We caught up with Matt Smith, Chief Executive of Key Fund, a strategic partner for Prosper North to find out more about how organisations can access social investment.


Can you tell us more about Key Fund?
Key Fund provides investment to support the development and growth of trading activity in community and social enterprises. The ultimate aim is to help these organisations to become more sustainable in both financial and impact terms, which will make them more independent and resilient in the long term. 

How is Key Fund involved with Prosper North? 
Key Fund support the Prosper North programme as a partner as we believe that cultural and creative community/social enterprises often need support to develop their plans before they can access social investment opportunities, like the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.  Without this kind of support many organisations will be unable to take advantage.  

What do you mean by the term ‘social investment’?
It’s money that is provided with the aim of helping to support an organisation to develop its trading activity whilst also delivering social impacts. It is often repayable at some level, although we believe that grants are an important part of social investment. 

 What difference do you want Prosper North to make to the cultural heritage sector in the north?
We want Prosper North to help open up opportunities for organisations to develop their ideas for trading activity. Ultimately it’s about giving organisations a strong and well developed plan for the future, whether or not they access the social investment funds.   

What kind of challenges can Key Fund support culture and heritage organisations with in general?
We have a wide variety of funds, including the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, that can help to support everything from cash-flow, to working capital to capital purchases/projects. We also have a wide network of partners (including other funders and support providers) who we can connect people with, even if they aren’t ready to apply to us yet.   

What advice would you give culture / heritage organisations who are starting to think about social investment?
The big tip would be to spend time doing some research. Good Finance is a fantastic resource, with lots of information and details about the wide variety of social investors out there. 

Is there other support you can offer outside of social investment?
Absolutely, we are always happy to have conversations with people and provide information or introductions. We are also an Access Point for the Reach Fund, so we can help people to access grants for investment readiness support.

You can contact Key Fund or sign up to their newsletter here

Find out more about Prosper North and check if it’s the right programme for your organisation.