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‘Proper Good’ multi-million pound start-up investment and training programme goes on tour to meet Bolton entrepreneurs

Karen Smith and Hayley Hulme, part of the Proper Good team

An £8.25million investment and support programme has launched to support Bolton businesses that tackle inequalities in communities – and is going on tour to meet the town’s budding and established entrepreneurs.

The new Proper Good programme is offering grant funding, social investment and free-to-access tailored training and business support to entrepreneurs. The support can be at every stage from start-up to scale-up – with a focus on those creating a positive social or environmental impact in their area.

The Bolton programme was officially launched at an online event on July 7, where a Community Roadshow was announced. The first stop on the Roadshow will be Bolton Hub on August 8, where anyone interested in finding out more about the programme can meet the team and share their ideas and questions.

The team will also be hosting three free workshops for people interested in learning more about social enterprise.

Karen Smith, one of the Bolton Proper Good programme leads, who already runs a successful social business in the borough, said: “Bolton has so much potential in terms of local people with bright ideas or businesses that make a difference to our community.

“We want to bring these proper good entrepreneurs together and take them to the next level with the right support and investment.”

“We’ve created the programme we wished we’d had when we first started out on our business journeys and will be using our experiences to encourage people to think about how their businesses can be ‘social enterprises’ – where they are committed to improving communities – as well as profit margins.

“We’re looking forward to meeting people on our Community Roadshow and hearing all about the wonderful ways we can use business as a force for good in Bolton.”

The five-year programme is being jointly funded by Big Society Capital and Access – The Foundation for Social Investment and Greater Manchester is just one of six regions from across England to take the programme forward.

Two million pounds will go to the local delivery leads who are all experienced social entrepreneurs to develop socially responsible businesses in their boroughs and £6.25 million will be distributed by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation (GMCVO) as social investment to help those businesses grow.

Philip Arnold, Chair of the Proper Good Social Business Support Programme, said: “We’ve seen our communities hit hard for years – which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, this is our opportunity to empower local people to do something about it and turn their small businesses or ideas into forces for change that help make our communities better for everyone. Change can happen today.”