Are you a VCSE looking to raise finance? We can help as an approved provider for Big Potential Breakthrough.

Big Potential

Big Lottery Fund’s new £10 million fund is aimed at eligible voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations (VSCEs) to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale and help them deliver greater social impact for communities across England. A grant from the fund will help VCSEs, at the very beginning of their social investment journey, to get specialist and tailored support to become investment ready.

The Big Potential programme is delivered through expert providers of investment readiness services. The Good Economy Partnership is approved as a Breakthrough Provider, and we can support VCSEs based in England who have the ambition to raise up to £500,000 of repayable investment. We would be happy to hear from any VCSEs who are considering an application to Big Potential. 

Why us

We have the relevant experience and the right connections to build a real partnership that works for you.

  • Relevant experience - Our team has extensive practical, sleeves-rolled-up experience of providing investment readiness services to social purpose businesses, including delivering investment and contract readiness services under the ICRF, IRF and Big Potential programmes. We have helped deliver business and investment support to dozens of charities and social enterprises over the past decade. We have experience in job creation, local economic development, affordable housing, financial inclusion and health and social care.
  • The right connections - Our clients also include a range of social investors and mainstream investment firms, trusts and foundations and government. Our team has developed almost unrivalled contacts across the social investment market over more than a decade. We bring this broad experience and these connections to offer unique value to social purpose organisations, to build relationships with investors and forge partnerships across the private, public and social sectors. We understand both the needs of investors and the challenges of social enterprises.
  • Real partnership - We are a small, flexible, collaborative and open-minded team. We are good listeners. Our combination of emotional and rational sensibilities enable us to be heard and trusted in both the boardroom and in communities. We build intimate, genuine partnerships. We go beyond simply seeking to conform to investor-driven requirements by giving social purpose organisations the best possible chance to secure finance that is fit for purpose and right for them. 
Our clients

Who do we work with?

We especially like to work with social purpose organisations which are

  • already established and looking to grow, although we can also consider working with start-ups or large businesses
  • seeking up to £500,000 in repayable investment
  • based in the South West of England or London, although we can consider working with businesses across the UK
  • delivering health and social care, housing, job and enterprise creation or supporting other fundamental drivers of people’s wellbeing
  • are looking for support with business and financial planning, or understanding the market in which they operate or the social impact they are seeking to create
The team
Sarah Forster

Sarah Forster

CEO and Founder of The Good Economy, Sarah has over 20 years experience in the fields of international development, social impact investing and entrepreneurship. Sarah leads the Big Potential team.

Dan Gregory

Dan Gregory

Dan is a respected and well-connected adviser and policy expert in the social enterprise and investment sector. He has extensive experience in funding and financing mutual and social enterprises, through developing policy at the highest level and delivering in practice at the grassroots.

Hilary Mitchell

Hilary Mitchell

Hilary has over 20 years commercial experience, primarily gained in the private sector, where she has worked for large corporates, SMEs and start-ups. She brings expertise in strategy development, business planning and financial modeling, and is skilled in ensuring that these elements are consistent and connected.

Michael Fuller

Michael Fuller

Michael has extensive experience in the charity sector. Following senior roles at Action Aid and Save the Children, he founded and co-founded new charitable organisations, including The Foundation. Now offering his services as a consultant, Michael is the charity expert within the team.

Kirsten van den Hout

Kirsten van den Hout

Kirsten is a keen advocate of social enterprise and cheerleader of social entrepreneurs. She has a broad range of training, business, project and operations skills, and is particularly skilled in working with social entrepreneurs at the design phase, as they formulate their business and social impact models.

Phil Sharratt

Phil Sharratt

Phil has a focus on creating collaborative ecosystems that span the public, VCSE and private sectors, drawing on over 25 years of strategic consultancy experience. This has included managing the delivery of public sector and EU funded programmes spanning economic and community development to deliver inclusive business growth.

Glenn Arradon

Glenn Arradon

Glenn is an Investment Manager at one of the UK’s leading social finance institutions, so he brings extensive experience in assessing the finance needs of social enterprises and structuring appropriate solutions. He has a background in international development and has worked with both international and local NGOs.

Anton Simanowitz

Anton Simanowitz

Anton Simanowitz has been influential in the field of social enterprise since the late 1990s as a practitioner and thought leader. He works globally with practitioners, investors, technical assistance providers and policy makers to improve the effectiveness of social enterprises in delivering positive social outcomes.