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Employment and training

Catch22 to kickstart 10 social entrepreneurs with National Lottery funding

A sign is positioned on an easel which reads "Incubate, Accelerate and Amplify". The sign looks like the night sky, with star constellations, planets and a rocket depicted around the edges.

Catch22 has been awarded £448,000 National Lottery funding to incubate 10 start-up social enterprises over the next two years. The grant, which has been awarded by the Big Lottery Fund – the largest funder of community activity in the UK – will give individuals and their teams the chance to work across Catch22’s London and Liverpool offices to develop their ideas and shake up public services.

The incubation provided by Catch22 is immersive. Organisations keep their entrepreneurial autonomy but benefit from Catch22’s operational depth and breadth, networks, expertise and experience, in a safe environment. Entrepreneurs and their teams are welcomed into Catch22 as full team members and given access to flexible support that responds to the needs of each growing social venture.

So far, Catch22 is incubating five organisations who share Catch22’s vision of a strong society and have an idea to make public services more effective. These include:

Catch22 expect the organisations to be with them for approximately 24 months but are providing each venture with the flexibility to grow in the way and at the rate that suits them and the market they’re operating within. Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund’s support this work will continue to be supported and expanded by Catch22.

Any new entrepreneurs coming onto the programme will now have access to stipend and cost reimbursement funding during their initial 12 months – early stage incubation. This is critical to enabling lived-experience entrepreneurs, from all backgrounds, to be given a fair opportunity to wholly commit to their venture.

In the second 12 months -growth stage acceleration – Catch22 expect the venture to have found additional supporters while continuing to access the organisation’s expertise, back-office, and desk space. At the end of this time it is hoped that the ventures will have achieved sustained funding, or come to a longer-term agreement with Catch22.

The programme will also work with national funders, including Big Lottery Fund, to breakdown the funding barriers that these ventures face. The goal is to ensure that the funding environment is flexible enough to recognise and reward game-changing innovative ideas and movements in the sector.

Chris Wright, Chief Executive of Catch22 said:

“As a large charity, Catch22 has a responsibility to be at the forefront of transforming services and enabling change. It’s not just about money and contracts, to achieve a strong society we must also collaborate, be creative and use assets, networks and expertise for the greater good. Start-up social enterprises should not be left to ‘sink or swim’. Sometimes they just need a leg up, and it’s on us as sector leaders to give them that.”

Gemma Bull, Director at the Big Lottery Fund said:

“People with real life experience of issues are well placed to know how best overcome the challenges, so it’s great that through this project entrepreneurs with lived experience will get support to put their ideas into action. We’re pleased that National Lottery funding can help to give these social entrepreneurs the time and space to see the bigger picture and bring them together with organisations that share a similar vision and values, to achieve their goals”