Local Enterprise Partnerships

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LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses to help determine local economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within their local areas. They replaced Regional Development Agencies

There are 39 LEPs in England, and they are responsible for delivering the vast bulk of the ESF 2014-20. ESF & ERDF funds for England amount €6.174 billion. LEPs have been asked to submit their strategies for using the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds by September 2013.

ESI support for social enterprise

The overall ESI mechanism is explained at: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/making-european-funding-work-better-for-the-uk-economy

LEPs can opt to take part in national programmes. There are six 'opt-in prospectuses' from national organisations which can provide experience and match funding. In the field of social inclusion the relevant organisation is the Big Lottery Fund (BIG). Its offer includes:

Proposals to support social enterprise and social entrepreneurship could be supported through the roll-out or local expansion of currently funded schemes such as the Big Venture Challenge (UnLtd) and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. The Big Venture Challenge supports ambitious social entrepreneurs with business support, networks and contacts as well as match funding to raise investment and deliver social outcomes at scale. Investments range from £50-200k. The School for Social Entrepreneurs offers a series of courses for budding and more experienced social entrepreneurs to help them develop the skills, contacts and ability to raise the necessary investment to start up or scale up social enterprises and ventures.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/232307/13-1049ann2-framework-of-european-groth-prgoramme-priorities-opt-in-prospectuses.pdf