One social enterprise to win a loan last year was Brighton-based ParentSkool which provides antenatal classes for firsttime parents.
Founder Sarah Watkins, pictured right, created the course after her own experience of antenatal classes was unsatisfactory.
The idea is to make the parent-to-parent classes assessable to all, particularly those on low incomes. Just nine months on the business has gone from a one-woman pipe-dream to award-winning enterprise with eight-staff and high approval ratings.Sarah hopes to have 100 teachers within three years. She said: “The program has been absolutely crucial to our ongoing success and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any other social enterprise.
“It was really instrumental in what I was trying to do. The financial support I got from the SE-Assist program enabled me to create the necessary foundations for by business. When I first set out it was just me and a pipe dream. I’ve hired eight staff and a handful of volunteers. SE-Assist helped me develop a new brand and website so I could do online bookings. I also used the help to get through the kite-marking system. Legal and General were amazing and did so much stuff I didn’t expect when I applied. They loaned me boardroom offices in London so I could do interviews, they helped me with training.”