Big Potential

Big Potential, a BIG Lottery Fund grant fund, will deliver approximately £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE organisations with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact.

The programme aims to raise awareness of the social investment market and support VCSEs who want to prepare themselves for social investment.

Eligible VCSE organisations will be able to access specialist one to one support from the Big Potential programme partners before making an application for grants between £20,000 and £75,000 to undertake more in-depth investment readiness work with Advantage Business Agency.

The programme is designed to complement a range of other initiatives including the Cabinet Office’s Investment and Contract Readiness Fund.

Social Investment

Wondering how social investment can help your organisation? We can help your organisation to get started with preparing to take on your first investment.

Social investment offers some exciting new opportunities and is most effective when used as part of your funding mix. We can help you assess if social investment is right for you and what you need to consider before taking the decision to take on investment.

Apply for Big Potential Support from Advantage Business Agency

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How to apply?

Big Potential is a new programme that will offer VCSE organisations the chance to consider the usefulness of social investment as part of its broader financing or fundraising strategy.

Step 1: Complete the eligibility checklist

To start the application process, VCSE organisations need to check their eligibility. Ineligible organisations can still complete the diagnostic tool as a useful self-assessment learning tool but will not be able to attend the in-depth 1:1 session or apply for a grant. We recommend organisations start by completing the checklist.

Step 2: Complete the diagnostic tool

The Big Potential diagnostic tool will help your organisation think about how you can develop and build your systems and people to attract investment. The tool will help you explore your organisation, its finances, people, customers, services/products and processes to better understand what more you will need to do to attract investment or become ‘investment ready’.

Step 3: Attend the 1:1 session

The support advisors, drawn from Locality, Social Enterprise UK and Charity Bank will help your organisation explore in more detail the key areas from the diagnostic tool to better understand what more you can do to attract investment. The two-hour intensive session will be conducted by phone, over Skype or Adobe Connect and you can bring up to 5 colleagues to participate in this valuable learning and reflection session. Face to face appointments might also be available where convenient.

Step 4: Choose Advantage Business Agency as your provider

Advantage Business Agency has specialist expertise in providing technical, financial, legal and business planning support to VCSEs. We have a track record of helping VCSEs successfully raise new investment.

Step 5: Apply for a grant with Advantage Business Agency

VCSE organisations that need help to develop an appropriate investment readiness project can choose to apply for a preliminary grant first. However, organisations that have an investment deal in sight can apply directly for a larger investment plan grant. We will help you complete your grant application.

Step 6: Start your investment readiness project

VCSE organisations that complete the Big Potential application process successfully will be offered a grant to help start their investment readiness project with Advantage Business Agency. If your application is successful you will receive grant offer documents from the SIB. Once these are completed and returned to them you will receive your first grant payment. Once you start your project, you will be asked to send them monitoring information periodically. If you go on to successfully raise new investment, they might ask you to participate in some case study work.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of our services please contact us at or call 0121 212 6580.

The right support and advice can turn ideas into opportunities and opportunities into reality. If you are only just entering the social investment market or need some help to explore a new idea, we can help point you in the right direction and most importantly help you make the best possible decision for your organisation. As ABA’s clients you will find it easier to navigate the market, shop around and choose the most appropriate financing for your project.

Bill Fryer – Director at Advantage Business Agency
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