The voice for Social Enterprises & Social Entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. Connecting, supporting, developing and sustaining vibrant businesses to create social change.

 

DfC Covid Social Enterprise Fund - FAQs

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Covid Social Enterprise fund?

  • The COVID Social Enterprise Fund is a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will aim to distribute £7m of grant funds over the coming months and is designed to support social enterprises as they seek to stabilise and manage cashflow during this difficult period. The Fund will be managed by Community Finance Ireland (CFI) and provide grants of up to £75,000.  The fund will open for applications on Monday 28th September 2020.

Who is eligible to apply?

  • Social Enterprises who meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
  • We are a social enterprise with a base in Northern Ireland and/or primarily delivering services/activities to Northern Ireland communities
  • We have a legal format and governing documents/profit re-distribution policy that meets Social Enterprise NI guidelines e.g. Company Ltd. by Guarantee/Community Interest Company) https://bit.ly/3aJc8iW 
  • We have been trading in excess of one year and have demonstrated sustainability.
  • Our funding need is directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
  • We have a clear understanding of the negative financial impacts of COVID-19 on our organisation over the six-month period March 2020 - August 2020
  • We are applying for funding to stabilise our short-term future cashflow need and to ensure resilience of our business model

 

Can I apply if I have received any other COVID-19 non-repayable government grants?

  • Yes, so long as you reflect the award(s) in your cash-flow information and can demonstrate that you still have a COVID-19 related loss of earnings that needs mitigated to help you achieve resilience in your business model

 

My social enterprise has applied for another COVID-19 non-repayable government grant but I do not know if the application has been successful. Can I still apply?

  • Yes, you can apply, while you are awaiting a decision.  However, if you receive any support through another COVID-19 related fund you must inform us of the amount received

 

What is the deadline for applications?

  • The COVID-19 Social Enterprise Fund will be open for receipt of applications for 4 WEEK period from 9am on Monday 28th September 2020 to 5pm on Friday 23rd October 2020.

 

How do I apply?

  • The application form will be available from the CFI website from 9am on Monday 28th September.

 

What information do I need to provide to apply?

  • Governing documents (e.g. Certificate of Incorporation / Memorandum & Articles of Association / Rules / Constitution)
  • Latest certified / audited full year accounts e.g. 2018/19 (consolidated if a group)
  • 6 months management accounts up to August 2019
  • 6 months management accounts up to August 2020
  • Brief statement of financial affairs (to include all bank balances / loans held / latest debtor & creditor aggregates)
  • 6 month cashflow projections from September 2020
  • Official bank statement for the organisation with organisation name and address
  • Anti-Money Laundering documentation (to include copy photo ID (passport, driving licence etc.) & copy proof of address (e.g. driving licence, personal bank statement or recent utility bill) for two company directors / trustees)
  • State Aid Declaration form (if applicable - see Appendix 1 on website)

 

How will the funding be distributed?

  • This funding will be distributed as a one-off payment and is intended to cover a shortfall of earnings due to COVID-19 over the period from March 2020 - August 2020 in order to help you achieve resilience in your business model. The revenue grant support should be adequate to allow the applicant organisation to remain viable for a minimum of 6 months – to end March 2021.

 

If successful, how long will it take to receive this funding?

  • We anticipate that applications will be assessed, and decisions made within five weeks of being received, but it could take longer if demand is high. Payment will be made on a rolling basis within seven days of formal decision.

 

Is the grant awarded on a first come first served basis?

 

  • No, the COVID 19 Social Enterprise Fund is not being run on a first come, first served basis. The final grants awarded will be dependent on the number of successful applications and will not exceed £7m.

 

Will all Social Enterprises receive the same amount of funding?

  • No, funding levels will be based on the individual circumstances of each applicant organisation.

 

What is the maximum amount of funding a social enterprise can receive under this scheme?

  • To ensure a broad distribution of the funds available, the maximum level of grant under this scheme will be £75,000 in total.

 

FOR SIMPLICITY AND THE AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT 

If a year on year comparison (based on your Management Accounts) between the six months March to August (incl) 2019 and the corresponding period in 2020 reveals:- 

Lower bottom line profits due to Covid19, OR 

A move from profit to loss due to Covid19, OR 

Increased losses due to Covid19 

You may qualify for grant support in this scheme.  

Equally however, if the impact of Covid19 has not proven detrimental to profits (lower revenues, mitigated by tight cost controls and Covid19 related interventions) but your cashflow projections identify an impact on revenues and subsequent impact on the operating model in the 6 months ahead, you may also qualify for grant support. 

 

WHAT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS MUST I SUBMIT FOR INSPECTION? 

Past - The last available full year audited/certified accounts 

Present - Trading Accounts for period March to August 2019 and March to August 2020  

Future - Cash Flow Forecast for 6 months from September 2020 

 

IS A GROUP LIMITED TO ONE APPLICATION? 

No.  Each entity within a Group can apply individually but they must confirm that they are part of a group and whether it is possible to have the Covid impact cross-subsidised within the group. 

 

HOW AND WHEN WILL APPLICATIONS BE ASSESSED? 

Applications will be assessed as they are received, and Letter of Offers issued if applicable as soon as possible afterwards. 

 

IF AN ORGANISATION IS APPLYING THAT IS ONLY 1 YEAR OLD AND DOES NOT HAVE A FULL SET OF AUDITED ACCOUNTS, THEY SHOULD DO THE FOLLOWING 

Break their 12-month accounts into two 6-month periods. 

The first six months will show how the business was operating pre Covid. 

The second six months will show how the business has been impacted due to Covid 

 

WHAT INCOME DO I DECLARE? 

In your year on year comparisons you must include all trading income and costs together with any Covid19 revenue grants received and Furlough payments which have served to reduce your operating costs.  However, on the assumption that you fulfil the conditions set out in 1 to 3 above and/or your cashflow forecast identifies an increasing funding need in the 6 months ahead, you may still qualify for grant support. 

 

WHAT TYPE OF LEGAL STRUCTURES CAN APPLY? 

All social enterprise legal structures can apply as per the guidelines on Social Enterprise NI website including charities, if they can demonstrate they have been adversely affected in their trading income due to Covid19 and/or your cashflow forecast identifies an increasing funding need in the 6 months ahead. 

https://www.socialenterpriseni.org/what-is-a-social-enterprise 

 

Where should I direct any queries I may have?
  • If applicants have questions about the application process or information requested, they should contact Social Enterprise NI on 028 9046 1810