National Lottery money could help third sector organisations bid for council work.
Big Lottery Fund, which distributes money from ticket sales to good causes, has launched a £10m scheme to prepare social enterprises for investment.
The Big Potential initiative will allow community organisations to access specialist support before applying for grants of up to £75,000 to undertake more detailed investment readiness work.
A Big Lottery Fund spokeswoman said the scheme was aimed at allowing voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale.
“VCSE organisations can apply for a Big Potential grant of between £25,000 and £75,000 to raise an investment of up to £500,000 enabling them, for example, to take part in a local authority contract or to deliver important services in the area,” she said.
“It might also include engaging with local authorities and other statutory bodies as investors in a social investment proposition such as a social impact bond.”
The Social Investment Business will deliver the scheme in partnership with Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, Locality and the University of Northampton.
Big Lottery Fund England chair Nat Sloane said: “Providing support for charities and social enterprises to help them access finance is a key priority of our social investment strategy in England and very important in these difficult times.”
The scheme is expected to deliver £10m funding over three years.
It was developed to address a gap in investment readiness support identified by a report on the social investment market that was commissioned by the Big Lottery Fund.