Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Social Value Fund

Social value fund banner, featuring Enterprise for Life, Landmarc and ARU logos, and the words 'win a £250 grant' and 'apply by 10 May 2024'

Investing in a Brighter Future

Do you have an idea that can make a difference to communities and society whilst also helping to deliver economic impact? Are you graduating from ARU in 2024, or completing your studies in or before summer 2025?

If so, why not apply to the Social Value Fund, which offers grant funding to student-led enterprise ideas?

The mission of the Social Value Fund is to nurture entrepreneurial solutions which can either:

  • strengthen local economies,
  • enhance workforce skills and jobs,
  • lower carbon emissions,
  • restore natural environments,
  • safeguard biodiversity,
  • promote physical and mental health and wellbeing, or
  • enrich society and culture.

Powered by ARU and Enterprise For Life, with corporate partner Landmarc, plus further visionary corporate supporters, the Social Value Fund is looking to invest in innovative ideas for a better world.

The project aims to deliver social impact by enabling and empowering 2024/25 ARU graduates to become social entrepreneurs through funding, mentoring, skills training and networking opportunities.

We welcome applications from individuals or teams with a maximum of three members.

The Social Value Fund will offer initial grants of £250 to eight successful applicants to test and validate their idea. Following this, they can pitch for up to £3,000 in additional total funding at the end of the programme.

Additional benefits for successful applicants include:

  • Membership of a community of like-minded people who share your vision and values.
  • Mentorship and guidance from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts to accelerate the development of your idea.
  • Access to resources and tools that can help you develop your skills and grow your venture.
  • An opportunity to showcase your idea to our partners’ wider networks and communities.
  • Possible additional funding to help launch your venture.

We're holding an online information session on Tuesday 30 April, where you can find out more about the Fund and what makes a successful application.

How to apply

Fill in the Social Value Fund online application form

If you have an idea that addresses the key themes outlined above within the context of the UK, and you or your team members meet the eligibility criteria, submit your application by midday on Friday 10 May 2024.

You'll need to clearly explain the social value of your business idea by completing all the questions on the application form and creating a one-minute video pitch explaining how your idea addresses the key themes and meets the stated criteria.  In both submissions, you'll need to be concise but clear about who will benefit and how.

In addition, don’t forget to provide evidence and also outline how your venture is scalable.

Collaboration is at the heart of this initiative, so we’d also like to hear how you would look to work together with larger organisations. 

What happens next?

After the closing date, applications will be assessed and shortlisted. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 May 2024.

Following interviews, eight entries will be chosen to take part in a six-week programme from 30 September – 8 November 2024. This will involve a time commitment of one day per week, and culminate in an opportunity to pitch for further funding for their idea from ARU and Enterprise For Life.