More local social ventures to benefit as south west investment programme continues

Seedbed, the government-funded Social Accelerator, has extended its popular investment support programme for a third year after receiving the go-ahead from the Cabinet Office and Big Lottery Fund for 2017.

Launched in 2015, Seedbed provides social ventures in the South West with the help they need to grow. The Seedbed Accelerator Programme is unique in that it offers loan and equity investment alongside a support programme which, to date, has helped over 50 social ventures to grow.

Dirk Rohwedder, Director of Seedbed, is thrilled to be continuing the programme: “Our offer has proved to be a huge success since it started and to be launching our third year is incredible. We have seen some amazing progress over the years for our social ventures.”

“Recently, we commissioned an independent evaluation report. It concluded that participants on the Seedbed programme saw their turnover grow by 64% and increased their staff numbers by 33%. More importantly the majority of these ventures attributed this growth directly to the impact of the Seedbed programme.

“This year, we’re looking forward to welcoming a new cohort onto the programme and if you think you could benefit from our help the application window is currently open.

The Seedbed programme will run from May to December 2017 and will involve up to 15 days of workshops, review panels and master classes, and a programme of bespoke coaching across the eight months. During this period, social ventures will learn how to strengthen their business models, develop a strong growth strategy, ensure financial sustainability, successfully compete for tenders and contracts, service growing markets and access social investment.

Places on the programme are free thanks to a joint investment by the Big Lottery’s Social Incubator Fund and Dartington Hall Trust and SWIG Finance, the two partner organisations delivering the Seedbed programme and fund to help take social ventures in the South West to the next level. The 2017 programme is run as part of European Regional Development Fund funded Social Enterprise support projects across the South West LEP areas.

Application for the Seedbed programme will take place in several tranches over the coming months. The deadline for the first tranche is Sunday 30th April. To apply, visit The investment programme is open to social ventures throughout the South West, who are looking for debt or equity finance to grow and develop their business.

If you would like to find out more about the Seedbed programme, visit or call the team on 01803 847066.