Council unveils plans for community wealth fund aimed at local entrepreneurs who ‘face barriers in accessing finance’

Camden Council Leader Georgia Gould. Photograph: Camden Council

People in Camden who struggle to get funding could get a helping hand with a council fund aimed at cutting inequality and keeping the benefits in the community.

Town hall bosses are planning to set up a social investment fund called Camden Community Wealth Fund.

It is aimed at residents, businesses, and organisations in Camden to help “develop their ideas, grow their businesses, and maximise their impact.”

It is especially looking for groups working with young people and diversity and to help people “who face barriers in accessing finance via more traditional investment routes.”

It will give them repayable loans, equity finance, small grants, and business support.

The council plans to put £30m into the fund over the long term but will start “with a much smaller amount.”

In a report – which will be discussed by scrutiny committees and the Cabinet next week – council leader Georgia Gould said: “The Fund provides a direct way to tackle equalities and disproportionality, by providing a tool for tackling inequities in the finance sector and direct support to communities underserved by traditional approaches to finance and business

She said it could help meet the council’s aims that people holding positions of power in Camden are as diverse as the community by 2030 and that every young person has access “to economic opportunity that enables them to be safe and secure” by 2025.

The council said it will “take a long term, patient finance approach, so although funding will be repayable it will take a 10–15-year view on its investments.”

It also plans to offer mentoring, grants to business start-ups and firms wanting to expand and business support.

The scheme will cost £500,000 to start up, including £150,000 business support.

The council has drawn up a business plan for the fund and said it will take a year to 18 months to develop it, if it gets the green light at Cabinet.

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