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Allia launches Serious Impact, a new programme of skills, advice and guidance for impact ventures

Support on offer will help entrepreneurs grasp the opportunities and tackle the challenges of a post-Brexit world

Social and environmental impact ventures based in the eastern region were today urged to view the EU referendum results as an opportunity and not just a challenge.

The message came as a new free-to-access programme of skills, advice and support was launched by Allia, an organisation that creates social impact through enterprise.

Called Serious Impact, the five-channel programme is open to any individual or organisation that aims to provide social and environmental impact, whether a pre-start, start-up or SME and regardless of the business model and structure.

It will deliver support to inspire entrepreneurship, drive growth and create sustainable ventures in sectors such as AgriTech, SocialTech and CleanTech, which aim to help solve social and environmental problems from climate change to food poverty to the issues faced by our older population. It will operate from Allia’s Future Business Centres in Cambridge and Peterborough and has received £1.7m of investment. (Please see below for more details).

Caroline Hyde, director of workspace and enterprise support at Allia, says: “Entrepreneurs flourish in times of uncertainty and change. This is because people are more open to new ideas, technologies and ways of working than they are when the economy is stable. While Brexit will undoubtedly mean a period of uncertainty for everyone, we also believe it is possible for local impact ventures to create positives out of the negatives. Serious Impact will help entrepreneurs to understand and prepare for all of the challenges and opportunities of running successful ventures, including those that will arise out of Brexit.”

Since 2013 Allia has supported 400 potential entrepreneurs, start-ups and early stage social and environmental impact ventures, which in turn have created 240 new jobs. Many of these ventures are flourishing; winning awards and investment whilst also creating the impact they intended.

However, impact entrepreneurs starting up or growing ventures also face the same sort of challenges as other start-ups and early-stage businesses, such as how to generate revenue, how to protect ideas and how to make the organisation sustainable. When combined with the uncertainty and changes associated with Brexit, now more than ever these ventures need support.

Caroline Hyde continues: “Serious Impact is the evolution of Allia’s combined experience and knowledge to date, and represents a significant opportunity for impact ventures to access the support needed to achieve long-term success and sustainability. We are really excited to be launching this new programme of support today and we look forward to working with many more entrepreneurs across the region.”

Neil Darwin, chief executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, says:

“Allia’s Future Business Centres in Cambridge and Peterborough are already contributing a great deal to our local area by helping social and environmental ventures address the challenges they face. The high-quality free advice and more offered via the Serious Impact programme means that local entrepreneurs will be equipped to cope with the issues or changes that Brexit will throw at them, whatever they may be.”