£10,000 Invested in five Welsh Social Enterprises
On Tuesday 3rd November, the Community Foundation in Wales, alongside event partners the Fairwood Trust and Capital Law, played host to the third annual celebration of Wales’s only Micro Venture Philanthropy Investment Fund. The Fund was established in 2013 to provide a means for people to support Welsh social enterprises with their time, treasure, or talent, and has already awarded £16,000 to eight organisations.
The evening began with an update from the social enterprise which received support last year. Guests learnt of the progress made over the last 12 months, as well as an honest reflection of the challenges these businesses have faced and what they have learnt along the way. These projects included; the Moneypenny Foundation, Caia Park Partnership, Newborough Forest and Village Project and Emmaus South Wales. As Mark Gahan of the Newborough Forest & Village Project explained: “It’s not just the money. It’s the boost we’ve all received from this vote of confidence in our idea”
This year five social enterprises, each at different stages in their development, shared their progress, ideas and ambitions with guests from the legal, financial and charitable sectors.
Karen Davies established Purple Shoots to provide fair and flexible microfinance loans, which are used to support people with fledgling business ideas across Wales. Since launching two years ago, Purple Shoots has supported 175 budding local entrepreneurs access affordable finance and bespoke practical and personal support. Karen explained how £2,000 from the Micro Venture Philanthropy Investment Fund would be used to pay for a space at Cardiff’s popular outdoor Christmas market, giving beneficiaries of Purple Shoots’ loans a shop window and the chance to expand their customer base.
Rachal Minchinton, of Llamau, reflected on the successes of the Llamau PAT Testing enterprise, which acts as a vehicle for vulnerable women and young people to gain experience and self-belief whilst learning new skills. £2,000 from the Fund will help expand the reach of the enterprise, allowing more recently homeless people to work in a growing social business.
Sybil Williams, Director of the hugely popular Pedal Power, a cycle-hire centre in Cardiff with a wide range of disability-friendly bicycles, reflected on the nature of cycling in Wales, and expressed her desire to “change our attitudes to rain” by using a £2,000 investment to provide marketable and durable rain macs for sale and hire.
Stacey Anastasi painted a moving picture of the childcare industry in Cardiff, and demonstrated real vision in her idea for a socially responsible, community focused nursery that will provide affordable childcare whilst maintaining high quality standards.. A £2,000 investment will pave the way for a pilot scheme, lending further credence to Stacey’s business plan.
Finally, Reverend James Karran raised a glass to the admission that Roath, a diverse central Cardiff district, lacks the sort of community hub that allows people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds to mingle. A £2,000 investment will help with the marketing and training needed to set up Llan Brewhouse, a community café bar, which will embrace a social enterprise model.
After a brief break for guests to chat to each social entrepreneur in greater detail about their plans the evening finished with a fascinating update from Peter Saunders. As a Venture Philanthropist and business angel Peter has overseen the development of Sure Chill Ltd, a Welsh company which designs and produces resilient refrigeration technology to be used in countries with unstable electricity supplies. Sure Chill’s refridgerators are literally saving lives by ensuring that important vaccines can be kept at the required temperature in countries when electricity supplies are cut. This unique and innovative refridgeration technology has even been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its potential to transform global health. Peter shared his essential business beliefs, and commended the five pitchers for their enthusiasm and commitment to actively alleviating real needs.
“All entrepreneurs are committed to ideas and are always driving change, change within themselves, changing circumstances within the community and changing circumstances around the world” Peter Saunders
With each of the five projects receiving an investment of £2,000 from the Micro Venture Philanthropy Fund the Community Foundation in Wales and fund investors look forward to hearing how each enterprise develops over the next 12 months.