mature SME's who are looking to further develop a social venture or initiative


If you unsure about which programme to apply for or need more information please email the programme coordinator Laura Simpson at SEIP-PMO@bath.ac.uk.

Individuals will be required to detail the business proposition and product / service they wish to launch, or develop as part of the application process. 

Proposed projects will be assessed for sustainability and growth potential as well as social impact. The selection panel will also be looking for a degree of innovation (in product, service or delivery). 

Case studies - supported social ventures


Food DRop

Food drop in a nutshell serves to handle the logistics behind the redistribution of surplus food to those in need from selected sources. This is done so with the full support of young people/volunteers seeking for opportunities to give back to the community in a very transparent and brief, yet effective way.

Not only does this benefit the volunteers and the charities but it also serves to better the corporate image of all the business involved as a bi-product.


Wansdyke Play Assocation

Wansdyke Play Association (WPA) works with local communities and organisations to develop and deliver free community play services as well as providing one-to-one and small group support for children with additional needs and those struggling with behavioural, social and emotional challenges. We work across BaNES and the Mendips with a particular focus In fulfilling the needs of targeted communities in the Somer Valley. In the last two years, we looked at how the 3rd sector was changing, and specifically how children and family services were adapting. 


This programme is project managed by


In association with key delivery partners

Strategic supporters for the project are North Somerset Council & The North Somerset Enterprise Agency, Business West, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire Council, St John’s Hospital, Ashley Community Housing, Bates Wells Braithwaite LLP and SETsquared.