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What is the fund?

The Forward Enterprise Fund is a £2m social investment fund that supports individuals, charities and social enterprises run by, or creating employment opportunities for, ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction.

The fund is a partnership between Social Investment Business and The Forward Trust and is part of the Growth Fund. The Growth Fund is managed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital.

Who is it for?

This fund is aimed at individuals, charities and social enterprises that prioritise creating employment opportunities for people breaking the cycle of crime and addiction.

Ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction are two groups mainstream employers are least likely to recruit. Yet having a job can bring independence and self-respect, and is the single most effective factor in reducing the risk of re-offending.

What can I apply for?

The Fund provides access to unsecured loans between £25k - £150k for revenue and / or capital projects (typical interest rate 7.5%) for up to a 5-year term.

Eligible organisations will also have access to grants to pay for up to 10 days of pre-investment business support. Organisations who receive investment will also be able to apply for post-investment business support.

Individuals or start-up enterprises with a bright idea can also access Crowdfunder support with match funding available from The Forward Trust.

Am I eligible?

Applicants are eligible to apply for a loan or grant with the Forward Enterprise Fund if their business or organisation is based and registered within England. The applicant's business or organisation must also either (or both):

  • Work with, or intend to work with, ex-offenders or people in recovery from addiction and create employment opportunities for people from these communities.
  • Be led by ex-offenders or people in recovery from addiction.

How do I apply?

You will first need to complete the expression of interest form (which includes an eligibility check) on the Forward Enterprise Fund website. We will then be in touch if you meet the criteria for entry.

Forward Enterprise Fund website

If you have a question about the application process or would like to discuss the fund in more detail, please contact:

The Forward Trust:, 020 3752 5560.

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The Social Investment Business is the trading name for the Social Investment Business Foundation, Registered Company No. 05777484 (England), Registered Charity No. 1117185 (England & Wales), The Social Investment Business Limited, Registered in England No. 06490609, VAT No. 927456693, Futurebuilders-England Limited, Registered in England No. 05066676 and Forward Enterprise FM Ltd, Registered in England No.11238102. Registered Office: CAN Mezzanine, Borough, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

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