A new initiative is looking for 10 leading social entrepreneurs who are working to tackle energy challenges and are making real, sustainable change in their communities.
The aim of the Big Energy Idea is to help the social entrepreneurs to grow their ventures. The fund has been established by Ignite, a social investment fund backed by Centrica, which is focused on energy-related businesses and enterprises.
The Big Energy Idea will provide 10 energy social entrepreneurs with an individual package of support and the potential for funding of a minimum £50,000 to grow the social impact they create.
The profits from Ignite’s investments will be reinvested and recycled back to help more social enterprises and ventures grow and scale up their work.
Applications close on 28 February 2014
20 finalists will then be selected to attend an event in April to pitch their business to a panel of experts, before the 10 successful entrepreneurs are announced in April 2014.
The Big Energy Idea is being run by Ignite in collaboration with Wayra - a technology-focused accelerator programme providing support to companies in the digital space. In collaboration, these two partners will provide investment, support, connections and expert advice to help the successful energy businesses with up to three winning a place at the Wayra Academy in London.
For more information and to apply, visit http://ignitesocialenterprise.com/challenge
Simon Devonshire, Director Wayra Europe, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Centrica to make a difference to businesses within the energy sector that are pioneering sustainable and social change. Wayra has vast expertise and knowledge from accelerating start-ups around the world. We greatly look forward to working closely with Centrica on both the selection of the successful teams, and their subsequent acceleration.”
Sam Laidlaw, Centrica CEO, said:
“I believe that the answers to society’s challenges do not lie solely with the private sector or the public sector, but with social entrepreneurs, in communities, and in cross-sector partnerships. I am passionate about the potential for Ignite to help find and grow energy related social enterprises to innovate and create these answers.”
Ignite is investing time, money and support into energy-related social enterprises, and is aiming to invest a minimum £10m over 10 years with investments ranging between £50,000 and £2m.
Its first investment is of £500,000 into a social enterprise called Midlands Together CIC, which creates full-time jobs for ex-offenders and long-term unemployed. It does this by buying empty or sub-standard properties and then training and employing ex-offenders in all aspects of repair, refurbishment and restoration. The properties are then sold, with any profits being reinvested into helping more people get into work.