Social Investment: North West Social Enterprises on the Rise

North West England has a long and proud history in the social enterprise movement.

North West England has a long and proud history in the social enterprise movement.

Data shows social enterprises account for around 3,500 businesses in Greater Manchester alone.

Key Fund works across the North West to support start-ups, alongside helping the existing community and social enterprises to grow, with the right social investment.

From Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, and Merseyside and across the North West, social investment is increasingly vital for local communities.

Social Investment: North West Success

Social enterprises span all sectors, from credit unions to photography and recycling. It’s reported there were more than 500 new social enterprise start-ups in the last year in Greater Manchester alone, and it’s estimated social enterprises reinvest between £45-90 million back into the region each year.

The Challenges of Covid

Covid-19 stopped trading and impacted financially on many social enterprises, whilst need for their services increased.

Key Fund were proud to deliver the Social Enterprise Support Fund to help keep many vital social enterprises afloat through lockdown, so they could continue focussing on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities.

The Launch Project

Despite no start-up funding and a reliance on volunteers, Natalie had a strong business plan. She turned to Key Fund for a £12,831 loan and £2,169 grant in July 2019 to pay for salaries and working capital.

When Covid hit, demand increased even more, but this social investment meant she was ready to meet it. During the lockdown, The Launch Project turned over 27,000 food items a month to her local community in Salford. It now feeds 5,000 people each month and delivers food to up to 27 houses every day, as well as offering a click and collect option.

“The Key Fund money was critical,” Natalie said. “Considering the position we were in then, and now, it’s down to the Key Fund.”


Many of our North West clients stepped up to deliver food to support the most vulnerable, and worst affected, by the pandemic.

In Demand: Social investment

North West enterprises were surveyed in the Greater Manchester Social Enterprise Survey 2020; around half of the 140 social enterprises questioned worked in education, health and social care. The pandemic has put this sector at the forefront.

Our recent Social Investment

North West social enterprise, The Launch Project is an example. It began in 2017 in Salford when Natalie Lek offered to cook Christmas dinner for people in need. The demand doubled and then doubled again. Natalie responded, setting up a mobile food bank. She contacted Gregg’s and organised volunteers to pick up unused food to redistribute via the mobile food bank, she called The Pantry.

Seeking social investment? North West investment manager for Key Fund, Chris Colwell, takes pride in supporting our clients make a positive impact in their communities. Get in touch and see how Chris can help.

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