The programme, named Serious Impact, is open to any individual or organisation that aims to provide social and environmental impact through operations and enterprise, whether a pre-start, start-up or SME.
Serious Impact will deliver support to inspire entrepreneurship, drive growth and create sustainable ventures in sectors such as Agri-Tech, SocialTech and CleanTech. These initiatives will have been set up with a vision to help solve social and environmental problems faced today, from climate change to food poverty, right through to the issues faced by the older population.
The Serious Impact business support programme will operate from Allia’s Future Business Centres in Cambridge and Peterborough and has received £1.7m of investment from the European Regional Development Fund, Peterborough City Council and Allia itself. The business support programme is aimed specifically at impact entrepreneurs and ventures across the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP area.
Serious Impact provides a holistic pathway for aspiring and current venture owners. It is designed to support them on a journey through entrepreneurship and is structured as a five-channel process:
- Channel one begins with workshops to inspire, draw out and develop business ideas.
- Channel two helps people test and validate their idea over a 60-day programme.
- Channel three is structured acceleration over three months which helps entrepreneurs understand key business concepts, develop their business and financial plans and prepares them to progress with their new impact venture.
- Channel four structured “incubation” over nine months provides key resources for promising and growing ventures including free incubator workspace, mentoring and access to connections and networks.
- Channel five is a unique, new, high spec Innovation Lab in the Peterborough Future Business Centre offering rapid prototyping, creation and testing facilities for engineers, technology ventures and product designers exclusive for those enrolled on the programme.
There will also be a focus on removing barriers to entry, particularly within specific social groups and regions of the GCGP LEP area, such as Peterborough, King’s Lynn and Wisbech. In the past, these areas have experienced high numbers of low-pay, low-skills and low-unemployment, and the vision of Serious Impact could help to significantly improve these areas.