Update on exciting plans for Local Access Partnership investment in Southwark

Renaisi's Associate Director of Place & Systemic Change, Beth Stout updates on a significant milestone for the Southwark Local Access Partnership (LAP), as we move ahead with our ambitious plans for supporting local enterprise.

Southwark is one of five places that were selected to benefit from Access and Big Society Capital investment. Under the terms of the ‘Local Access’ investment, it’s for the partnership to decide how a combination of funding for enterprise support and a blended investment model are spent.

Changing the social economy in Southwark

In Southwark, the Partnership will be using the investment to create significant change in the local social economy.

Research commissioned by the Partnership and delivered by the Young Foundation, Tree Shepherd and Social Investment Business (SIB) showed a significant presence of Global Majority-led and women-led social enterprises in the borough, while at the same time showing under-investment in those same enterprises.

It was clear that these enterprises had historically been locked out of investment for social enterprises in Southwark. All support from the Southwark LAP will therefore be available exclusively to these groups, with criteria to ensure most of the support is to enterprises led by women from Global Majority backgrounds.

By doing this, the Partnership hopes to begin to change the landscape of social enterprise in Southwark.

Other ways the Southwark LAP is trying to shift the landscape of social enterprise in Southwark include:

  • Predominantly investing in enterprises at the smallest scale and earliest phases of their journey: those who often miss out on support as they’re deemed too risky for investment. In doing this, the LAP is creating investment for those who often can’t access the support they need.
  • Exploring setting up a Community Asset Trust to develop meaningful community ownership of spaces to be used for local enterprise. Our research showed a lack of affordable workspace for local entrepreneurs. By creating an Asset Trust to hold this workspace, we hope to ensure long-term affordability for local enterprises, furthering their ability to thrive in the borough.

The Local Access partnership

The Southwark Local Access Partnership (LAP) is a partnership between local and national organisations based in the borough.

Graphic depicts the membership: enterprise delivery partners, investment advisory partners, business support and the user & influencing group.

Renaisi has been the coordinating partnership since 2019. It includes Business Launchpad, Big Local Works, Community Opportunity, Do It Now Now, Hatch, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainable Ventures, The Young Foundation, Tree Shepherd, Southwark Council, British Land, EY, LSBU, Peabody, University of the Arts, Pempeople, United St Saviours, and 36 individual members.

A decision-making committee has been nominated to take strategic decisions on behalf of the partnership. It’s made up of a range of organisations and entrepreneurs, including those with experience in enterprise delivery, business support, and a user and influencing group comprised of people with expertise in local enterprise and experience of underinvestment in Global Majority-led enterprise.

Graphic depicts the decision-making committee, which includes Renaisi, Southwark Council, School for Social Entrepreneurs, five nominated members of the user & influencing group.

Over the next year, we’ll be commissioning local enterprise support (including training and coaching) and an organisation to administer grant funding to local enterprises.

We’ll also be exploring how we can develop a community asset trust in a way that feels genuinely owned by the Southwark community.

Beth Stout